27.09.2014

Risks of getting pregnant in your 40s

Getting pregnant in your forties comes with higher risks, but with proper care you can have a normal pregnancy. You may have delayed planning your family to concentrate on your career, or it took you a lot of time to find the right partner - whatever the reason, you are now in your forties and you want to have a baby. In your late forties, your fertility rate along with the quality of eggs generally declines further. Certain probabilities like facing a difficult birthing experience, having a caesarean section, a premature or low birth weight baby, can increase considerably in your 40s. Get all the necessary pre-natal tests done as advised by your doctor and also get some tests like Nuchal Translucency Scan, Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS), Triple Test, and Amniocentesis after you conceive to detect any birth defects in your baby early on.
With the advancement of technology, there are a lot of fertility treatments available that can help you get pregnant and have a healthy baby in your 40s.
You can undergo treatments such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) that can make it possible for you to get pregnant. In case you are unable to get pregnant naturally, you can use donor eggs or frozen embryos to increase your chances of having a successful pregnancy.
The advantage of having a baby in your 40s is that you are financially and emotionally stable by this age. Perhaps you've put off pregnancy to concentrate on your career, or because it’s taken you a while to find the right partner (Bewley et al 2009, Utting and Bewley 2011).
Chromosomal abnormalities in your eggs can raise the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. There's never been a better time to try to get pregnant as an older mum, given the range of fertility treatments available.
In your early forties you have about a one in five to one in 10 chance of a live birth per treatment cycle (HFEA 2011, NCCWCH 2013). You may wish to explore the idea of using donor eggs or frozen embryos to try to conceive, as it will increase your chances of having a baby (Klipstein et al 2005, Serour et al 2010, Utting and Bewley 2011).
The risk of miscarriage and chromosomal problems is consistent with the age of your egg donor, who will be in her 20s or 30s. Probably the greatest advantage of waiting to have children in your 40s is that you are emotionally and financially ready for them. If you've been with your partner for a while you will have had the chance to get to know each other in all sorts of circumstances. Your income is likely to be higher, as you will have had time to establish yourself in your career.


By the time you reach your 40s, you may have a sense that you've been there, done that.
As you approach the menopause, your hormones work harder to release an egg from your ovaries. If you have assisted conception, the follicle-stimulating hormones you'll be given also increase your chances of conceiving more than one baby (Utting and Bewley 2011).
If you do conceive, you are more likely to need extra care during your pregnancy (Franz and Husslein 2010, Montan 2007, Utting and Bewley 2011). All women are offered screening tests in pregnancy for genetic conditions, such as Down's syndrome. Age aside, there are steps you can take to give yourself the best chance for a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby.
If you are in your 40s, and have been having unprotected sex two to three times a week for three months, without getting pregnant, see your GP. Join now to receive free weekly newsletters tracking your baby’s development and yours throughout your pregnancy. It's important to seriously analyse your lifestyle and work out how and where you can eliminate stress.
Egg quality can reduce in women in their 40s, so antioxidant-rich foods should be consumed daily.
Stock your refrigerator and pantry with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, sunflower seeds, almonds and pine nuts. Soy beans — not soy milk or tofu — and flaxseed oil have high levels of phytoestrogens, so consider adding them to your diet. You would also be able to raise your baby well during your 40s as you are likely to be financially stable.
The chances of getting pregnant will be higher in your early forties as compared to your late forties. Since you are experienced and mature, you’re likely to be able to parent your child in a better way. Many 40-plus women do conceive, although there's no denying that your odds of getting pregnant are a lot lower than just a few years ago. At 40, your chance of conceiving is about 20 per cent (based on the average annual rate of pregnancy per cycle), falling to less than five per cent by the mid-40s (NCCWCH 2013:65). As early as 15 years before you go through menopause, the number of your eggs begins to decline.


Your life experience means you'll feel pretty confident about your approach to child-rearing (Hansen and Joshi 2008). You'll be less concerned with your own needs, and will be happy instead to focus on your child. From your mid-40s, if you conceive naturally, you have a one in two chance of having twins (NHS Choices 2010a, Utting and Bewley 2011).
Your age will be factored in to the result to give you a risk of your baby having a problem. But keep in mind that there are plenty of women in their 40s who have trouble-free pregnancies and perfectly healthy babies. Most specialists start with blood tests and investigations to check your fallopian tubes or your partner's sperm.
You may need to reduce your hours at work or cut back on other responsibilities in an effort to keep your mental and physical health in tip-top shape.
The good news is that you have certainly not missed the train, and still have a chance of conceiving even if you are above 40, though your chances of getting pregnant are a lot lower than women in their 30s.
By your 40s, the eggs that your ovaries release each month are more likely to have structural problems (chromosomal abnormalities). From 43 to 44 onwards, your chances of success using your own eggs really are minimal, because conception rates per cycle of IVF are so low.
The two eggs can be fertilised and implant in your uterus, resulting in non-identical twins.
But what it means is you'll get the care you need to ensure you and your unborn baby stay as well as possible.
This disheartening figure rises to three quarters for women aged 45 years or more (Nybo Anderson et al 2000, RCOG 2008, 2011).
One last chance for pregnancy: a review of 2,705 in vitro fertilization cycles initiated in women age 40 years and above.



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