The truth is there really isn’t one perfect time to get pregnant. Thanks to technological advancements, more women are choosing to have children later in life. This could be for a number of reasons, from pursuing an education to building a career or for emotional and financial stability. Regardless of whether it’s your first or third pregnancy, it can be difficult to navigate being pregnant at this age, especially with the several conflicting messages women receive on a daily basis.
Every pregnancy comes with its own risk and difficulty, but if you’re in this age bracket (40 and above), it is important to bear in mind that things might be a little more difficult. Now let’s delve right into the article and save you the stress of skimming through tons of pregnancy at 40 blogs for the pieces of information we are about to share.
Fertility and age
Fertility has always been the biggest factor to consider when it comes to pregnancy, regardless of age. Being 40 or older means your eggs have been around for longer, and fertility does decline with age. Typically, as a woman in your 40s trying to conceive, it is advised to consult with a fertility specialist, especially if you’ve been trying to get pregnant naturally for more than 6 months with no success. Your doctor can talk to you about exploring various options and determining which one suits you. Some of the options include; fertility drugs to help with ovulation, IVF treatments, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).
What does pregnancy in your 40’s feel like?
Every pregnancy is different, and the experience differs from woman to woman. Women 40 and above are considered to be at “advanced maternal age” and pregnancy can be more difficult at this age considering the fact that pregnancy significantly changes a woman’s body. For a generally healthy and active person, this may not be the case, and it is possible to only experience fairly normal pregnancy symptoms. It is advised to get moving as exercise can help you have an easy pregnancy. The first trimester can be very stressful with a variety of symptoms, not to mention the risk of miscarriage; it is, therefore, important to maintain a healthy diet and go for regular checkups with your doctor. Read about some of the first trimester dos and don’ts here.
What are the risks?
Pregnancy in your 40s can be more complicated. Even as a healthy woman, being pregnant at this age carries a number of risks like; gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and stillbirth. You are also more susceptible to pre-mature labor, preeclampsia which increases the likelihood of cesarean delivery. Vaginal delivery may also take longer, and this could lead to stillbirth. Older women are also more likely to have babies with a higher risk for birth abnormalities like Down syndrome. It is advised that pregnant women in their 40s should go for genetic screening as maternal age is one of the prominent factors for Down syndrome. Women in their 40s also have an increased chance of multiple births (twins or triplets). This can be as a result of fertility treatments while trying to conceive.
Helpful tips for a safe pregnancy and delivery
Make your ante-natal care a top priority by booking regular appointments with your doctor or midwife. Your physician can carry out physical exams and ultrasound to check on the development of the baby and prepare you for birth. You can also talk to them about your diet, family history, and genetic conditions, and what kinds of tests you need to carry out.
Maintain a healthy diet, and be sure to take your prenatal vitamins religiously. Being active is also very important, as carrying a baby later in life can be more taxing physically. You can sign up for prenatal exercise classes or pregnancy yoga to improve your fitness.
Even with its challenges, it is totally possible to carry a pregnancy in your 40s without complications. However, it is important to meet with your doctor to discuss what your risks are and what measures you need to take to have a positive outcome. With proper monitoring and prenatal care, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a healthy/safe pregnancy and delivery in your 40s.