First pregnancy after 35 years: what you need to know before you decide to conceive
The decline in female reproductive function is a gradual process. If at the age of 19 to 26 years, the chance of getting pregnant on the most fertile day is more than 50%, then from 27 to 35 years, the probability of conception decreases by 10%. After 35, the chances of pregnancy are about 30% and continue to steadily decrease until the woman eventually reaches menopause. What to do when the biological clock is running out, and the long-awaited pregnancy does not come.
Despite statistics, female reproductive function is based not so much on age, but on the ” ovulatory reserve” or, as it is also called, “ovarian reserve”. This collective term describes the quantity and quality of eggs that are available to a woman for ovulation and fertilization.
Every woman is already born with a certain supply of eggs. According to the American College of obstetrics and gynecology, at the time of birth, a woman has about 2 million eggs in her ovaries, of which only 300 – 500 thousand live to the first menstruation. And only about 400 of these eggs will enter the ovulatory reserve of a woman and will be spent throughout the entire reproductive cycle.
After 35, the number of viable eggs begins to rapidly decrease, significantly reducing the frequency of conception, calculated for one menstrual cycle. This process can also be affected by long-term use of ovulation-suppressing contraceptives, as well as a number of female diseases, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome.
5 steps to conception
Following these simple rules will help increase the chances of conceiving healthy offspring.
Full medical examination
Before you start planning a pregnancy, go through a full medical examination and make an appointment with a gynecologist. They will make individual recommendations for early conception based on your age, medical history, and physical fitness.
Women aged 35-40 years of age are recommended by the American community of reproductive medicine to seek help from infertility specialists if the desired pregnancy does not occur after 6 months of unsuccessful attempts to conceive.
Individual calculation of ovulation
Many women miss their chance to conceive by ineffectively using the so-called fertility window, which opens 5 days before ovulation and closes on the day of the onset of this very ovulation.
Ideally, with a classic 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation should occur exactly 2 weeks before the expected day of the beginning of menstruation. However, this happens in less than 30% of cases. As a result, when planning conception around the expected date of ovulation, many women in the old way concentrate only on the window from the 10th to the 17th day of the cycle, thereby missing the “real” ovulation and the real opportunity to get pregnant.
Determining the ovulatory cycle
Given that the menstrual cycle becomes less regular with age, it becomes much more difficult to predict fertile days after 35.
However, you can re-create your ovulatory cycle schedule using a monthly table, where you need to enter the results of regular basal temperature measurements, as well as observations of the cervical mucus released from the cervix during ovulation.
Contact your gynecologist if you have reason to believe that ovulation is not always regular or absent, or if the luteal phase (the period between ovulation and the first day of menstruation) is shorter than 10 days. These symptoms may be signs of a more serious disease that prevents conception.
Absence of stress
There are many examples when the long-awaited conception occurs after a desperate couple gives up all attempts to get pregnant and decides to live for their own pleasure or adopt a child. Many people think this is a miracle and a gift from above, but there is a fairly scientific explanation for such stories.
According to one study, women with high levels of alpha-amylase, a substance found in saliva that is a biomarker of chronic stress and decreased fertility, had a 12% lower ability to conceive during six menstrual cycles than women with low levels of alpha-amylase.
For another study, researchers collected saliva samples to analyze stress hormones in women who tried to get pregnant, observing them over the next 12 months. As a result, women with the highest levels of alpha-amylase took an average of 29% longer to conceive than women with the lowest levels of this substance.
Calm, only calm
While waiting for the cherished two stripes, try to remain optimistic and mentally balanced, since the physiological consequences of stress can not only lead to a violation of the menstrual cycle, but also cause difficulties with conception.
A randomized controlled study conducted among women undergoing IVF showed that those who participated in a stress management program and regularly engaged in relaxation, were significantly more likely to become pregnant and carry a child, than those who refused to participate in such activities.