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6 things to remember if you’re trying to conceive after 35
I was the first of many of my friends to do a lot of the things that officially transition one into adulthood. I got married before most of them and I had kids before most of them. And for the record, I didn’t do either that early: 30 is when he put a ring on it. 32 and 34 when my buns popped out of the oven. More and more women are waiting, as our society clearly shows. They’re not settling until they find the right partner no matter their age and are waiting until their careers and finances are where they want them to be before becoming parents. There’s nothing wrong with that. I one hundred percent support my friends who are in this boat. But recently I’ve had several tell me that they are ready. Ready to give it a go. So exciting! But they are 35 and 36 and older. And while that is not ‘old’ or mean that it won’t happen for them, it certainly changes some things.
When they share what they are doing and ask me for my insight, I am cautious. Not interested in adding in another layer of stress or anxiety to what can already be a crazy time, but I do feel it’s my duty to tell them everything that worked and didn’t for me. To be blunt, time is not on our side as women, especially after 35. It just isn’t. My struggles to conceive in my early thirties have shaped how I think about the whole getting pregnant journey and I feel like I owe it to them to honestly say what I think they should be doing to make their ‘tries’ really count. It’s not any secret that it gets harder but definitely not impossible as we age, so if you’re ready to try and especially if you’re over 35, keep these 6 tips in mind to boost your chances even more.
And best of luck if you’re trying no matter the age!
1) 35 doesn’t mean it’s impossible
Remember that. It’s not impossible, it just may be a little harder and take a little longer. So breathe. So many women conceive after 35 – be inspired by this fact. If you’re stressing, try to keep your worries at bay. I know easier said than to put into actual practice. I know. I was on that emotional roller coaster for well over a year. I get it. But there’s a strong indication even though it’s not research proven that stress reducing activities like yoga, stretching, meditation can help. So put those into practice instead, center yourself and leave your worrying for something (or even better, nothing) else.
2) Make an appointment with the gynecologist
I wanted to make this number one, even though these aren’t in any specific order. Because truthfully, this ends up being the first and last thing I end up saying when I talk to my older friends. Make an appointment and discuss it all – your age, your health history, current health, menstrual cycle, cramps, previous pregnancies, terminations and any other concerns or questions. Put it all out there. This assessment gives your doctor a better picture and opportunity to provide the best care and plan for you. The doctor may refer you to get bloodwork done such as a hormone panel, just to measure the levels of reproductive hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, FSH and LH…hormones that are necessary in the right levels to get pregnant and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
While I would advise you to go and see your gynecologist before you do anything else, there is another thing you can do. If you, for whatever reason, are unable to see your gynecologist straight away in person, you can now chat with Obgyn through the internet, and get valuable medical advice without even having to leave your house. And yes, while this is amazing, I can guarantee you that, if you’re over 35 and looking to have a child, the online gynecologist is giving you the same advice as I am: see a doctor in person.
3) Chart your cycle and know when you’re ovulating
There’s plain paper and a pen that will get the job done and then there are all types of apps to help you with this too. If that doesn’t work, then get an ovulation kit. I prefer the digital ones the most – but there all different price ranges. The bottom line is to record your monthly cycle over a few months and find out when you are most likely ovulating. Intercourse is key during ovulation and on your most fertile days. Another thing that is key is to not use the bathroom or shower afterwards. Don’t get up for at least 20 minutes!
4) Be healthy
It’s pretty logical that if you’re in good health = exercise +eat a nutritional well balanced diet + don’t have other medical issues, you have a remarkably higher chance at getting pregnant no matter your age. This is even more important that older you are. If you’re smoking or indulging in more than a couple of glasses of vino a night, then stop. Quit or limit the caffeine too, without making yourself crazy of course. Of course other recreational drugs are an absolute no as well. The one thing to add in though is a prenatal vitamin to your daily routine.
5) Consider alternative treatments like acupuncture
I received acupuncture treatments during both of my pregnancies. And I am a believer. Chai Momma Puja wrote an entire post on it so I’m not going into huge detail here. But I will say that there is a lot of science behind this Eastern medicine and there are treatments especially for fertility that you can do in conjunction with naturally trying that can help optimize chance of conceiving. Plus it is not so invasive as other treatments. If you’re interested as least have a consultation to see if it’s something you are willing to try.
6) See a specialist
Just to be very clear, I’m not advising anyone to rush to see a Fertility Doctor or a reproductive endocrinologist right away. It can honestly add even more stress. But I do think knowledge is power and avoiding issues just wastes time. This way, you’ll be able to get the right advice from people who know what they are talking about. When you are a certain age – 35 or over – and let’s say you’ve been trying for 6 months or more, you may want to talk to your gynecologist to get a referral to see a specialist. They can provide you with other options, more testing, more information to help you figure out what action to take next so that you’re not wasting precious time.