In any given month, a 30-year-old woman who is trying to get pregnant has about a 20% chance of succeeding. When she hits 40, however, she has just a 5% chance.
You can get pregnant after age 40, even without fertility treatments, but it’s likely you’ll have a difficult time conceiving.
Here’s what to know about your fertility and pregnancy experience after age 40, and how the OB/GYN team at Capital Women’s Care in Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland, can help you add to your family.
It’s harder to get pregnant at age 40
As you age, the quantity and quality of your eggs decline. A spontaneous pregnancy is not common, but it’s still possible. You increase your chances of success in getting pregnant after age 40 by having fertility treatments.
After a thorough fertility workup for both partners, we here at Capital Women’s Care might recommend certain specific fertility treatments. These may include fertility medications to help you release quality eggs, or artificial insemination to inject sperm directly into your uterus.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is also a valid option. This procedure involves uniting your egg and your partner’s sperm in a lab to create an embryo that is then implanted into your uterus.
It’s harder to carry a baby to term
Even if you’re able to get pregnant, women who are 40 or older have a higher chance of miscarriage, and they’re at greater risk of having a stillbirth.
It’s also a fact that 40-year-old women are at a greater risk of health complications during pregnancy. One of these issues is a higher-than-normal risk of pre-eclampsia. In this condition, you experience high blood pressure and protein in your urine that can threaten your life and the viability of the pregnancy.
Further, women 40 and older are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes means you have abnormally high blood sugar levels during pregnancy, and your baby is at risk of premature delivery and an abnormally high or low birth weight.
You’re also at a greater risk of placenta previa, a condition that can increase the risk of premature labor and stillbirth. Placenta previa describes when the placenta either partly or fully covers the cervix.
A baby conceived when the mother is at least 40 years old is also at greater risk of certain abnormalities, including Down syndrome.
You should still try for a baby
All of this information is rather scary, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on having a baby. If you’re able to get pregnant, your risks are higher than if you got pregnant at 30, but they’re still relatively low.
You’re actually at an advantage, in some ways, when it comes to parenthood. For example, you may be more emotionally prepared to enhance your family. Your finances may also be more in check, and you may mentally be more ready to focus on family.
You’ve accomplished many of your education, career, and social goals — now it’s time to share your life with a baby.
No matter your age, the team at Capital Women’s Care is here to help you conceive and care for you during your pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Call or use this website to request your appointment so we can answer all of your pregnancy questions.