Getting Pregnant At 40: Benefits, Risks, And Useful Tips

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Some women prefer to plan their pregnancy when they turn forty. However, many of these women are concerned about the adverse effects of late pregnancies on their and their baby’s health.

If you are also planning to get pregnant at 40 but unsure of the decision, you should understand that with age, your fertility decreases. After reaching your 40s, the eggs’ quality also does not remain the same. However, this does not indicate that pregnancy is impossible at 40.

According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics 2021 report, out of 3,664,292 live births in the US, 135,735 successful live births accounted for women over 40 years. Therefore, those planning to conceive at 40 should discuss with their doctor about exploring healthy and safe options for conception.

This post provides you with information on the advantages and disadvantages of late pregnancy, why your pregnancy decreases with age, and tips on increasing your success rate of conception.

In This Article

Chances Of Pregnancy At 40

It depends on how far you are into your 40s. During the early 40s, your chance of conceiving is about 20 percent, and it depends upon your menstrual cycle. The percentage further deteriorates to 15 percent during your mid-40s.

After 45, your chances of getting pregnant reduces. The number of eggs begins to diminish by this age and the fertility rate decreases. Your reduced fertility not only depends upon the number of eggs but also upon the quality of the eggs.

By your 40s, most of the eggs your ovaries release are not perfectly healthy and more likely to have chromosomal abnormalities. These abnormalities in your eggs increase greater risks of miscarriage and birth defects. Such complications seem more prevalent in older women (1).

protip_icon Did you know?
By the time a woman reaches 40 years, about 60% of her eggs may contain an abnormal number of chromosomes (8).

Advantages Of Getting Pregnant At 40

Though your fertility rate decreases with your increasing age, there are certain benefits associated with mid-life pregnancy:

1. Financially Stable:

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  • One of the greatest merits of having a baby in your 40s is that you are financially stable to take their complete responsibility.
  • By this age, your career flourishes and you reach to a secure and stable condition that you can support your family in all aspects of life.

2. Raising A Kid In A Positive Environment:

  • As you get the chance to spend long years with your life partner, you know each other in a better way. The bonding is rather strong, and the family offers a solid foundation for their child’s upbringing.
  • Young parents have a tendency to fight and quarrel, due to a financially unstable condition. It often leads to divorce, which can affect your child’s well-being.

3. Taking Mature And Wise Decisions:

  • As a mature individual, you will possess the ability to make wise parenting decisions for your baby.

Disadvantages Of Getting Pregnant In Your 40s

There are certain health and pregnancy complications associated with pregnancy after 40. If you conceive in your older age, it is better to remain in extra care throughout your gestation.

Here are some of the common health issues that you may face during pregnancy in your 40s:

1. Diseases:

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  • When you are expecting in your late 40s, it increases your risks of suffering from numerous health diseases, which include gestational diabetesiXA condition characterized by elevated blood sugar levels due to hormonal and physical changes in pregnancy. , pre-eclampsia, placental abruptioniXSeparation of the placenta from the inner wall of the uterus before birth. , high blood pressure and placenta praeviaiXA pregnancy complication where the placenta obstructs the cervix, causing difficulties in vaginal delivery. .
  • During the 40s, some of the common issues you come across are irregular periods and fertility problems. Consult with the gynecologist, as he prescribes effective medications to cure the menstrual disorders. For fertility issues, your gynecologist recommends you to visit a fertility specialist.

2. Pregnancy Complications:

  • There are several birth complexities associated with getting pregnant in 40s such as a cesarean section, low birth weight of the baby, awkward position of the baby and premature childbirth.
  • In the 40s, the eggs are likely to develop a certain chromosomal problem that leads to miscarriage and low birth weight of the baby (2).

protip_icon Research finds
The risk of having a child with Down syndrome at age 45 increases to 1 in 30 compared to a risk of 1 in 365 at age 35 (9).

What Decreases Fertility With Increasing Age?

Research concludes that most females above 40 suffer from ovum related issues, which is the primary cause of infertility. With appropriate medical treatment and restoration of the ovarian cycle, the female reproductive organs in 40-year-olds become competent enough to bear a healthy pregnancy. Additionally, the hormonal secretion declines in women in their 40s. The normal ovulation process substantially decreases, and the factor decreases the fertility rate in older women.

