Pregnant after 40 – What you need to know
You are pregnant and already over 40 years old? Are you afraid of complications during pregnancy? There is no need to go through these fears automatically because experience shows that even women over 40 can give birth to healthy children, not only thanks to advanced medicine.
It is not uncommon for women over 40 to become pregnant intentionally or unintentionally. Life planning is often involved in late pregnancy or the unplanned menopause. If you observe certain rules during pregnancy and love and accept yourself and your body, this will be the most beautiful time a woman can experience.
In this guide, you will not only find all the information about the 40+ pregnancy but also useful tips that can help you with this special time and take away your fears.
For how long is a woman fertile?
With the beginning of menstruation in your teens, you are physically ready to have a child. Due to the hormonal conditions in your body, you can become pregnant in every cycle if you don’t use birth control. If your hormone level changes in such a way that the proportion of estrogen decreases, menopause begins. Many women mistakenly assume that they will no longer be fertile when menopause sets in.
During this time you can still become pregnant, even if the probability is no longer so high. This means that signs of menopause and irregular periods don’t automatically mean you’re not fertile anymore. In many women, menopause lasts for several years and occurs in phases and slowly.
Are you over 40 and want to get pregnant?
Many women face the problem of having such a turbulent life plan that there was no time for a child. Many have actually decided against it, but feel a strong desire to have a baby towards the end of their fertile age.
Always keep in mind that your body has also grown older. Every pregnancy is a great challenge for you and your body. It remains in each case your decision. However, you should be aware that if you decide to become pregnant, it does not have to work immediately. In addition to a lot of patience, which can be a strain on your soul, the necessary medical examinations are also required.
Have your gynecologist check your health and perform a fertility test beforehand. This will tell you even before your first attempt whether you are able to carry a child and above all to become pregnant without any problems.
You are pregnant at over 40 – what are the risks for you and the baby?
Even if medical science calls a pregnancy over 40 a high-risk pregnancy, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you or your child will be harmed. You will have heard many horror stories, informed yourself and read that the risks for malformations in the child or even complications in pregnancy are very high.
With advice from your gynecologist at the time the pregnancy is diagnosed or in advance, you will find out that these risks are caused by the fact that your hormone level is no longer as high as it was at the age of 20. This can lead to abnormal development of the child, but also to high stress on your body during pregnancy. The physical conditions are also no longer optimal for pregnancy.
You can expect the following risks
Possible abnormalities of the child:
- poorly developed organs or extremities
- locomotor damage
- increased expression of genetic defects e.g. Down syndrome
- mental retardation
- impaired vision, defective hearing and cognitive impairment
Note that these risks are greatly increased by late pregnancy, but this does not mean that your child cannot develop optimally.
In addition, there are possible complications during pregnancy that can severely affect you and mean that you not only have to take very good care of yourself, but also have to undergo regular check-ups.
Possible complications during pregnancy are:
- increased risk of miscarriages and premature births
- water retention in circulation impairments
- joint pain and locomotor system pain due to weight gain
- malnutrition due to poor blood circulation or nutrient supply
- depression due to severely impaired hormonal balance
For this reason, strict pregnancy monitoring and your well-being are essential so that you can enjoy your pregnancy in a relaxed way.
How you can minimize risks
It is not only important that you take care of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, but you should also prepare beforehand that you and your child can survive the pregnancy well.
What about caffeine consumption in your pregnancy? Read more here.
You have different options for this, which you should take advantage of if you want to avoid complications:
- reduce existing excess weight before pregnancy
- eat a healthy diet!
- use food supplements only after consulting your doctor!
- take folic acid already 3 months before the planned pregnancy, latest however with detection of the
- pregnancy after recommendation of your doctor, in order to support the neurological development of your child.
- reduce stress and give up tasks!
- structure your day with many breaks!
- don’t do without light sport and exercise!
- take advantage of all options and check-ups to exclude or monitor existing risks!
- make use of a doctor’s advice and implement these experiences and recommendations!
- exchange experiences with other mothers over 40 to benefit from their experiences.
The better you are prepared for pregnancy, the more beautiful it will be for you. If you have any problems, contact a doctor or your midwife! Always talk about your fears and worries. You will see that pregnancy, at any age, is an emotional roller coaster. But in the end you will be rewarded with the most beautiful gift: your baby!