Aging is a natural part of life that comes with a host of different caused effects. Our physical appearance changes, including the skin and hair, our eyesight begins to decline, and we start to notice hormonal changes– such as the relationship between age and fertility. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest that a woman’s peak reproductive years are between her late teens and 20s. Once a woman hits 30, fertility begins to decline and continues to with age.
How Does Age Affect Fertility?
The underlying reason for several older women dealing with infertility is related to changes in the ovaries and the decline in reproductive hormone production as women approach menopause. Here at Carolinas Fertility Institute, our passion is helping families achieve their parenting dreams. Although it may become harder to fall pregnant with increasing age, by no means is it impossible. Many women 35 and older have gone on to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. Continue reading to learn about the basics of age and fertility.
Menopause is the time when your biological clock stops ticking, and your menstrual cycle comes to an end. Because a woman no longer produces eggs post-menopause, a woman can no longer become pregnant naturally. The average age of menopause is 51, but it can occur as early as 38 and as late as 58. Early or premature menopause may be caused by surgery, removal, or radiation therapy to the vagina or pelvis, extensive smoking, or excessive stress.
Women’s Age And Pregnancy Complications
A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have. As a woman ages, her eggs age with her, and over time, the eggs’ quantity and quality reduce. Generally speaking, 35 is the age where this decrease becomes evident, and various risks become discussion worthy if you have plans of trying to conceive. The Mayo Clinic outlines possible risks that may accompany a later age pregnancy, for example:
- It may take longer to fall pregnant
- You’re more likely to develop gestational diabetes
- You’re more likely to develop high blood pressure
- You’re more likely to have a low birth weight baby and a premature birth
- The likelihood of needing a C-section increases
- The risk of chromosomal abnormalities is higher
- The risk of pregnancy loss and stillbirth is higher
Although risks increase with age, older women can still go on to have a healthy and successful pregnancy.
Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy
Whether you are younger than 35 or older, there are several steps you can take before and during that can help you have a healthy pregnancy and baby. Just remember, as you age, taking care of your body becomes even more pertinent when it comes to age and fertility.
- Schedule a preconception checkup
- Get treatment for any underlying health conditions you may have
- Take multivitamins, including folic acid
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs
- Be conscious of unsafe chemicals at home or in your workplace
- Reduce your stress levels
- Attend all of your prenatal checkups
- Continue with treatment for any health conditions or concerns
- Ensure you are gaining the right amount of weight
- Continue to abstain from smoking, drinking, and drugs
- Engage in regular physical activity
Age and fertility have a strong relationship. Yet, deciding to start a family is an important decision, and there is no one age or time period that is considered best. Some women feel ready to become mothers earlier than others, and that’s ok! If you’ve been struggling with fertility issues, have been interested in fertility services, or have any questions about age and fertility, reach out to Carolinas Fertility Institute today. Call us at (336) 448-9100 to make an appointment in the Triad or (844) 686-2233 for our Charlotte office.