If you’ve waited until your mid to late 30s to have children, you’re not alone.
In fact, national trends demonstrate that since the 70s, people have waited until later in life to have a baby.
The reasons vary. Some need the time to focus on their careers while others are delaying marriage. Still others may be waiting for the right partner to join them on the journey.
If your biological clock is ticking loudly in your ears, you likely wonder about fertility after 35, and what you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant. We have the answers, and we’ll explain the challenges associated with getting pregnant in your 30s and beyond.
“While the peak reproductive years, biologically, are between the late teens and late 20s, more people are waiting until later in life to get pregnant,” said Dr. Williams. “As long as you have healthy eggs remaining, you are able to get pregnant. However, getting pregnant later in life may be more difficult and take more time. That’s one reason why we always want to have a preconception appointment with you to ensure the healthiest possible start and discuss any concerns.”
How Aging Affects Fertility
Yes, you can get pregnant after age 35, but it may take longer. As your eggs age, they become more difficult to fertilize and more fragile in the division process which can lead to chromosomal abnormalities.
You also have fewer eggs than you did when you were younger, which can make conception a challenge.
For comparison, among those in their 20s and 30s, around 1 in 4 will get pregnant while by age 40, that number decreases to 1 in 10.
Also, as you age, you may be more prone to issues such as fibroids and endometriosis, which can affect fertility.
But this doesn’t mean that you can’t get pregnant. In fact, we’ve helped many patients with fertility issues, and we can provide assistance and treatment to help you welcome that bundle of joy into your home.
Can You Increase Fertility After 35?
While you cannot increase the number of eggs you have, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
The first is to take care of yourself, and by that we mean implement lifestyle changes to ensure you’re as healthy as you can be. This means you need to:
Stop smoking (if you smoke)
This includes using e-cigarettes and vaping. If you want to get pregnant, you should stop smoking because of its effects on the developing fetus. Smoking also increases the chances of low birth weight and birth defects. In addition, smoking carries with it the potential for serious health problems such as lung cancer.
If you smoke, seize this as the opportunity to quit permanently.
Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese
One way to assess your weight is by calculating your BMI. You may find this online BMI calculator useful. This is only an approximation; some patients have a low percentage of body fat but still a higher BMI.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help increase your chances of getting pregnant because a high BMI can keep you from ovulating normally. In fact, the higher your BMI, the longer it may take you to become pregnant.
Be aware of extremely intense exercise
Let’s be clear: Exercise is a vital component to help you remain healthy. It helps you maintain a normal BMI, which increases your chances of becoming pregnant.
However, sometimes individuals exercise so intensely for such a long period of time that it can affect the menstrual cycle. For example, people who are professional athletes might not ovulate regularly during their sport’s season. Anything that inhibits your regular cycle can cause difficulties with conception.
How We Can Help Your Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant
One of the first things we want to do is to examine you for underlying issues such as thyroid problems or endometriosis. If you have these conditions, we’ll need to treat them so you’ll have a better chance of getting pregnant.
We can use medications, such as Clomid and Femara, to help stimulate and promote ovulation.
Factors to Consider When Getting Pregnant Later in Life
If you are planning to get pregnant and you are 35 years old or older, we will want to monitor you closely because there are some risks that increase with age. These include:
Preeclampsia, a disorder that can damage your liver and kidneys.
An increased chance of birth defects, particularly Down syndrome. While the risk of having a pregnancy affected by Down syndrome is 1 in 1,480 at age 20, that number changes to 1 in 353 at age 35 and 1 in 85 at age 40, according to information from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
If you’re concerned about birth defects, we can conduct prenatal screening tests and diagnostic tests to determine if your pregnancy is affected.
Planning to Get Pregnant After Age 35? Schedule an Appointment With Us
Because getting pregnant after age 35 can be challenging, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with us before you plan on starting your family. This way, we can help you through preconception counseling, helping ensure that you are in the best possible health for this next adventure in your life.
For more than 40 years, patients in the Triangle area have placed their trust in our compassionate, state-of-the-art care. We would love the opportunity to become your medical home.
Scheduling an appointment is easy—just contact us!
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.