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A baby in your forties

Having a baby in your forties

Thinking about having a baby when you are in your 40’s is increasingly common and it is now more likely for women to have their first baby in their thirties rather than twenties.  Couples often want to be financially secure and own their own home,  women who have spent many years studying often want to reap the benefits and develop their careers, and others may not meet the right partner until they are older.  Some women have had children when they were younger and then re-partner and want to create a new family. Single women are feeling confident and supported with making the decision to embark on motherhood on their own, and it’s now easier and safer to access donor sperm and/or eggs. Certainly there are many advantages in being a little older when considering parenting; being financially secure, having an established relationship, working in a rewarding career and being emotionally ready.

While deciding to have a baby in your 40’s may be a practical decision for some, or out of necessity for others, it may not be the best decision biologically.

A women’s Ovarian Reserve (the number of viable eggs left in the ovaries) naturally diminishes until there are no eggs remaining and the woman enters menopause.  Unfortunately, not only do egg numbers reduce as women become older, but the quality of those eggs decreases, resulting in a reduction of chromosomally normal embryos and an increase in miscarriage.

There are a number of considerations when planning motherhood to optimise the likelihood of safely delivering a healthy baby. Multiple pregnancies are more common and while an instant family may seem like a great idea, twin pregnancy adds extra risk to both mum and babies. You are more likely to develop gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. The risk of chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down’s syndrome, is higher. The risk of pregnancy loss is also higher and it is more likely that the baby will be born early and via caesarian section.

While we can’t increase the number of eggs that a woman has, the following choices are the best way to optimise your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby.

– Make a preconception appointment with you GP or Fertility Specialist to discuss your overall health and lifestyle. It might take longer to become pregnant, and if you are older than 35 and you haven’t conceived after 6 months, I would recommend a Fertility Assessment.

– Eat a balanced diet and aim for a BMI in the healthy range.

– Keep active to boost energy levels and improve overall health.

– Avoid risky substances such as alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.

– Plan to link in with an experienced GP, Obstetrician or specialist Maternity Clinic for comprehensive Obstetric care.

There are a range of Fertility Treatment options that may be appropriate for older women wanting to have a baby, these include; IVF, genetic testing, donor eggs and surrogacy.

Decisions regarding these treatments would be made after a comprehensive review of your health and fertility.

Thinking about having a baby when you are in your 40’s is increasingly common and it is now more likely for women to have their first baby in their thirties rather than twenties.  Couples often want to be financially secure and own their own home,  women who have spent many years studying often want to reap the benefits and develop their careers, and others may not meet the right partner until they are older.  Some women have had children when they were younger and then re-partner and want to create a new family. Single women are feeling confident and supported with making the decision to embark on motherhood on their own, and it’s now easier and safer to access donor sperm and/or eggs. Certainly there are many advantages in being a little older when considering parenting; being financially secure, having an established relationship, working in a rewarding career and being emotionally ready.

While deciding to have a baby in your 40’s may be a practical decision for some, or out of necessity for others, it may not be the best decision biologically.

A women’s Ovarian Reserve (the number of viable eggs left in the ovaries) naturally diminishes until there are no eggs remaining and the woman enters menopause.  Unfortunately, not only do egg numbers reduce as women become older, but the quality of those eggs decreases, resulting in a reduction of chromosomally normal embryos and an increase in miscarriage.

There are a number of considerations when planning motherhood to optimise the likelihood of safely delivering a healthy baby. Multiple pregnancies are more common and while an instant family may seem like a great idea, twin pregnancy adds extra risk to both mum and babies. You are more likely to develop gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. The risk of chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down’s syndrome, is higher. The risk of pregnancy loss is also higher and it is more likely that the baby will be born early and via caesarian section.

While we can’t increase the number of eggs that a woman has, the following choices are the best way to optimise your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby.

– Make a preconception appointment with you GP or Fertility Specialist to discuss your overall health and lifestyle. It might take longer to become pregnant, and if you are older than 35 and you haven’t conceived after 6 months, I would recommend a Fertility Assessment.

– Eat a balanced diet and aim for a BMI in the healthy range.

– Keep active to boost energy levels and improve overall health.

– Avoid risky substances such as alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.

– Plan to link in with an experienced GP, Obstetrician or specialist Maternity Clinic for comprehensive Obstetric care.

There are a range of Fertility Treatment options that may be appropriate for older women wanting to have a baby, these include; IVF, genetic testing, donor eggs and surrogacy.

Decisions regarding these treatments would be made after a comprehensive review of your health and fertility.