Many women today find themselves trying to conceive after the age of 35. This opportunity can be full of joys and riddled with new questions. Despite the challenges, many women in their thirties and forties successfully conceive.
What are some of the challenges when trying to conceiving after age 35?
The most common cause of age-related decline in fertility is less frequent ovulation. As women age, they begin to have occasional cycles where an egg is never released. Egg quality and quantity also declines in a woman’s 30s and 40s. While the total number of eggs can’t be increases, research has shown that egg quality can be improved. Supplements containing myo-inositol, folic acid and melatonin have been shown to help improve egg quality and ovarian function.
Other reasons conceiving after 35 may be more difficult include:
- Infection or surgery that caused scar tissue around the fallopian tubes or cervix
- Fibroids or uterine disorders
- Decrease in cervical fluid
- Chronic health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes
Miscarriage is also more common in women over 35. This is often caused by increased incidence of chromosomal abnormalities. Women aged 35-45 have a 20-35 % chance of miscarriage.
How can I increase my chances when trying to conceive after 35?
Trying to conceive after 35 may seem overwhelming, but there are many things you can do to make getting pregnant easier.
Here are some things to remember:
- Schedule a pre-conception appointment. – You and your health care provider can review your medical history, current medications and overall lifestyle. This gives you the opportunity to address any concerns about trying to conceive after age 35.
- Women over age 35 take longer to conceive – The average time it takes a couple over 35 to conceive is 1-2 years, so try to remain positive if you do not become pregnant immediately.
- A woman who is physically, mentally and emotionally healthy is more likely to conceive - Alcohol, smoking and caffeine can negatively affect fertility. Being overweight or underweight can also affect fertility by interfering with hormone function.
- Observing your fertility signs can tell you a lot about your body – Recording your basal body temperature and cervical fluid can help you pinpoint the best time to have intercourse while trying to conceive. These fertility signs can also reveal if you are ovulating regularly. Becoming familiar with your fertility will also help you discern between pending signs and symptoms of pregnancy. – Shop Ovulation Prediction Tools
- Consider taking an at home fertility screening test – There are over-the-counter tests that help screen for key elements either female or male fertility. This often gives couples a peace of mind as they move through the journey to conceive.
- Visit your health care provider if you haven’t conceived after 6 months of purposeful intercourse. If you have not conceived after 6 months, contact your health care provider to discuss the possibility of fertility testing. You may decide to consult a fertility specialist at this time.
- Consider a supplement containing myo-inositol to help improve egg quality.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
March of Dimes, http://www.marchofdimes.com/
Your Pregnancy After 35 Revised Ed. Curtis, Glade B., M.D., OB/GYN, et al, Ch. 1 & 2.