Pregnancy after Age 35
Today, thanks in part to scientific advances and in part to better information available to women who hope to become pregnant later in life, the chances of conceiving and having a health child are still relatively good for women past age 35 and even into their 40s. If you are over age 35, and have been trying unsuccessfully to become pregnant for more than six months, plan a visit to your doctor to discuss any possible obstacles to pregnancy.
Although there is a slightly higher risk of miscarriage and certain birth defects for expectant moms over 35 years old, there is a lot that you can do to decrease the risks. First and foremost, make sure to plan regular doctor’s visits while you are trying to become pregnant and, especially, during your pregnancy.
There are several things you can do to increase your chances of becoming pregnant and of having a healthy pregnancy if you are over 35 years old. Here are some of the basics:
- Stop smoking. Most of us know that it’s a no-no to smoke during pregnancy, but smoking can actually decrease your chances to conceive in the first place. Your partner should also stop smoking as it has been shown to contribute to male fertility problems as well.
- Reduce alcohol intake. We’re not saying you need to live like a monk, or to be a teetotaler, but having more than two or three drinks per day can decrease your chances of conception. Of course, once you are pregnant, you should stop drinking entirely for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Adopt a healthy diet. There’s plenty of information out there about what kinds of food (and how much) is healthy. The problem is that so many of us don’t put the information to good use. Make extra sure to eat a healthy diet if you want to become pregnant after age 35.
- Exercise. Believe it or not, in addition to helping you become healthier, regular exercise has been shown to be helpful for women over 35 who are trying to conceive.
- Once pregnant, take prenatal vitamins. All pregnant women should do this, of course, but it is particularly important for women over age 35.
You’ll notice that most of the advice for women over 35 is not much different from the advice given to other women who want to become pregnant. The fact is that anything you can do to lead a healthier lifestyle tends to lead to greater fertility regardless of your age. Because fertility begins to decline for women in their mid 30s, however, it becomes even more important for women 35 and older to live healthy lifestyles if they want to improve their chances of having a baby.