In this post we are going to look at how to get pregnant over the age of 40, and what you need to know about the risks and benefits of a later .
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As well as what you can do to increase your chances of a successful when you are in your forties.
Many women are choosing to delay having their families until later in life. Sometimes is it not a choice, merely a result of what life has thrown at them.
Some women have had children when she was younger, but now wants another with her new love of her life.
What happens to your as you age?
As you get older, your body slowly starts to wind down it’s .
This usually starts to happen around age 40, with the final action of menopause occurring between 45 and 60 years of age depending on the woman.
The in the Childbearing Years of a Healthy Woman
Approximately from the ages of 11-40 years, you will usually experience regular hormone fluctuations and a every 27-36 days.
For some women it doesn’t start until a bit later in life, and for some it is never regular, especially if you happen to have Polycystic Ovaries.
The in the Later Years of a Healthy Woman
Once a women is about 40-50 years her cycle starts to wind down, eventually coming to a complete halt.
Most women begin the natural phase known as climacteric around the age of 40, this is the slow wind down of the cycles. And an increase of creep in.
At this time, the length begins to shorten from about 28 days to around 24-26 days, this is because the ovaries begin to lose their ability to produce mature follicles, and , so they don’t always ovulate, or do so early.
begins to decline from the age of 30, but this drops off even more so over the age of 40. This will naturally cause for women of this age trying to conceive.
Over the next 5-15 years the cycles may become shorter, longer, or the cycle may be skipped or a mixture of all 3.
becomes more sporadic, it may or may not occur during any given cycle as a woman approaches menopause.
Menopause is confirmed once a woman has not had her for at least one full year, and is between the ages of 40-60.
Risks of a over 40
In 1970 1 out of 100 pregnant moms were over the age of 35, today’s it is 1 in 7.
There is some risk involved in being an older mama, but the actual statistics are not as bad as some people make them out to be. Often it is just a 1-2% increase of risk, and the risks are very small to start with.
However, the increase in risk of pregnancies over the age of 40 are real, albeit quite small.
Here are some of the risks that increase with increasing maternal age:
1. Gestational diabetes
4. Preterm delivery
5. Problems with the placenta (placenta previa, placental insufficiency, placental abruption)
7. Cesarean delivery
If your partner is over the age of 40 (even if you are not) it can increase the risk of chromosomal disorders as well.
However, most women having babies in their late 30’s and early 40’s, have perfectly normal pregnancies and babies.
The benefits to having a baby after 40
Not everything about having a child in your 40s is bad and risky! There are many benefits to having children later in life.
Some possible benefits to being an older mom include:
- Having financial stability
- Already having your career established
- More patience with others
- Time to explore the world when you’re young, then focus on kids later
Preparing for conception over the age of 40
Having healthy over the age 40 is probably going to take a bit more effort on your part.
It is so much more vital you eat well, exercise regularly, reduce poor lifestyle choices, and consider seeing a specialist.
A full hormone test panel run will help you to know where your are at and what hormones may need to be supported specifically.
is naturally produced in your , and if you are pregnant, these levels should stay high until the placenta hormones can take over at around 12 weeks of .
If your is too low, you will not be able to hold a without hormone support. Many focus on balancing the and hormones.
If you are undergoing , they will often continue you on until about 12 to 14 weeks of gestation.
If your partner is over 40, you should also get his sperm checked.
You should be focusing on:
- Eating well to support your body
- Improving egg health
- Improving uterine health and tone
- Supporting your
- Supporting cervical mucus production
- Managing stress levels
- Timing and sexual intercourse
- Checking your mans health
- Detoxing and avoiding more toxins
Medical options for trying to conceive over the age of 40
If you have been trying for a child naturally for 6 months or longer with no success, it is time to get in to see a doctor.
Most women over the age of 40 will find they have what is called a diminished ovarian reserve where both the numbers of and start to decline.
While this is completely natural and normal, it can affect your ability to get pregnant from month to month.
Depending what your ovarian reserve is determined as, doctors may suggest Clomid to stimulate , intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), or an egg donor from a younger woman, or suggest hormonal medications.
These procedures all have better success if you are in the best health and are doing everything you can to support your reproductive health prior to engaging in medical assistance ( 1 ).
If, leading up to a procedure, you have been using herbs or supplements to support your , you should discuss these with your doctor, as they can interfere with the hormones they give you.
Natural options for Women Trying to Conceive Over 40
Even if you are getting medical help, adding in these natural components give you the best likelihood of success with each cycle.
