Getting Pregnant In Your 20s, 30s & 40s
“ Are you trying to get pregnant?” “How many children do you want?” “What!? No children yet?” No matter your time of life, length of your relationship, or how close someone is to you, people always seem to find a way to ask about when you’re getting pregnant, how long it took you to get pregnant, and all the other invasive questions people can think of.
One of the most disappointing things about these conversations is that people never truly know what a couple is going through with their journey to getting pregnant. It’s important to remember that everyone’s journey is different, which often means respecting someone’s privacy. If you are exploring when to get pregnant, below we’ve compiled a detailed list of what that journey to getting pregnant could look like as you get older.
Getting Pregnant In your 20s, 30s & 40s
Thankfully, getting pregnant is not always as affected by our age as we may think. Since more and more people are choosing to have a child later on in life, statistics for those getting pregnant in their 30’s and 40’s are on the rise.
A woman’s reserve is not unlimited. Though there have been many breakthroughs thanks to modern medicine, and because of that, many have chosen to wait until they are out of their 20’s to have children, your ability to conceive changes significantly as you age. This is why it’s very important to understand what fertility is all about, and what that means for you, specifically when getting pregnant.
Understand how pregnancy works as we age can be one of the most important things you can do on your fertility journey. As we age, our eggs age with us, Older eggs are more likely to have certain abnormalities. These abnormalities simply mean there is a flaw inside our DNA. These chromosomal anomalies can mean that an egg may not be able to be fertilized or that it will not mature into a healthy fetus inside the womb.
Throughout your twenties, around 90% of your egg reserve is genetically normal, but by the time you reach your 40’s only 20 per cent of your egg reserve is genetically normal. Using the information listed here can help you understand what needs to be done to achieve a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Getting Pregnant In Your 20’s
Studies have shown that it is still in a woman’s best interest to get pregnant in her twenties. A woman in her 20s has a 95% chance of success with conceiving after 1 year of trying to conceive (TTC).
If there is no underlying medical condition, the chances of conceiving within two if you are in good health are 98% and then falling slightly to about 95 by your late 20s.
Having irregular periods, sexually transmitted diseases or underlying medical conditions are most commonly known as endometriosis or PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Can slow down the process of getting pregnant.
Getting Pregnant In Your 30’s
Females between the ages of 30 and 35 still have a significant chance of getting pregnant naturally, regardless of studies showing that a woman in her twenties is more likely to fall pregnant.
The rate at which your chances of pregnancy decline after the age of 30 is 3% per year. Not astronomical, but still something to considering in your family planning.
Every woman was born with a set amount of eggs in her reserve, which is why – as we get older – women tend to see a decline in their ability to become pregnant naturally. By the age of 37, it is expected that you will have around 5,000 eggs remaining, which sounds like a lot, but in fact, it’s only 2.5% of the eggs you started with.
Getting Pregnant In Your 40’s
According to research, when a woman is in her twenties, she has a 25% chance of getting pregnant per cycle if she is having unprotected sex with regularity. In contrast, a woman in her 40’s has only a 5% chance of getting pregnant per menstrual cycle. Additionally, the chances of loss of fetal life, complications for mom and baby, with the chance of various birth defects increases.
When a woman reaches the age of 45, her chances of conceiving naturally are painfully low. This is not to say there isn’t an expectation to every rule. Still, as a general rule overall, the chances of conceiving after the age of 45 with medical intervention is extremely low. This is why so many women choose to go through IVF (in-vitro fertilization), so they can have their child.
Aging & Fertility, What Role Do They Play?
Aging is one of those things that many try to do gracefully, but when it comes to fertility there is only so much that we have control over. Maturing plays a significant role in conceiving because the likelihood of being able to conceive naturally decreases as we make our way through our thirties and forties.
Statistics show that, on average, after 40, the prospect of conceiving can drop to 5-10% and go as little as 5% (or lower) after you hit 45.
Risks of getting pregnant 30s and 40s
Miscarriage: As we age, we find ourselves more at risk medically for many things – this rule also applies to fertility. As women get older, The risk of having a miscarriage in their 40s is nearly 50%. Studies have shown that we are three times more likely to have anomalies in our pregnancies including miscarriage, and genetic chromosomal abnormalities.
Pregnancy Complications In Your 30’s and 40’s
- Preeclampsia: is a syndrome where, during pregnancy, there is a combination of high blood pressure with signs of kidney and liver damage.
- Pre-term labour: which is birth before 37 weeks gestation.
- High blood sugar: also known as gestational diabetes (GD). Though GD can be managed quite often with diet, it can lead to higher birth weights and increases the risk of needing a c-section. Having GD during pregnancy also increases your chances of developing type II diabetes later in life.
- Ectopic pregnancy: This is when an embryo implants itself outside the womb. Often it finds itself in a fallopian tube, which means that this poses a great risk for the mother. She is now at risk of losing her fallopian tubes, other reproductive organs if left too long, and her pregnancy loss.
- Birth Defects: Babies are usually born with a copy of each chromosome, however in some cases, a baby may have received an extra chromosome, and that may manifest itself as a learning disability in your child, organ defects, and in some cases, Trisomy 21 (also known as Down Syndrome.) According to research, when a woman reaches the age of 40, her chances of having a child with down syndrome are 1 in 70, and if the woman is 45, her chances are now 1 in 19.
Egg Freezing: If you find yourself at an age where getting pregnant naturally just isn’t happening, freezing your eggs can help you with that. Egg freezing can increase your odds of getting pregnant later in life. Egg freezing can be quite expensive, ranging from $6000 – 20,000 plus ongoing expensive to keep the eggs in storage.
Egg freezing is an invasive procedure that may cause side effects. Speaking to your GP or fertility specialist to make sure egg freezing is right for you.
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Because you have chosen to go the route of medically assisted pregnancy, and you may have even frozen your eggs or using eggs from a donor, IVF can be a wonderful way to help you get pregnant. However, it can be very expensive and very taxing on your body and mind. IVF has a very high success rate in Australia, ranging from 48% in your early 30s to 32% in your late 30s success rate.
Many women have also chosen to work on getting pregnant naturally by using the Fertility2Family Ovulation predictor kits (OPK) and our dip & read pregnancy tests. This is a perfect way to track ovulation which may help you conceive on your own.
Lifestyle Changes for getting pregnant
A healthy lifestyle can help prevent complications of getting pregnant.
Being in a healthy BMI range can help reduce stress, high blood pressure by having a healthy diet. We may find that getting pregnant is easier.
Starting prenatal vitamins research indicates that the optimal time to start taking supplements is 3 months before conception.
Exercise. This one doesn’t have to be dramatic. Just try adding a 15-minute walk at lunchtime or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Many studies have shown that women with PCOS have found themselves getting pregnant quite easily with a change in diet and by adding an exercise regimen.
Creating some of the above-mentioned lifestyle changes should keep certain things at bay that can prevent pregnancy: stress, high blood pressure, malnutrition, obesity, and its counterpart – being underweight. Though a healthier way of life should encourage new life to grow within you and is overall a good way to improve your daily life, it is not a cure. If there is something more serious happening with your fertility, these things can help, but you should also seek out the wise counsel of your physician.
When To Get Help
TTC can be absolutely exhausting and incredibly frustrating, regardless of where you are at in your life. Most experts suggest at least one year for women younger than age 35, or women older than 35 who have been trying for at least six months, should consult a fertility specialist for help getting pregnant.