While 1 in 4 people in their 20s and 30s will get pregnant in any one menstrual cycle, only 1 out of every 10 people will become pregnant in any one menstrual cycle by age 40.
Women at 40 have a 44% chance of pregnancy within 1 year. This is because as you get older, the number of eggs in your ovaries decline. With age, you are also at a higher risk for disorders that affect your fertility.
It is possible to get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby in your 40s. To prepare for a baby at 40, it’s important to consider the risks and benefits.Read also: 6 Facts You Didn’t Know About Sperm That Could Lead To ConceptionBy age 40, if you’re healthy, you have only a 5% chance of getting pregnant per menstrual cycle. At the same time, the likelihood of miscarriage climbs with your age. Even if you do get pregnant, your older eggs are more likely to have abnormal chromosomes, which may raise your chance of miscarrying your baby.The quality of your partner’s sperm also matters. As men age, their sperm tend to swim slower and begin to lose their shape. But sperm quality doesn’t drop steeply until after men enter their 60s.In people who can get pregnant, the peak reproductive years span the time between your late teens and late 20s. Your fertility will begin to go down around age 30. This process continues more quickly starting in your mid-30s. Once you reach 45, your fertility will usually be so low that a natural pregnancy is unlikely for most people.But some people may still have a “menopause baby.” This refers to a pregnancy and delivery that happens when you’re in perimenopause, the transition into menopause.The sperm-producing parent may also have a decline in fertility with age. While this isn’t as predictable, it could still affect your chances of pregnancy at 40.Other risks of pregnancy at 40 include complications that are more common at this age. Older women tend to have more health issues than younger women, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, fibroids, etc.
Pregnancies can also affect the health of your baby, even if you don’t have any health conditions. If you get pregnant at 40, you’ll have a higher risk of:A higher birth weight of your baby. One study found that the risk of macrosomia (or a higher birth weight of your baby) goes up with age.Placenta previa. This happens when your baby’s placenta either partly or completely covers your cervix, which is the exit area of your uterus. With this condition, you may bleed more while pregnant and during your delivery.Gestational diabetes. This is when you get diabetes for the first time while you’re pregnant. It causes high blood sugar that can affect your baby’s health and your pregnancy.Gestational hypertension. This is high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy. It’s different from preeclampsia, which is a blood pressure complication during pregnancy. Preeclampsia is also more common in older women even without hypertension.Miscarriage or stillbirth. One is more likely to have a miscarriage if one is older. At age 40, 27% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage compared to 16% for those 30 or younger.C-section. If you’re 40 or older, you’re more likely to have a C-section delivery than a vaginal delivery.Down syndrome. The risk of having a child with Down syndrome goes up as you age. At the age of 20, 1 in 1,480 children will be born with the condition. But at age 40, this risk goes up to 1 in 85. At age 45, your child’s risk is 1 in 35.Other chromosomal abnormalities are also more common.Read also: Conceiving In Your 20s: Facts You Need To Know To Help You Have A Healthy BabyNeed for a blood transfusion. This can help save your life in an emergency blood loss situation during pregnancy. But it comes with the risk of complications as well.While there are more health risks with pregnancy at 40, there are also some benefits to later births. You may:
Have a more established career that allows you to have more time to raise a child
Have a better financial status at an older age
Want to have a child with a partner you met later in life
Find that you’re more mature and ready to handle the responsibility of a child
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