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Is it Risky to Get Pregnant After 40?

Getting pregnant after 40 can come with a few challenges, but by no means is it impossible. Many men and women over 40 will begin to experience a decline in fertility. While it can be difficult to deal with, this issue is successfully navigated by many couples in their 40s.

There is no denying the challenges and documented risks of pregnancy after 40. However, there are many benefits associated with having children at an older age. There are also multiple solutions from both TCM and modern medicine designed to help those looking to get pregnant after 40.

What are the chances of a 40-year-old pregnant woman?

By most modern estimates, a 40-year-old woman has around a 5% chance of conceiving naturally each month. With that being said, all women should expect their fertility to decrease as they move further into their 40s. For comparison, a 35 and 40-year-old woman each have a 14% and 4% chance (respectively) of conceiving each month.

It’s important to note that the above statistics were grasped from large population surveys. By no means are these statistics representative of every woman in her 40s. Many women are capable of having multiple successful births past 40. Others will face challenges to get pregnant even once.

While couples in their 40s will likely have a harder time conceiving, women can still increase their chances of getting pregnant with fertility treatment.

What age is it too late to have a baby?

There are no specific limitations when it comes to the age of conceiving, however, the majority of women will experience a more rapid decline in fertility between the ages of 30 and 40. By age 45, fertility has declined to a point where getting pregnant naturally is unlikely for most women.

There are a multitude of factors that play into a woman’s ability to conceive at later ages. The most notable factor is egg count. A woman’s ovarian reserve significantly declines as she ages. At age 25, most women will have around 100,000 eggs in reserve, at 35 around 20,000, and at 45 only around 1,000.

The next important factor is egg quality. As women age, they can expect to have a higher quantity of eggs with ‘genetic abnormalities.’ While all women – even healthy individuals in their 20s – will have a proportion of abnormal eggs, the ratio increases exponentially with age. At 35 years old, approximately 35% of eggs will be genetically abnormal. However, by age 45, approximately 85% of eggs will be genetically abnormal. Many of the pregnancy risks over 40 are associated with such genetic abnormalities.

The final factor worth considering is uterine quality. While egg quantity and quality certainly decrease with age, the strength of the body’s uterus usually does not. Having a healthy uterine lining is essential in providing proper nourishment and support to the baby after implantation. This is one of the main reasons women after 40 will often look to IVF in order to achieve a successful implantation.

What are the benefits of pregnancy after 40?

There are several benefits associated with pregnancy after 40:

  • Both partners will have had the time to establish their careers and lives before having kids. This can provide a more conducive environment to raise children in.
  • Couples looking to have kids will be better prepared for the financial burdens that come with raising children.
  • Choosing to wait until after 40 to have kids provides an opportunity to conceive and raise children with a partner that you may have met later in life.
  • An increased maturity and ability to handle the responsibility of having a child.

How can you prepare for a new baby after 40?

Both contemporary and Traditional Chinese Medicine offer ways to help prepare for pregnancy after 40:

  • Natural Supplement: Many herbs, including (chaste tree berry), maca, and cinnamon, have been known to help balance the menstrual cycle and make conception easier.
  • Acupuncture: Experts in Chinese medicine have found that acupuncture can help increase fertility by nourishing the kidneys and boosting jing in the body. Acupuncture can help increase blood flow to reproductive organs and help improve chances of conception.

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  • IVF: As the uterine lining is still strong and nourishing after 40, the vast majority of women will find increased chances of conceiving with IVF.
  • Egg Freezing: For women planning to get pregnant a little later in life, freezing eggs before the age of 35 is a way to ensure better egg quality and decrease the chances of abnormalities.

Is it selfish to have a baby at 40?

While there are certain risks of pregnancy at 40, it is by no means a selfish act to have a baby at 40. Having a baby is a completely personal choice. The age at which an individual chooses to have a baby is completely up to them. 

As previously mentioned, there are certain advantages worth appreciating in getting pregnant after 40, including better financial stability and preparation for parenthood. Getting pregnant after 40 can certainly come with complications, but by no means is it selfish. With the right precautions and processes, it is more than possible for women to have a successful pregnancy in their 40s.

Is it risky to get pregnant at 40?

Here is a list detailing the risk factors for pregnancy over 40:

  • Higher birth weight: As women age, the risk for macrosomia (higher birth weight of baby) increases.
  • Placenta previa: A condition that causes the baby’s placenta to either partially or completely cover the cervix. This can cause more bleeding during pregnancy and delivery.
  • Gestational diabetes: Many women will experience an increase in blood sugar levels during pregnancy after 40. Gestational diabetes can have negative effects on both the baby and mother during pregnancy.
  • Gestational hypertension: Some women will also experience high blood pressure during pregnancy. Like gestational diabetes, this can have complications for both the mother and baby.
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth: Miscarriages become increasingly common as women age. A 45-year-old woman will have around a 60% of miscarriage during pregnancy.
  • C-Section: Due to an increased likelihood of complications during delivery, women are more likely to have a C-section delivery instead of a vaginal delivery.
  • Down syndrome: At the age of 20, 1 in 1,480 children will be born with Down syndrome. After 40, this risk goes to 1 in 85.
  • Need for a blood transfusion: As blood loss is more common during labor in women over 40, many will require a blood transfusion.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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