Useful Tips To Increase Your Success Rate Of Getting Pregnant At 40 Years Old

By making some lifestyle changes, you can increase your success rate of getting pregnant in the 40s. Follow the helpful tips to prepare yourself for pregnancy at or after the age of 40:

1. Consult An Experienced Gynecologist:

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  • It is better to remain in touch with an experienced gynecologist, who performs all the requisite medical tests to diagnose your fertility conditions.
  • The doctor guides you through right treatments and methods, which increases your chances of conceiving in the 40s.
  • The medical practitioner performs a routine examination of your body that usually consists of a Pap smear and pelvic exam. The check-up takes around 15-20 minutes.
  • Ask your doctor about how to elevate your chances of conceiving naturally. Always have an open conversation with the doctor and inform him about your past medical history and your current lifestyle.
  • Discuss with the doctor if you can continue taking any medications while you are trying to conceive. If the doctor restricts you from taking any particular medicines or herbal supplements, do follow his advice properly.
  • Get the immunizations as suggested by your doctor. The doctor performs a close health scrutiny and recommends taking vaccination for harmful diseases such as rubella and chickenpox.

2. Deal With Existing Health Problems:

  • If you had any complex health problem, you need to treat those conditions before pregnancy.
  • If you are overweight, try to lose your extra pounds by eating nutritious foods and practicing regular exercises.
  • Get effective medication for any chronic health ailments such as high blood pressure or thyroid diseases.
  • Sexually transmitted infections decrease your chances of conception. So inform your doctor about your health discomforts and get effective treatment for the sexually transmitted infections and diseases immediately.
  • If you are already taking any medication for a chronic condition, including hypothyroidism, your doctor suggests you to go through a blood test before trying o conceive. If the test indicates that the level is under control, you are safe to conceive. However, you will have to undergo periodic testing, and your doctor changes the dosage of medications over time.
  • The existence of any health complexities decreases your ability to conceive naturally. Hence, it is important to inform the doctor about all your health diseases and complexities in advance. The doctor suggests suitable medications to treat the health disorders.

3. Follow A Healthy Regime:

  • If you are willing to increase your fertility rate, it is important to make lifestyle changes and stay positive about life.
  • Try to give up the habits of smoking or taking alcohols, as they adversely degrade the fertility rate.
  • To reduce excess stress, you can try practicing healthy exercises including yoga, cycling, swimming, jogging and even walking in your daily regime.
  • Get plenty of sleep, to keep you rejuvenated. Sufficient rest eliminates harmful toxins from your body and helps you to live a stress-free life.
  • Make requisite changes in your dietary plan and include nutritious foods in your diet. You can include fresh vegetables, whole grains, and folate-rich foods like dark leafy veggies, legumes and citrus fruits in your diet. To increase protein intake add eggs, dairy products, fish and lean meats (3).

4. Consider Fertility Treatments:

  • It becomes difficult to conceive naturally after 40, so you may need fertility treatments to increase your success rate. especially if you are beyond your peak reproductive age. Talk to your doctor about some effective fertility-enhancing drugs or treatment options.
  • Your doctor may suggest an intake of oral medications such as clomiphene or clomiphene citrate. These medications increase the rate of ovulation and success rate for conception. However, research concludes that fertility-enhancing medications elevate the chance of multiple pregnancies.
  • The doctor may recommend you to take hormonal injections of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)iXA hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy to sustain the pregnancy and nourish the fertilized egg. to boost your fertility rate. The rate of multiple births is usually higher with such treatments.
  • If your reproductive system is damaged, and it interferes with the process of conceiving the doctor may suggest a surgical procedure. The surgery helps to rectify the issue and boosts your chance of conception (4).
protip_icon Point to consider
There is about an 11% success rate for in vitro fertilization (IVF) for women aged 40 to 42 years when no donor gametes have been used (10).

5. Maintain A Healthy Body Weight:

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  • Obesity is one of the leading factors to impose infertility and a higher BMI. The significant alterations in the normal ovulation rate usually occur due to higher BMI.
  • Avoid vigorous dieting or starvation, as high nutritional deficiencies greatly hampers the secretion of endocrine hormones. Practice healthy exercises to lose your extra pounds.
  • Avoid intake of hormonal supplements for weight loss. Such supplements harshly affect the secretion of the follicle-stimulating hormone, which lowers the fertility rate.
  • Perform regular fertility enhancing yoga postures that promote effective blood flow into your female reproductive organs.

6. Consider Donor Eggs:

  • At this age, your ability to conceive naturally is quite low. That’s why it is a great idea to consider donor eggs if you want to conceive.
  • Your chances of getting pregnant with viable donor eggs are pretty high.
  • You can also opt for surrogacy and choose a healthy woman to carry your baby for you. These options are becoming popular these days, and it never hurts if your partner supports your decision (5).
protip_icon Quick fact
Women are increasingly opting for cryopreserving or freezing their eggs when young to conceive at a later age. Women aged 40 may also freeze their eggs (11).

Home Remedies To Increase Your Success Rate Of Getting Pregnant In The 40s

Here are some home remedies that may help to elevate your chances of getting pregnant in your 40s:

  • It is very important to keep a close track of you menstrual cycle and remain acknowledged about your fertile days. The fertile period lies on the 14th day of your menstrual cycle and for the next ten days.

