Women who get pregnant in their 40s can have 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 advised us we should keep trying. Then he noticed my birth year on my registration form, and his mood suddenly changed. 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 I 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 would like to share our experiences and success with you highlighting the most critical changes in our lifestyle.
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 because I loved eating and baking fancy cakes. I was lucky as I wasn’t overweight, but my body wasn’t so happy with 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 to take Inositol powder and do 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 to join me in this diet or prepare his 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 could also be an obstacle in conceiving. Still, 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 wanted to get an insulin resistance test done as soon as possible. He did it, and it turned out his situation was 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 diabetes. He always says our little Mira is not just the biggest miracle in our life, but she is his lifesaver because his diabetes couldn’t have turned out in time if she had been conceived quickly. He is very grateful for her.
Another thing that turned out during my fertility journey was that I had an MTHFR gene mutation. The MTHFR gene mutation might cause folate deficiency and elevated homocysteine; luckily, I didn’t have the second one, and neither is suitable 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 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 inherited from one of your parents.
Also, it turned out that my husband has this MTHFR genetic mutation too, but he is luckier than me because he inherited it from one of his parents. However, having the MTHFR mutation in males is linked to poor sperm health, so it is crucial 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, the endocrinologist 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.
I also need to mention the Aviva method, which played a vital 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 all the changes we made to have our little miracle contributed to our success, but I think the Aviva method was especially important.
It is hard to write in a 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 in 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.
After initial guidance, the Aviva Method exercise technique is quite simple to do at home. 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 revitalising the reproductive organs.
My husband also started to do the Aviva Method exercise technique. He joined me just at the weekends because he worked in London and needed to get up early and arrive home late on weekdays.
Aviva Method exercises are also suitable for men. They can control their reproductive health by naturally improving their sperm count, erectile functioning, and managing prostate health.
Altogether I can say getting pregnant naturally at an advanced maternal age is not impossible, but we must 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 critical 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.