1. Eat a High Diet
This is the single most important thing you can do for improving your chances of conception over the age of 40 (or under it for that matter!)
The dramatic improvement in egg health through diet changes alone is significant. Especially when you switch to a nutrient dense diet that is:
- Low in carbohydrates
- Low in industrial oils (from seeds and grains)
- High in natural fats and saturated fats (butter, tallow, lard, dripping, olive oil, dairy fats)
- High in organic vegetables
- LOW in sugar and grains (none would be best!)
- Enough animal protein to keep your body fighting fit
- Includes daily superfoods like spirulina , maca , and royal jelly .
- Avoids toxic raising foods
2. Boosting Exercise
Exercise has many benefits to boosting . It can:
- Help your body sweat out xenestrogens ( 2 )
- Improves insulin sensitivity ( 3 )
- Balances hormones ( 4 )
- Increases blood flow to reproductive organs
- Improves a feeling of well being
3. Improving your and Health
Egg health and count begins to decline steeply at around the age of 37-40.
It is crucial that you work to preserve and increase your egg health as soon as you consider having a baby.
Ideally you will be working on this for at least 3 months before starting to try to conceive. This is because it takes about 3 months for an egg to get ready to be released.
To improve your egg health, you should be:;
- Eating a diet
- Exercising regularly
- Eating superfoods daily like maca , royal jelly, spirulina and green veggies
- Work on stress reduction
- Supplementing with a whole food multivitamin , CoQ10 , & L-Arginine
4. Improving your Uterine Health
Thanks to hormonal changes that start around the age of 40, a woman’s uterus slowly begins to lose muscle tone.
To get through a healthy and efficient labor you need to have a strong uterus.
There are some things that you can be doing to improve your uterine tone before .
- Daily yoga, walking, and kegels all increase blood flow and strengthen core muscles
- Castor Oil packs
- Herbal supplements
Best herbs for uterine tone
1. Dong Quai
Dong Quai tones and strengthens the uterus by regulating hormonal control, improving uterine tone, and improving the timing of the . It increases the blood flow to the reproductive system, reducing congestion and pain.
2. Red Raspberry Leaf
Red raspberry leaf is high in vitamins and minerals as well as an easily-absorbed form of calcium. It is also a wonderful uterine tonic. It has been shown to be a great help in the efficiency of the uterus during labor. This is considered to be one of the safest for and preparation.
Damiana helps to encourage circulation and blood supply to the uterus. It also increases libido in both men and women.
Crampbark promotes a calm, relaxed, and healthy uterus. One of the best herbs to promote proper function and efficiency of the uterus.
5. Improving your Cervical Mucus
Cervical mucus production relies on balanced hormone production, as they decline naturally so does your cervical mucus.
Women that have low or no cervical fluid, at any age, find that it is harder for the sperm to reach the awaiting egg for conception.
To naturally improve your cervical mucus production:
- Drink plenty water daily
- Take a complete omega3 essential fatty acid
- Take Evening Primrose capsules daily
- Consider herbs that support cervical mucus production
- When having sexual intercourse when trying to conceive, use a sperm-boosting lubricant .
6. Managing your Stress levels
Life is pretty stressful. Especially when you are also trying to have a baby!
Stress increases the levels of cortisol, in the body which inhibits the body’s main sex hormone GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) and this will result in suppressed , low sexual activity, hormone balances and even low sperm count.
We offer a free 30 day Creating Calm challenge to help you manage stress in your life. You can grab it here.
7. Track and Chart Your Cycle
If you do not already chart your cycle, you really should begin now.
Women over 40 only have about a 5% chance of conceiving each cycle, if you don’t know when your peak days are, you can knock that back to 0%.
You have a 6-day window to get pregnant, with only 2 peak days. Once you know roughly when you ovulate, you can begin trying to conceive 3 days prior to , the day of and 2 days after that.
8. Support your
Your whole relies on good .
You need to support your body’s natural production of your hormones to keep them balanced and functioning well.
The main 3 that we are looking to support are:
- Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
It is quite possible that as you age, your changing may interfere with conception or maintaining .
uses herbs to successfully balance a woman’s hormones. Commonly used herbs include:
These can also help reduce including and irritability.
Also, if your second half of your cycle (from to your period starting) is less than 12 days, you should look in to adding natural cream to your routine from day to the day your period starts.
If you get pregnant, then you should continue to use the cream until you are 13 weeks pregnant.