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  • Monitor and record your basal body temperature and practice frequent intercourse at or around the time of ovulation. A slight increase of your body temperature indicates that you are successfully ovulating, and it is the best time for sexual intercourse.
  • Use an ovulation predictor kit that indicates the successful ovulation days and increases your chances of conception.
  • Monitor the substantial changes in your cervical secretion. It enables you to understand whether the embryo successfully implants in the uterus or not.
  • Avoid performing strenuous physical activities especially running, riding stairs and lifting heavy weights during the course.
  • Performing sexual intercourse in different positions elevates your chances of pregnancy at 40.The doggy position is mostly preferred for baby making as the sperms deeply penetrate.
  • Experts suggest that soft massaging of the uterus helps in promoting blood supply and enhances healthy development of uterine tissue.
  • Fertility cleansing helps your body to get rid of toxic wastes that your body releases during the normal metabolic process. Elimination of toxic wastes increases your chances of conception.

Herbal Remedies To Boost Fertility In The 40s

Healthy nourishing fertility supplements such as extract of fresh garlic, vitamin C, and grapefruit juice helps in boosting the fertility rate in your 40s. The herbal remedies impose lesser side effects in your body as compared to pharmacological agents. Most of the herbal products promotes effective blood supply to your reproductive organs, stabilize the secretion of vital fertility hormones and maintains the normal pH balance of the female genital tract.

Here are few effective herbal remedies that help you to conceive naturally in the 40s:

  • Saw Palmetto: The useful over the counter herb is usually available in the form of capsules. It promotes healthy fertility by treating menstrual irregularities.
  • False Unicorn: Is is an ancient Native American herb that effectively treats the female as well as treat infertility issues. The herb is beneficial for women with a history of recurrent miscarriages.
  • Red Clover: The herbal supplement helps to enhance the female fertility rate naturally. The herb helps to treat hormonal irregularities, detoxifies your blood and delivers vital vitamins to your body.
  • Maca: The herb signifies its action by improving the sex drive and effective management of female complexities like the polycystic ovarian disease.
  • Vitex: It is one of the popular herbal remedies that helps to treat menstrual irregularities, manage ovarian cysts and regulates ovulatory cycles.

Important Things To Remember

  • Drink plenty of water as it helps to keep your tissues hydrated and healthy. Water easily keeps your appetite full, decrease your food cravings and prevent you from gaining excess weight. The hormone secretion increases and your chances to conceive boosts naturally.
  • Increase your intake of anti-oxidants in your diet. The effective elements neutralize or kill free radicals and protect your eggs from any damages or chromosomal complexities.
  • Stress, anxiety and worry degrade the production of healthy female reproductive hormones and restrict proper blood supply to your reproductive organs. Try to lead a stress-free life, practice yoga or meditation to improve your chances of getting pregnant at 40 naturally and to ensure a safe delivery.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many eggs does a woman have at 40?

The number of eggs present in women’s ovaries at a given time is unknown; however, most women experience a significant reduction in their fertility when they are around 37. During menopause, almost no eggs remain in the ovaries (6).

2. How common is pregnancy after 40?

The number of women getting pregnant after 40 has almost doubled since 1990. Data show that the conception rate of women aged 40 and above has increased by 2.6% between 2016 and 2017. Around 29,000 women were reported to have conceived in 2017 (7).

3. Is it necessary to have more frequent prenatal check-ups at 40?

Advanced maternal age is associated with an increased risk of certain complications, including gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Therefore, women aged 40 or above may require more frequent prenatal check-ups to closely monitor their health and the progress of the pregnancy (12).

It is essential to know the risks and benefits of planning a pregnancy or getting pregnant at 40. A woman’s fertility declines with age since there are fewer eggs. There is also an increased risk of abnormal egg, miscarriage, and congenital difficulties with advanced maternal age. Having the correct information can help you make decisions and increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy in your 40s. Financial stability and maturity are advantages of late pregnancy and motherhood, and you may hire assistance and get good prenatal and neonatal care. Although it is possible to manage with medications, there is an increased risk of pregnancy complications in the 40s.

Infographic: Facts On Conceiving In Your 40s

Conceiving can become more challenging as you grow older, and it may take longer to get pregnant. To be well-informed on this subject at a glance, go through the infographic, which explains some facts regarding getting pregnant in your 40s.

facts on conceiving in your 40s (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Takeaways

  • Fertility decreases with age, and a woman’s eggs may contain an abnormal number of chromosomes by the age of 40.
  • The benefits of having a baby after 40 include better financial stability and the ability to make mature and wise decisions.
  • Pregnancy after 40 increases the risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, and placenta previa.
  • To improve fertility in the 40s, one should follow a healthy lifestyle, manage pre-existing health conditions, and seek advice from a reputable gynecologist.

With changing times women are choosing to have children at a later stage in life. Watch this informative video so that you have a clear idea of what to expect with fertility in your forties.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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