Fascinating Facts About Pregnancy at 40

40-year-old woman smiling at a pregnancy test

Pregnancy at 40 is becoming more common as women wait to have their children later in life due to education and career goals.

Reproductive Lifespan

Both males and females have a reproductive lifespan. As we get older, our fertility goes down. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, while men continue to produce new sperm each day. A man's reproductive lifespan can last into his 60s or 70s, but his sperm may not be as healthy as it was when he was younger. Females stop releasing eggs altogether when they go through menopause, but even before this time the amount of eggs she has decreases and the health of the eggs may diminish as well. Menopause (the cessation of menstruation) occurs between the ages of 42 and 58. Fertility in women drops after the age of 35 and continues to drop further after the age of 40.

Statistics about Pregnancy at 40

It is possible for a woman of 40 to become pregnant with her own eggs, but her chances of an unassisted conception have diminished considerably compared to when she was in her 20s. Each month when she menstruates, an egg is released but by the time she is 40, she has very few eggs, so the chances of conceiving are lower. Consider these statistics:

  • In your 30s, you have approximately 75 percent chance of conceiving.
  • At age 40, you have a 25 percent chance of conceiving.
  • At age 43, your chance of conceiving decreases to approximately 2 percent.
  • Women over the age of 40 are 50 percent more like to have a cesarean birth.
  • There is a 7 percent higher chance of developing gestational diabetes after 40.
  • Miscarriage rates go up to 38 percent.
  • At age 40, your chance of producing a child with Down syndrome is 1 in 82

Egg Donors

Pregnancy at 40 becomes even more of a possibility when a woman uses the eggs of another woman. Women are more likely to experience pregnancy at 40 with a donor egg. In this situation, the woman will undergo in vitro fertilization with the healthy young eggs of another woman. Donor eggs are donated by women in their 20s to a fertility clinic after undergoing physical and psychological testing.

Egg Freezing

Females are born with approximately 300,000 eggs. Each year, from the start of menstruation you lose about 13,000 eggs a year. If you lose 13,000 eggs a year beginning in your early teens, you will have less than 25,000 eggs by the time you are 40. If you plan in advance, you can have your eggs extracted while you are young and healthy to freeze them for later use. This is called egg banking. When you are ready to become pregnant, you will undergo in vitro fertilization with your own eggs. This procedure will become more popular as women are waiting longer to have children.

Carrying the Baby to Term

Pregnancy at 40 is a very real possibility, either with your own eggs or donor eggs. Pregnancy is a physically and mentally taxing condition, but plenty of women in their 40s have had healthy pregnancies. These tips will help you have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth:

  • See a doctor right away
  • Take prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep
  • Exercise
  • Consider all of the tests the doctor recommends

No Better Time

Many women feel more emotionally and financially stable in their 40s. Since the baby will have been such a long waited for blessing, she can't help but vow to be the best mom possible. The baby will definitely benefit from the mom's life experience and patience.

Fascinating Facts About Pregnancy at 40