If you want to have a baby, you may have had age 35 listed as a cutoff. While it’s true that fertility declines in your mid-30s and that may make conceiving a baby more challenging, it’s still possible.
However, there are also some additional risks you may face if you get pregnant after age 35. That’s why it’s important to have your doctor involved in your plans. Our OB/GYN, Dr. Alan Patterson, explains what you need to know about getting pregnant in your late 30s and beyond.
Why conception after age 35 is more difficult
By the time you’re in your mid 30 s, your fertility is naturally beginning to decline. You’re born with all the eggs that you’ll ever have in your lifetime, and that number diminishes with every cycle. Quite simply, you have fewer eggs left in your at 35 than you did 10 years earlier. Male sperm count and quality also declines with age.
But with today’s changing career landscape, many women aren’t ready to get pregnant in their 20s, even if it’s more biologically possible then. That’s okay: You can still get pregnant after age 35.
However, you may also face additional issues, such as fibroids or endometriosis, that can make conception more difficult. The quality of your eggs also declines, which may mean a higher risk of birth defects. You need careful monitoring and some additional testing after age 35 to address this.
Having a baby after age 35
Many women over 35 years old find that it takes longer to get pregnant, so they opt for fertility treatment to maximize their chances of conceiving. If you’re 35 or older, the official advice is to seek fertility treatment if you don’t conceive within six months of trying, but you can certainly seek help before then.
Dr. Patterson starts with a round of tests for both you and your partner to assess the status of your fertility. If you’re still ovulating (releasing an egg) but not regularly, he may put you on fertility drugs to increase the likelihood that you will ovulate.
If your partner has diminished sperm count or quality, Dr. Patterson may also recommend procedures such as intrauterine insemination, in which your partner’s sperm is inserted directly into your uterus to increase the odds of conception.
It’s generally true that getting pregnant after age 35 presents more risks to both you and the baby. That’s why you need to have Dr. Patterson monitor your efforts from preconception all the way through the pregnancy.
An important first step is to make a preconception appointment. During this time, Dr. Patterson takes a thorough health history and makes sure your health habits are the best they can be to improve your chances of conceiving.
Some of the risks women who are 35+ face during pregnancy are an increased incidence of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. These are manageable but you need careful monitoring of your pregnancy. You can also help to minimize their effects by following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
Women over 35 qualify to have the newer NIPT blood test which can be done as early as 10.5 weeks to make sure your baby has normal chromosomes and make sure NO Down Syndrome or other abnormalities, and you can also know the gender. Dr. Patterson's staff draws this test in the office and usually the results are back in 7 business days, so you know early on, in your pregnancy that your baby's genetic make up is normal.
If you’re over the age of 35 and you want to get pregnant, contact us to set up a preconception visit. Call our office in Coral Springs, Florida, today or request an appointment online.
1. We are still seeing obstetrics patients in our office to ensure that our pregnant patients are getting the prenatal care they need. If you are pregnant, please call us to book your appointment today. We are also seeing patients in our office for annual well-woman exams, as well as those who are having gynecological problems or emergencies.
2. Here's what we're doing to ensure the safety of our patients who come into the office for their appointments. We are:
- Ensuring that patients are not experiencing respiratory issues when they visit our office.
- Sanitizing all services on a regular basis.
- Wearing masks and gloves to reduce the probability of virus transmission.
- Washing our hands for 20 seconds after every interaction we have, inside and outside of the office.
Patients may not be accompanied by other people at their appointments.
3. We’re offering telemedicine appointments for the following conditions: yeast infections, UTIs, birth control consults, vaginitis (vaginal infections), hormone replacement therapy consults, premenopause, menopause, amenorrhea, and abnormal periods. Please call us to determine if your need for services qualifies for a telemedicine appointment.