Pregnancy after the age of 35 means that you will have to take greater care of yourself, and there is more risk involved.

It also means that your biological clock is no more on your side, and it will simply take longer for you to get pregnant. Once you have made up your mind, then it is important to note the following, which are likely to occur:

• Longer time to get pregnant. You’re born with a limited number of eggs. And this coupled with the fact that the quantity and quality of your eggs decreases at this time, fertilisation may not occur easily.

• Multiple pregnancies very likely. The chance of twining increases with age. The increased use of stimulatory drugs, and the use of assisted reproductive technologies increases such chances.

• You’re more likely to develop gestational diabetes. This incidence increases with age. Therefore, there is a need for tight control of blood sugar through diet and physical activity and necessary medication to keep the blood sugar levels under control. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause a baby to grow significantly larger than average — which increases the risk of injuries during delivery.

• Increased risk of Hypertension in pregnancy.  High blood pressure that develops during pregnancy is more common in older women. Therefore, there is a need for close monitoring of blood pressure and your baby’s growth and development. .The implication is that, you will be on medication, and an early elective section for delivery is advised, to avoid complications..

• Low birth weight and premature birth. Babies born too early usually have medical problems.

• Elective caesarian section is unavoidable : Because of the risk of such a pregnancy, there is usually increased conditions  such as placenta previa , when the placenta blocks the cervix.

• Chromosomal abnormalities :  Babies with Down’s syndrome is more common   with older mothers.

• Higher risks of pregnancy loss:  The risk of pregnancy loss by miscarriage and stillbirth is higher as you get older. This is  due to pre-existing medical conditions or fetal chromosomal abnormalities. It is therefore important that there is close monitoring of your babies weight towards the end of the pregnancy.

Age is the most single important variable affecting the outcome in assisted reproduction. This effect is shown in many ways, including the pattern of ovarian response to superovulation, which  is during the drug stimulation for the procedure, reduced implantation efficiency, and increase in the rate of spontaneous abortion.

The incidence of fertility is evolving because women are getting more involved in their profession, and joining the work force. Therefore, they delay getting married and bearing children.  This has been assisted further, with the introduction of contraception, and has led to the importance of maternal age in fertility.

FECUNDITY – This is the ability to get pregnant, which decreases with age.  Attempting to get pregnant at 40 is not as quick as when you are 25. The older you get, fecundity reduces, and spontaneous miscarriage rate increases. This has led to the increased importance of maternal age for modern fertility.
Many  women now start a family when they are in their mid 30’s or older, with many having their first baby after 35, and most still have healthy pregnancies., and healthy babies.

Age affects fertility
This usually sets in after 30. It takes longer for you to get pregnant after this age.  Women who are over the age of 35 , ovulate less frequently, and certain condition are associated with this age, these include:

• Endometriosis, the attachment of tissues attached to the ovaries or fallopian tubes.

• Blocked tubes , maybe from past infections

• Fibroids, non cancerous growths in the womb.

A woman who is over this age, and has tried to conceive over six months, should see her gynaecologist, for specialist consultation.
Also, women at this age are more likely to have multiple births, as the chances of having multiple births increases at this age, in those undergoing treatment.

Advanced maternal age results in reduced fertility, and ovarian reserved. There is also reduced rate of sexual intercourse with age, even though it does not fully account for reduced fertility.

Women 31 to 35 have cumulative pregnancy rate of 62%
36 to 40, have 54% pregnancy rate.
The number and quality of oocytes [eggs ] , decreases with age.
At the age of 37 – 38, there is an acceleration of folicullar loss, and this invariably affects the quality of the good eggs produced.

AGE AND IVF– Older women have poorer results with IVF. This is mostly because the hormone required for quantity and quality of eggs produced for retrieval, oestradiol , decreases  steadily with age. And this  results in the reduction from  60% in  30 or below, to a mere 5.2% in women 44 and above.
There is also a decline in embryo implantation rate from 33.5% in younger women to 5.9 % in older women.

The risk of birth defects also increases with maternal age. They are prone to having babies with abnormal birth defects resulting from chromosomal abnormalities. These children have varying degrees of mental retardation and birth defects,
• At age 25, 1 in 1250
• At age 30, 1 in 1000
• At age 35, 1 in 400
•  At age 40, 1 in 100,
• At age 45, 1 in 30,
• At 49, 1 in 10.

Pre-existing health condition can also affect pregnancy, and you must consult your doctor before attempting to conceive.
Some complications in over 35’s include
Gestational diabetes, High Blood pressure, placentas problems premature births, still births.
Despite all these cautions, women with advanced maternal age, still have good chances of getting pregnant and having normal babies, with proper specialist guidance and supervision, backed up with modern science. The risks listed out above are calculated by your specialist and caution taken.

It is important to know that your mental outlook at your situation, including your age, is more important than your actual age.
If you want to get pregnant at an advanced age, be mentally prepared to carry it through.

How to prepare
•    Have a preconceptual check up
•    Take natural prenatal vitamins supplements
•    Start at a healthy weight
•    Do not smoke, drink
•    Do not use drugs not prescribed
•    Avoid X-rays, dental works with harmful agents
•    Eat plenty fruits and vegetables
•    Take anti oxidants like vitamin
A, C, E Pantothenic Acid, Zinc, and selenium
• Consume only purified water
• Do not eat undercooked foods, avoid animal litter
• Do not eat fish high in essential fatty acids, like tuna, shark, mackerel seafood, as they have high mercury content.
• Be tested for Rubella [ German measles]
• Relax, and be happy.

The use of donated oocytes {eggs} , by a younger person, has also helped in getting older women, to get pregnant.
Surrogacy, of various forms could also be considered.

Testosterone patch has recently helped with pregnancy for women in advanced age. This treatment works very well with women undergoing IVF treatment. This hormones stimulates the ovaries responsiveness to FSH , which is very important in the process of getting pregnant. It works best with women with low follicular response.  While on this therapy, your specialist should also look out for the possible side effects.

In all of these,  over 35’s and 40’s can rejoice, there is joy in getting pregnant at an older age, and the years lost can be made up for, by considering various option available for you  with your fertility specialist.


  1. This is an interesting article really. I actually don’t see age 40 as too old. I’ll see age 50 as one, because there has been a large number of women who give birth at that age these days. it dangerous, but what would they do, if it’s the only opportunity that has presented itself.

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