By Toni Bostrom
Women in their 40s have usually delayed pregnancy to seek career goals and enjoy financial stability. These women hold stable jobs, ensuring a future which is financially secure for their child.
However, there are trade-offs. Getting pregnant over 40 is not so easy to do. Several studies done on populations which do not practice contraception showed that there is a sharp decline in pregnancy rates once you reach the age of 35. Although age is just a number, this is not true when we are talking about reproductive function.
What about all those celebrities who have successfully conceived in their 40s? Fertility doctors are cautioning us to look beyond the glitter of these celebrity mothers. Some of these women have undergone assisted reproduction. Fertility doctors wish that women who underwent such technology be more forthcoming about it to debunk the myth that women can delay getting pregnant till they are over 40 without any significant risks.
For mothers-to-be, here are some tips for getting pregnant over 40:
Keep your body healthy. A healthy body ensures that your hormone levels are at normal. Maintaining the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone at optimum levels at each stage of your menstrual cycle ensures ovulation.
As a caveat to tip number 1, maintain your ideal body weight. Body weight per height, or body mass index, of 22 to 25 is optimal to getting pregnant. Being over- or undernourished wreaks havoc on your hormones. Some women who are too fat or too thin have irregular monthly cycles. Some stopped having menses entirely, a condition called amenorrhea. Irregular or absent menstrual periods are presumptive signs that you are not ovulating. This is definitely not a good sign.
Supplement with vitamins and minerals. If you are planning to get pregnant, stack up on folic acid at least 3 months prior to getting pregnant. You then continue taking this micro nutrient for the first 3 months of your pregnancy. Taking at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before and during pregnancy reduces the risks for neural tube defects.
Stop smoking. Cigarette smoke damages your tubes, preventing fertilization. Smoking also has a detrimental effect on your ovaries, accelerating ovarian reserve loss. You need to take care of your remaining reserves, not lose them.
Stop drinking coffee and alcoholic beverages. Data are conflicting on how much of these drinks constitute too much. Some say 2 cups of coffee causes damage, others would say 6 cups. The same goes for alcohol. Some studies show that even a glass of wine weekly can adversely affect fertility. To be safe, abstain from these drinks totally, if you can.
Time your intercourse. There is no accurate way of predicting when ovulation occurs. However, you may use a combination of these methods to increase your chances of being right: monitoring of basal body temperature, checking your cervical mucus, and counting days based on the length of your menstrual period. An increase in basal body temperature suggests ovulation. The presence of clear, sticky mucus similar to egg white is also suggestive of ovulation. Counting day 14 from the onset of menses in women with a 28-day cycle is also suggestive of ovulation. Combining these 3 methods increases your chances of accurately predicting ovulation.
You may try all these advice to optimize your chances of getting pregnant even if over 40
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Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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