Planning a pregnancy in your 40s? An expert tells you all about it

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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If you are in your 40s and planning a pregnancy, keep these factors in mind and weight all your options, as suggested by an expert.

A successful pregnancy depends heavily on multiple factors; not least of which is the age of the expecting mother. With ageing, come concerns of optimal health, overall well-being, and the body’s capacity to sustain a new life. Therefore, being mindful of the options that are available for you to have a healthy and happy pregnancy in your 40s is crucial, before embarking on the journey to motherhood.

Planning right from the beginning will enable you to drastically ease the process.

pregnancy diet
Keep an eye on what you eat! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Consider these factors while planning a pregnancy in your 40s:

1. Optimum health is key

Maintaining a healthy and fit body goes a long way. Be mindful of your sleep and diet cycles to ensure that the body is getting the required nutrition and rest. Also, keep track of your menstruation cycles and take due note of any irregularities or pauses. It is important that you have a gynecological expert by your side before you take the leap, as they will be right there to support you at all times. Timely identification and treatment of irregularities can help avert a more substantial infertility issue later on. Lastly, avoid activities such as drinking, smoking and drug abuse. Overall, you must eat healthy, exercise regularly, and regulate stress levels to ensure optimum health for conceiving and birthing a child at any given age.

2. IVF and other external procedures are always an option

As one ages, the chances of natural conception drop significantly. Usually, this age is around the mid and late thirties in most women. Any couple in this age bracket or above who isn’t able to conceive even after continuous attempts may be suffering from infertility, among other possible hurdles to conception. Getting a check-up or screening done at this stage can help to highlight the exact hindrance in conception, which can be acted upon. In some cases, medication and lifestyle changes can solve the underlying problem, and the couple is able to conceive naturally afterward. However, there are plenty of cases in which natural conception may not be a choice. In this circumstance, there is still no need to worry as there are plenty of options like IVF available in the medical industry to assist conception and pregnancy.

The most popular method used to facilitate fertilization artificially is In-Vitro Fertilisation or IVF. IVF is the safest and smoothest way to conceive with external help and has the greatest chances at a successful pregnancy. It involves fertilizing an egg outside the mother’s body and then planting it in the womb so the rest of the pregnancy can continue normally. So far, this method has provided successful results to couples of all age groups from around the world and is thus a commonly recommended option to combat infertility.

3. Surrogacy

Surrogacy is yet another option that can be exercised for older women who want to have children . It refers to another woman carrying a pregnancy for an intended mother who is not able to carry the pregnancy due to some factor that makes her unable to carry the child herself . Surrogacy can be an efficient and smooth experience if executed correctly.

While traditionally it was believed that to have a healthy pregnancy, you must plan your journey of parenthood in your younger years, medical technology has enabled us to give parents the power of choice. In fact, with IVF treatments advancing, issues like infertility or age also no longer have the power to break your dreams of being parents. All a couple needs is the right guidance and the right treatment – and science can do everything in its power to help them to have their perfect family.

egg freezing
Egg freezing can be an option. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Egg freezing

This might be an option if you’re not ready to become pregnant now but want to try to make sure you can get pregnant later. Egg freezing involves deriving some eggs out of a woman and freezing them at sub-zero temperatures for later use. The main idea behind this technique is that the younger the egg, the healthier it is and thus, more likely to fertilize. Therefore, an egg frozen at a young age can increase the chances of fertilization years later.

5. Embryo freezing

This is quite similar in concept apart from the one main difference, that is, in embryo freezing, an egg is already fertilized via IVF before it is frozen. Thus, embryo freezing requires sperm while egg freezing doesn’t. The option of either can be exercised at the discretion of the individual in question and their reasons behind opting for the procedure.

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