Vitamins and minerals to help boost
Vitamins B6, B9 (folate), B12, C, D3 and E are all very important to hormone function and are recommended to those that are trying to conceive.
Known to help improve your corpus luteum function, B6 is taken if you have defect or a short second half of your cycle.
You should start off low at about 50 mg/day of B6 all cycle long and increase it by 50 mg each month until you reach a max of 200 mg. High doses of synthesized vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage, but you’re safe at 200 mg or less.
Vitamin B9 (Folate)
Folate supplementation is recommended for anyone trying to conceive. It is commonly taken in its synthetic form – . Folate is required for your baby to form its spine and brain well, and since recommending supplements to all pregnant women, the rates of spina bifida has dropped significantly.
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that we cannot make ourselves. It is essential to nerve and brain function and development, and it is only available in a useable form from animal foods.
is used throughout your body as an anti-oxidant, and is used in many metabolic pathways and it supports your immune function
This vitamin your body can synthesize from cholesterol and sunlight, but most of us are deficient in it. It is used as a steroid hormone in your body and a deficiency in Vitamin D3 (its active form) has been shown to cause a wide range of metabolic, hormone and physical disorders – from obesity, cancer and osteoperosis.
helps your cells to remain elastic and functioning, it helps boost both egg and sperm health.
9. Check your man’s health
Men should also be following a high diet, exercising regularly and taking coQ10, omega 3s and Zinc to ensure optimal sperm health. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding hot baths/spas and keeping those swimmers cool will also help.
Men should have their sperm count checked, and if he has any food allergies, removing them from his diet can also help. They can also benefit from the boosting challenge!
10. Detoxing and Avoiding Toxins
Sex cells are very sensitive to oxidation, contamination and destruction. Toxic substances in and on our food, skin care products and in our environment can all negatively affect your reproductive health.
For the 3 months leading up to trying to conceive, and right through until the baby is born, try and totally avoid the following:
- Chemical additions to foods
- Soda (especially fake sweeteners)
- Energy drinks
- Recreational drugs
- Many prescription drugs (check with your doctor)
- Strong fumes from paint, aerosol cans
- Fake scents in perfume and skin care
- Heavy metals in lead paint and deep sea fish
Allow your body to detox from these substances buy avoiding consuming them, and drink plenty of fresh water and eat lots of leafy greens to support your body to flush these things out of your system.
Avoid any weight loss “detox” programs. These are ironically usually filled with rubbish you need to be avoiding. Eating a clean, organic diet and avoiding adding to your current toxic load is all your body needs to allow it’s natural detoxing system to start working well again.
is also known as or Tree. Its is for balancing a womans hormones.
Here is a quote from one of the systemic reviews of the science literature:
“Thirteen randomised, controlled trials were identified and twelve are included in this review, of which eight investigated luteal and 17β-oestradiol levels, while the other found comparable to bromocriptine for reducing serum and ameliorating cyclic mastalgia. Adverse events with were mild and generally infrequent.”, two , and two latent hyperprolactinaemia. For , seven of eight trials found extracts to be superior to placebo (5 of 6 studies), pyridoxine (1), and magnesium oxide (1). In , one study reported to be equivalent to fluoxetine, while in the other, fluoxetine outperformed . In latent hyperprolactinaemia, one trial reported it to be superior to placebo for reducing TRH-stimulated , normalising a shortened , increasing mid-
(or ) can be prescribed by a naturopath, or you can buy capsules over the counter in many health food shops. The usual dose if 400-1200mg per day, usually divided into 2 doses, though some take it all at once.
It might be under the name , or its other name – . Just check the ingredients, you want one that only has this single ingredient in it. or
If your cycles traditionally involve may well help you achieve better . It is generally well tolerated, and the studies report low to no intolerances. As always, check with your doctor before starting new . or other , a
It can take a few months to take full effect, but some women report that it improves much faster than that. or capsules are cheap and readily available, and generally considered safe to take, so it is worth a try to see if they help you improve your and .
Keto for Over 40
The ketogenic diet is a very safe way to swap your body from burning sugar to burning fat for fuel.
It is an effective weight loss tool, but it is also really effective at helping women balance their hormones.
When done right, with whole, natural foods, keto can boost your , as well as give you all the nutrition you need to grow a happy healthy baby. As a keto coach, I knew of several women who were told they had gone through menopause only to start cycling again, some even got pregnant with this high way of eating.
For more information about the keto diet and fertility read here.