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Expectations when you are expecting in your 40’s & 50’s

By Abayomi Ajayi

GETTING pregnant and giving birth is one of those things you as a woman often takes for granted until the day rolls around when you decide to have children and experience trouble conceiving.

But while some causes of infertility are hereditary or due to health problems beyond your control, there are actually a few steps that can be taken to preserve and enhance a woman’s ability to have children.

The truth is that a healthy lifestyle alone won’t necessarily protect you from infertility, but it may help especially as it is known that people who are very unhealthy have a much higher incidence of infertility.

You need to know that as a woman, your fertility starts to measurably decline around age 27, due to the depletion and aging of your eggs. If you are under 30, it’s estimated that the chance of getting pregnant in any one cycle is 20 – 30 per cent.  By age 40, it falls to 5 per cent.

But it’s not just you the woman who needs to pay attention to the ticking of the clock. Men over 35 are twice as likely to be infertile as those under 25. Studies also are showing that, as with older women, older men are more likely to have children with birth defects due to the decreased genetic quality of their sperm. Since every cell in the body ages, why would anyone want to think the sperm or testicles don’t age?

Beyond the age at which you choose to have children, there are other lifestyle factors within your control that can affect your fertility. Lifestyle is important for everything; of course it’s important to fertility. You should quit smoking and, if you’re obese or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more, losing weight.Why,you may ask.

Obesity creates hormonal imbalances, preventing a woman from ovulating normally and affecting men’s sperm production.

Research also has shown that when both partners in a couple are overweight or obese, they’re more likely to have to wait longer before successfully conceiving a child.

Men trying to conceive might want to stay away from hot baths and hot tubs. Findings show that weekly exposure to wet heat for 30 minutes or more for at least three months could impair sperm production and movement.

Couples trying for pregnancy also shouldn’t overlook the possibility that a prescription drug they are taking could play a role. Medications, such as one class of high blood pressure drugs, can be potentially toxic to sperm while antidepressants also may cause irregular menstrual cycles.

Also pay attention to what you eat.It’s like if you’re running a marathon, you’ve got to train for it. Same thing applies if you want to have a baby;  you’ve got to train for that too.

As more women are seeking advanced reproductive techniques, such as IVF to assist in achieving a pregnancy, the ceiling of reproduction has been lifted such that almost any healthy women in her forties and fifties can successfully mother a child. Indeed as an older woman wishing to have children, there is no longer need to delay consulting fertility experts.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.