If you want to have a baby after the age of 35, you are not alone. Today, more women are focusing on their careers and finances before they start families of their own.
Although age affects female infertility, it is not impossible for women over 35 to conceive. Nonetheless, it is still important to understand the risks of getting pregnant after 35, how you can increase your chances of conception, and when to seek help.
How Aging Affects the Reproductive System
Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Throughout your lifetime, the set number of eggs will decrease in quality and quantity over time. At birth, a girl is born with 1 to 2 million eggs. By puberty, between 250,000 to 500,000 eggs will remain. By the age of 37, you will only have about 25,000 eggs left.
The Challenges of Getting Pregnant After 35
The most common cause of infertility for women over the age of 35 is ovulation. When a woman ages, her menstrual cycles are regular (26 to 35) days until she reaches her late 30s to early 40s. As time passes, she begins to skip ovulation, which results in missed periods.
Other challenges of getting pregnant after 35 include:
- It may take longer to get pregnant – Women are born with a limited number of eggs. As you reach your mid-to-late 30s, your eggs decrease in quality and quantity. If you are older than 35 and unable to conceive for six months, you should consult a fertility doctor.
- You’re more likely to have a pregnancy of multiples – Due to hormonal changes that could release multiple eggs at the same time, the chance of conceiving twins increases with age. The use of assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization, can also lead to a pregnancy of multiples.
- You’re more likely to develop gestational diabetes – Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy and is common as women age. It can cause a baby to grow significantly larger than average, which increases the risk of injuries during delivery. Gestational diabetes can also increase the risk of premature birth and high blood pressure.
- You’re more likely to develop high blood pressure – According to research, high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy is more common in older women. Your fertility doctor will carefully monitor your blood pressure, as well as the growth and development of your baby.
- You’re more likely to have a premature birth – Premature births are common in older women. Premature babies may be low in weight and have complicated medical problems.
- The risk of pregnancy loss is higher – Due to pre-existing medical conditions or fetal chromosomal abnormalities, the risk of pregnancy loss (miscarriage or stillbirth) increases as women age. Women aged 35-45 have a 20-30% chance of miscarriage.
- The risk of chromosome abnormalities is higher – Women over the age of 35 are more likely to have babies with a higher risk of chromosome problems, such as Down syndrome.
How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant After 35
If you want to have a baby after the age of 35, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself. While you cannot control your age or the quality of your eggs, you can control lifestyle factors that contribute to your fertility health:
- Avoid drugs and alcohol – Heavy alcohol and drug use are associated with decreased infertility. If you want to have a baby, you should avoid drugs and alcohol at all costs. You should also clear any medications or supplements with your doctor ahead of time.
- Eat a healthy diet – To conceive or carry a baby, you will need essential nutrients such as folic acid, calcium, iron, and vitamin D. You should also consider a daily prenatal vitamin a few months before conception.
- Exercise regularly – Regular physical activity can boost energy levels and improve your overall health. It can also help you prepare for labor and childbirth by increasing your stamina and muscle strength. Before you start a new exercise program, consult your doctor.
- Maintain a healthy weight – A low BMI stops ovulation as the body tries to conserve energy, while a high BMI disrupts hormone levels. Before you have a baby, you should focus on maintaining a healthy BMI.
- Schedule a preconception appointment – If you are ready to have a baby or want to discuss your options for getting pregnant after 35, you should seek help from a fertility doctor immediately. Your doctor will address any concerns about fertility or pregnancy and suggest fertility treatment options if necessary.
- Seek regular prenatal care – Once you become pregnant, you should schedule regular prenatal visits. Your fertility doctor will be able to monitor the health of you and your baby, as well as signs or symptoms that may concern you.
When You Should Seek Help
If you are under the age of 35, you should try to conceive for a year before seeking treatment. If you are between 35 and 40, you should seek help from a doctor after six months of trying. If you are older than 40, you should schedule a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist immediately.
What Vios Can Do for You
At Vios Fertility Institute in Hoffman Estates or at one of our other locations, we know that every fertility journey is personal. We are passionate about changing the stigma surrounding infertility and helping couples achieve their dreams of getting pregnant after 35.
We offer a comprehensive menu of services, ranging from ovarian reserve testing to in vitro fertilization (IVF). We also offer specific fertility treatment options that may benefit women over the age of 35.
Genetic abnormalities increase as the age of woman rises, which leads to a higher risk of miscarriage, pregnancy-related complications, and chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome.
- Preconception Genetic Carrier Screening – A carrier screening analyzes the potential for genetic disease, especially patients at a higher risk for certain genetic diseases.
- Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) – PGD is commonly used when one partner has been diagnosed with or both partners are carriers of a known genetic condition. The most commonly tested genetic conditions are Cystic Fibrosis, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Tay Sachs, Sickle Cell, and Thalassemia.
- Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) – PGS may be utilized if a couple experiences multiple miscarriages or if the female partner is of advanced maternal age. The test determines if there are extra or missing chromosomes.
If you approach the 35-year milestone and want to wait to have a baby, you should consider fertility preservation, which involves elective egg freezing. By freezing your eggs, you can use “younger” eggs when you are ready to conceive, which leads to easier conception and potentially healthier pregnancy outcomes.
To learn more about elective egg freezing, visit our Protecting Against Infertility page.
Vios in Hoffman Estates Cares About Making Your Dreams of Parenthood Come True
At Vios Fertility Institute in Hoffman Estates or one of our other locations, conception is our life. We are on a mission to help our patients find their way to fertility health and treatment with the highest chance of success by providing them with innovative, scientific, cutting-edge treatment options with unparalleled customer experience.
While we have other locations in Northern Illinois, Vios Hoffman Estates is most convenient to Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Elgin, Elk Grove Village, Des Plaines, Northbrook, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and Mount Prospect.