Making A Midlife Baby

Unless you're a high-school virgin having sex for the first time under the school bleachers with a boy who claims he loves you but will never acknowledge you again after this encounter, getting knocked up can be an enormous challenge. Conception can be even more difficult in your 40s, but it's far from impossible.

Older prenant woman

Modern choices

Generations ago, when Mother Nature had her way, girls started popping out babies in their teens and continued to do so until they reached their 40s. That's when either their aging reproductive organs would make conception difficult or they'd die of a toenail infection that went horribly awry. With the advent of birth control and antibiotics, however, women live much longer and can choose to delay having children for decades.

The aging paradox

Unfortunately, Mother Nature hasn't had time to adapt to these changes, so a woman in her 40s faces additional challenges that can make conception difficult. For one, her cycle can be more irregular, which means ovulation is more unpredictable. Also, her eggs are less viable, which leads to more miscarriages and chromosomal abnormalities. She's had more time to develop conditions such as cysts, endometriosis and fibroids that can add even more obstacles to the already overwhelming challenge.

The midlifer's conception plan

That doesn't mean that a woman in her 40s can't conceive and give birth to a beautiful baby. It just means she has to fight Mother Nature as she does with other aging dilemmas, such as covering her stubborn grays and smoothing out her wrinkles with Botox. On that note, here are ways to give Ms. Nature a run for her money so that you'll be swaddling your baby in no time:

  1. See a fertility specialist as soon as you're ready to conceive. That way, you'll know where you stand in terms of your overall reproductive health and your fertility level. Your partner should be checked out as well. While you're there, learn about the available treatments, such as hormone shots, artificial insemination and IVF, so you can make an informed decision if need be.
  2. Know when you ovulate. A woman older than 40 can have more hormone fluxes, which can lead to an irregular cycle. Get an ovulator predictor kit so you can be aware of your fertile days.
  3. Keep a positive attitude and don't focus on the negatives. For instance, while you may have an irregular cycle, you're likely to release more than one egg each month, doubling your chances of conception. The odds of miscarriage and chromosomal problems are higher than when you were younger, but the odds of everything going right are still higher than anything going wrong.

More about fertility

Improve your fertility odds with the preconception diet
When should you see a fertility specialist?
What are the early signs of pregnancy?

Tags: midlife

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