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Natural Pregnancy at 40 Is Not Impossible

Enjoying the sunshine with my 8-month old Mira

Enjoying the sunshine with my 8-month old Mira

Women who get pregnant in their 40s can have a whole range of different experiences in conceiving, pregnancy, and raising their children like women who conceive in their 20s or 30s.

I was 39 when I got pregnant and 40 when I had my baby. She is my first and only child. Getting pregnant took a little longer than we had expected. It was 20 months. As I was after 35 and approaching 40, time was critical, so after trying for six months unsuccessfully we turned to a gynaecologist.

He was very kind at first and he advised us we should keep trying. Then he noticed my birth year on my registration form, and his mood dramatically changed suddenly. He said we shouldn’t have tried naturally at my age; we should have gone to a fertility clinic to have one of the assisted reproductive procedures.

I was down in the mouth. I can’t say how disappointed I was. I felt the only piece of information he had stuck was my age. My face could tell the truth about my feelings because the doctor tried to improve this situation complimenting “Oh, sorry, I didn’t think, you are almost 40, you look like a 25-year-old woman.”

Yes, of course, I was aware of the ticking of the biological clock and my advanced maternal age otherwise we wouldn’t have turned to a doctor after six months of unsuccessful trying but the doctor’s judgement about why we started with natural trying was devastating for me.

I wanted to conceive naturally, and I believed that it could succeed. Some months later we visited a fertility clinic and got some scans, blood tests, and genetic DNA tests done. These tests were a huge help for us to change our lifestyle towards an even healthier one but finally, our dream came true, and our little miracle was conceived naturally so I can say natural pregnancy at 40 is not impossible. I need to correct myself: I was two months before my 40th birthday when our Mira was conceived but I was 40 when she was born.

I must emphasize that I am not a medical professional, and I don’t want to give some advice to anybody who is in the same boat. I just would like to share our experiences and success with you highlighting the most important changes in our lifestyle.

Insulin Resistance

One of the most important things that turned out during the investigations was that I had slight insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can make it difficult to get pregnant. I wasn’t surprised by it because I loved eating and baking fancy cakes. I was lucky as I wasn’t overweight, but my body wasn’t so happy from these fancy cakes.

The endocrinologist suggested that I should start a 160-gram low-carb diet and go to a dietitian who can give me advice about this diet. Moreover, he advised me on taking Inositol powder and doing regular exercise.

So, I needed to change my whole cooking habits and learn to prepare food with no sugar and count the carbohydrate strictly. Because this consumed a lot of time and energy, I told my husband that he must join me in this diet, or he must prepare his own meal. Needless to say, he chose the first version.

Some months later I saw a Youtube video by a famous Hungarian endocrinologist who said men’s insulin resistance can also be an obstacle in conceiving but unfortunately most doctors focus on women’s investigation so the couple can waste a lot of time and they can undertake some IVF procedures unnecessarily.

I showed this video to my husband who also wanted to get an insulin resistance test done as soon as possible. He did it and it turned out his situation is much more severe, and this examination occurred after a 6-month low-carb diet. So, before that, this could be even worse. The doctor prescribed Metformin for him which lowers your blood sugar levels by improving the way your body handles insulin.

Some days later I did a positive pregnancy test, but my husband continued taking medication and started to attain numerous information about insulin resistance and diabetics. He always says our little Mira is not just the biggest miracle in our life, but she is his lifesaver because his diabetics couldn’t have turned out in time if she had been conceived quickly. He is very grateful for her.

MTHFR mutation

Another thing that turned out during my own fertility journey was that I had an MTHFR gene mutation. Having the MTHFR gene mutation might cause folate deficiency and elevated homocysteine, luckily, I didn’t have the second one, and neither is good for pregnancy.

This MTHFR gene mutation can be linked to fertility issues, including miscarriages, though you can treat it with diet, lifestyle, and supplementation.

We have got two MTHFR genes, one inherited from our mother and one from our father. Mutations can occur in one or both MTHFR genes. Unfortunately, I inherited mutations from both parents which are more severe than when you just inherit from one of your parents.

Also, it turned out that my husband has got this MTHFR genetic mutation too, but he is luckier than me because he inherited it just from one of his parents. However, having the MTHFR mutation in males is linked to poor sperm health, so it is important to have both partners tested for MTHFR.

Moreover, this mutation increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and blood clots. Sadly, in my family, there are a lot of cardiovascular problems like stroke, high blood pressure, and vasoconstriction. So, this was the second thing that turned out during the fertility journey that also warned us to take folate supplements to avoid these diseases in our life.

In addition to this, the endocrinologist also advised me to inject myself with Clexane during my whole pregnancy to avoid miscarriages. Clexane injection is a blood thinning injection that stops blood clots from forming in your blood.

AVIVA METHOD

I also need to mention Aviva method which, I reckon, played a very important part in our fertility success. I often called our Mira an Aviva baby, because she was conceived one and a half months later when I started to do Aviva method exercises.

I suppose that all the changes we did to have our little miracle contributed to our success, but I think Aviva method was especially important in it.

It is hard to write in nutshell about this wonderful exercise technique that we can thank Aviva Steiner for. She was born in Budapest, as the daughter of leading sports parents of Hungary. She became a professional dancer, then she left her ballerina career and started a Physical Education teacher career in Jerusalem. She moved out some movements that would give women control over activities in the uterus: menstruation, conception, and birth control.

The Aviva Method exercise technique is quite simple to do at home, after initial guidance. This technique focuses on the pelvic area (upper hips and lower abdomen), blood flow and local heat are increased by dilating local blood vessels and massaging the internal organs, thereby revitalises the reproductive organs.

My husband also started to do Aviva Method exercise technique. He joined me just at the weekends because he worked in London, and he needed to get up early and arrived home late on weekdays.

Aviva Method exercises are also good for men. They can control their reproductive health by improving their sperm count, erectile functioning, and managing prostate health naturally.

CONCLUSION

Altogether I can say getting pregnant naturally at an advanced maternal age is not impossible, but we need to be conscious and lead a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, there are numerous advantages to waiting to conceive. We are wiser and mentally tougher than at our younger age due to having more life experience. In my opinion, individual health and constitution are more important to having a healthy pregnancy than age. We must take what’s reported in the media and even medical studies with a pinch of salt. You can be a great parent at any age.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience of conceiving naturally and congratulations on persevering with your efforts to be as healthy as possible, to be able to conceive naturally. I had no idea that insulin resistance plays such an important role in being able to conceive. And that goes for the man, as well as the women.

    Using the Aviva method of exercising certainly sounds as if it played a big part in your natural conception of Mira. I had my first son in my thirties, and it took me nearly three years to conceive naturally. This post would have helped me tremendously at the time. 

    I have bookmarked this page and will be sharing with those that are struggling to conceive naturally. And I am sure this would be very helpful for younger women as well. 

    1. Thank you for your comment and your kind words.

      I am delighted to hear that I can help other women with their natural conceiving by sharing my own fertility journey experience.

      I also plan to write each of these things in more detail in separate articles later. 

      Thank you for sharing my page with other women struggling to conceive naturally. It would be nice if they could avoid IVF and other assisted reproductive procedures because they are a massive burden on the female body.

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