4 Ways to Quell Your Fears about Getting Pregnant in your 30's and 40's
The biological clock! Many women over thirty who are looking to conceive hear this term often, more often than not. It has unfortunately been used as a scare tactic, throwing perfectly healthy women who have just entered their thirties into a near panic. What does the term mean anyways? According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is “an innate mechanism that controls the physiological activities of an organism which change on a daily, seasonal, yearly, or other regular cycle.” Essentially, it means how the body changes over time.
In a culture that prizes personal career growth and achievement, this presents a real problem. Especially for our generation of women who are blazing their own trails before hitching their carriage to a partner and children.
So how much of this is biological, and therefore inescapable fact, and how much is old wives tale? I’ve done my homework (and real life work with myself and clients) to sift out the truth in the middle of all the confusion. I’m going to quell some of your fears and help you get back to a strong, positive mindset that you can conceive and have a healthy baby later in life.
STEP 1: Trust the Process
I’m going to strongly encourage you right now to form a new kind of relationship with your health and your body. One that is highly counterculture to mainstream health care. I encourage you to trust your body, and trust in the process that you are going through. Getting pregnant naturally in your thirties (and even early forties) is not only possible, but all the doom and gloom stats you’ve heard forever aren't even that accurate. It is possible to have just as healthy a pregnancy during this time in your life as it was in your twenties.
STEP 2: Educate Yourself
You’re in the right place for that! The challenges associated with being over thirty-five and pregnant tend to be exaggerated.
An infertility study in 2004 from the Natural Institute of Health concluded that there was only a 4 percent increase in infertility between the ages of twenty-seven and thirty-four. Between the ages of thirty-five and thirty-nine, there is a zero increase in sterility.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) “for every 100 fertile thirty year old women trying to get pregnant in one cycle, 20 will be successful and the other 80 will have to try again.” This quote sounds like the odds are against you. However the timeframe makes for an incomplete picture.
The last statistic by the ASRM shows that in four months of trying, 60 out of 100 fertile women will get pregnant and after twelve months of trying, 93 out of 100 fertile women will get pregnant. This sounds much more promising than 1 out of 20.
One of the primary challenges of conceiving past age thirty-five is decreased ovulation, both in frequency and in quantity. We have all been told that those millions of eggs you were born with start dying off every year. And while we certainly see a real drop off in viable egg production in our forties, we know that balanced hormones and solid overall health can keep our egg production in business well into our late thirties. As Dr. Jean M Twenge, professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, so wisely points out in her book, The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant, we will take the glass half full approach and look at it like this…
Women in their early thirties have a 75 to 80 percent chance of getting pregnant within one year, and women in their early forties have a 65 percent chance of getting pregnant within that year. The odds ready are in your favour.
STEP 3: Continue to Cultivate Patience
If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while and still need intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF), then go easy on yourself. We are lucky to be living in a time where we have additional measures and tools in place to help us get our baby engine going. If you’re still ‘just trying’ on your own, then it may take a little longer to get pregnant then when you were in your twenties, but in most cases this is typically a few months, or a year at max.
Keep in mind, it’s not that it will never happen, but it just might take a little longer. Yes, there are some cases where for some women it could take longer than a year of trying and there are women who will have to explore IVF or other treatments. But, wherever you are, it’s essential to continue to prep the body with a nourishing diet and lifestyle while working daily with a meditation or mindfulness practice to keep your stress hormones in check.
STEP 4: Work with a Trusted Practitioner
Fertility and pregnancy require a complex interplay of nutrients and hormones, all of which can be affected by your food choices, stress, and your environment. Taking time to prepare and nourish the body prior to starting "trying" or after running into difficulties is a wonderful way to prepare the body for pregnancy and set up the best possible environment for conception to occur. My holistic approach to preconception care allows you to get your mind and body in the most ideal place for conceiving.
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