Are you wanting to grow your family, but worried about getting pregnant due to your age? In this article, OBGYN Dr. Gleaton tells you what you need to know about pregnancy, fertility, and age.
By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Kenosha Gleaton
With increased knowledge and advancements in medicine and fertility, more and more women are choosing to have children later in life. The National Center for Health Statistics stated the average age of first birth in the US rose from 24.9 years in 2000 to 26.3 years in 2014. This also varies by county; for example, from 2007-2017, the mean age of mothers at first birth rose by 1.3 years in rural areas, 1.5 in small to medium-metro areas, and 1.8 in larger metropolitan areas.
How long will it take me to get pregnant?
In general, it becomes harder (but not impossible!) to get pregnant as we age. This is because women are born with all the eggs we will ever have, but the quantity and quality of our eggs decrease over time as we near menopause. Decreased egg quality leads to an increased chance of genetic defects, miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancies.
Although the exact chances are different for every woman, a healthy woman in her 20s to early 30s has about a 25-30% chance of getting pregnant each month, which goes down to 10% each month by the time she reaches 40. A preconception visit can give you more information about your individual chances of conceiving.
Although the exact chances are different for every woman, a healthy woman in her 20s to early 30s has about a 25-30% chance of getting pregnant each month, which goes down to 10% by the time she reaches 40.
None of this is meant to scare you! I see plenty of pregnant women in their late 30s and early 40s; in fact this is the fastest growing group of new moms in the US! It just may take longer or take some medical intervention.
How to boost fertility in late 30s and early 40s
When trying to conceive at any age, it’s important you maintain a healthy, fertility-friendly lifestyle! This means taking the right supplements to support your health and fertility such as:
- Prenatal vitamins: A high quality vitamin with optimal nutrient dosages to support overall health for you and your baby.
- Male prenatal vitamins: Sperm is half the equation! With the Prenatal for him, you and your partner will both be on track for your fertility journey.
- CoQ10: Coenzyme Q10 is a natural antioxidant recommended by fertility doctors to enhance egg quality, which can be a common issue for women over 35
- Iron: Over 40% of pregnant women are anemic, which can increase the risk for many pregnancy complications. Taking an iron supplement helps to support healthy iron levels, support ovulation, fight fatigue, and more.
- Vitamin D: Studies show that healthy vitamin D levels are important for both female and male fertility and are associated with higher IVF success.
Read more about boosting your fertility and getting pregnant faster.
Tools to use when trying to get pregnant
Trying to get pregnant at any age requires the right products. Everything in our Get Pregnant Bundle can help you conceive, including:
- Ovulation and pregnancy tests: The best way to maximize your chances of getting pregnant is to first know your fertile window. Ovulation tests help you determine when exactly you’re ovulating, so you know when it’s time to have sex, and our midstream pregnancy tests are over 99% accurate, so you know you’re getting a clear and reliable result.
- Fertility lube: A fertility-friendly lubricant is key for ensuring a safe environment for the little guys.
- Prenatal vitamins: Prenatal supplements are vital for maintaining optimal vitamin and mineral levels while growing a little human.
- Parent prep: This book combo combines practical tools and tips for getting pregnant with guided conversation starters, partner to-dos, and activities.
Natural methods can also be helpful when trying to conceive, such as cervical mucus tracking. This is a natural way of checking to see when you’re most fertile. Learn more here.
How long to try before seeking help
When trying to conceive (TTC) after age 35, we recommend you try for about six months before seeking help from a fertility specialist. If you have irregular menstrual cycles, have experienced two or more miscarriages, have PCOS or endometriosis, or have had reproductive surgery, you may want to meet with your doctor sooner. If your partner has had a history of any reproductive tract surgery, infections, or complications, you should also consult a doctor sooner.
For more information, read our article about how to know when it’s time to see a fertility specialist.
Things to consider when getting pregnant after age 35
While you will likely have a healthy pregnancy after age 35, the chance of complications is increased. Aging also brings on other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and more, which can affect your fertility and pregnancy outcomes.These complications can include:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Birth defects
- Chromosomal abnormalities
I’m not saying this to dissuade or scare you from growing your family, but to bring attention to possible risks. You should expect to find a doctor that will see you for extra visits, testing, and monitoring to keep a close eye on your pregnancy.
Read more in What is a High Risk Pregnancy?
Why we hate the term geriatric pregnancy
“Geriatric” immediately makes many of us think “old,” when that isn’t the case at all. In the past, any pregnancy over age 35 was deemed geriatric by the medical community, but we know that getting pregnant in your mid to late 30s doesn’t have to be a cause for concern. We now use the term “advanced maternal age” to classify women who are TTC past their mid 30s, and it’s simply a way to classify that, statistically speaking, there could be a higher risk associated with your pregnancy.
Rest assured that you can have a normal, healthy pregnancy in your 30s or 40s, especially if you’re seeing an OBGYN regularly and taking your prenatal vitamins.
- It’s more common today to see women waiting to have children later in life than it has been in the past.
- The chances of getting pregnant do decrease the older you get, but it’s still possible to have a healthy pregnancy in advanced maternal age.
- Taking supplements like CoQ10, prenatal vitamins, and iron, can help support fertility and give you a better chance of conceiving.
- If you’re over 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for more than six months, you should consult a fertility specialist or OBGYN.