Pregnancy Over 40 – How to Preserve Your Fertility
Statistics show that women reach their reproductive peak in their twenties, and by age 35, the risk of infertility jumps to 22 percent. According to Dr. David Ghozland, who oversees a Los Angeles obstetrics practice, women contemplating pregnancy over the age of 40 can achieve their goals of starting a family, especially if they keep some important guidelines in mind.
Dr. Ghozland asserts that it’s important not to take statistics too literally. Each woman’s biological clock is different, and some can easily get pregnant at 40, while others struggle to conceive while still in their twenties. While it is not possible to stop the biological clock from ticking, when it comes to fertility, there are numerous lifestyle changes that can improve your fertility odds as you age:
- See your doctor. During your physical, look for any health issues that could influence fertility, such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or endometriosis. Obviously, you will also want to be screened and treated for any STDs.
- See your dentist. Believe it or not, several studies have indicated that a woman’s oral health may be related to her reproductive success. In one study, women who needed fertility treatments had higher levels of gum bleeding and inflammation than those who conceived naturally.
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking is linked to 13 percent of infertility cases. Tobacco use causes eggs deteriorate faster than they naturally would with age; increases the risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy; and may even induce early menopause.
- Take your vitamins. A multivitamin containing folic acid appears to improve fertility by stimulating ovulation. Women who regularly take iron supplements are also significantly less likely to have fertility problems.
Dr. Ghozland also advises women who are past the age of 35 to ask their OB/GYN to run some tests regarding their ovarian reserve. Ask about ordering an ultrasound that counts the number of follicles in your ovaries and a blood test that checks hormone levels at certain points in your cycle. These tests, (often covered by insurance) can give you a realistic timeline for your fertility window.
In his Los Angeles obstetrics practice, Dr. Ghozland sees women of all ages who are hoping to start a family. While it can be more difficult to conceive after the age of 40, he notes that with so many advances in fertility medicine today, many options exists to boost your odds and preserve your fertility, so you can achieve your dream of having a healthy baby.