On Getting Pregnant in my 40s

If you originally started following me because you wanted to read all about my running, sorry, for this switch. It’s going to be about pregnancy, motherhood, and babies for a (long) while. One, I want to capture some of my thoughts about my experience while they’re still (relatively) fresh and two, I don’t have anything else going on in my life right now.

So while the fertility cliff at 35 is a myth, it would be disingenuous of me to say that there’s absolutely no impact of age on fertility, particularly after the age of 40; the fertility rate for women age 40 and older varies depending upon the source, but it seems to be about 5% up until 42 and then it drops again. Honestly if I had been a little more concerned/aware of fertility concerns at 40, I probably would have tried a little bit sooner.

So when I found myself thinking that I was in a good place to have a child, I was concerned about my age because I was over 40. I was very fortunate that the medical professionals whom I saw prior to my pregnancy and during my pregnancy were all very supportive and non-judgmental. I went to the Park Slope office of The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology and I have nothing but praise for the care that I received there. When I went in for a consultation, I admitted that I had some concerns over conception, but the doctor reassured that I shouldn’t worry and that older mothers were quite common in Park Slope. She said that we should try on our own for 6-8 months and if I didn’t conceive naturally, then we should turn to fertility assistance. We were told to try for 6-8 months on our own because if we were experiencing infertility, I didn’t have time on my side. The advice for younger couples is to try for a year before seeing a specialist.

The funny thing about trying to get pregnant is that it’s not as easy as I thought it would be based on what I learned in human reproduction in school (the “this is how babies are made and now don’t get pregnant” lesson). The teachers made it seem as if a boy just had to look at you and you’d get pregnant once you entered puberty. In reality, a young woman has about a 25% chance of getting pregnant each month and there’s only a narrow window in each monthly cycle where conception could take place. And as I stated before, if you’re over 40, then it drops down to about 5% or less each month.

I didn’t do anything fancy because I have a very regular cycle. I tracked my cycle with an app (I liked Ovia).

I felt pretty smug about myself when I got pregnant after only three months. After reading so many articles that talked about the difficulty of getting pregnant in your 40s and wondering if I pushed it, to get pregnant so quickly and easily, I felt that this was a piece of cake. A week later I miscarried. It turned out to be a chemical pregnancy. I’ll talk more about this in a future post because there’s not a lot of conversation about miscarriages.

After I got over the disappointment I was hopeful that at the very least that this was a good sign that my body was capable of getting pregnant and that I would get pregnant soon. I did eventually get pregnant, but it took another 5 months. Those were tough five months for me. The obgyn said that if I didn’t get pregnant after 6 to 8 months of trying, then I should go see a fertility specialist. After six months I did see a specialist for consultation. Even though I didn’t go through the IVF process, I’ll do a post about that too because I learned an awful lot about reproduction, IVF, and its impact on running.

I avoided needing IVF by literally getting pregnant right before I was getting ready to start the IVF process. I described it as a Hail Mary pregnancy. I’ll do another post about being pregnant, particularly being pregnant during a pandemic (it was interesting) and I’ll also do a post on the birth story.

6 thoughts on “On Getting Pregnant in my 40s

  1. I’ve never been pregnant and will never be (just didn’t happen in this life and that’s fine) but this is all so interesting to me! Especially since I am over 40 and too have thought 1) it’s probably impossible to get pregnant over 40; 2) if you have sex just once YOU’RE DEFINITELY PREGNANT! I think it’s also important to have more conversation about miscarriage – it seems like it is being talked about more these days, which is good for normalizing it. I’m so happy for you!

    • Thanks! I’ve heard from other people that they’re finding these posts interesting and helpful, so I’m glad that I’m not boring everyone. I know people are curious and have questions, but also don’t want to be intrusive, so I’m writing down my experience and to anyone, I’m open for questions.

  2. I was just a few years younger but had a very similar experience. You made me laugh about what they taught in school. At one point I told my husband I could have saved a lot of the money I spent trying not to get pregnant had I known it was likely in vain! I’m certainly glad I was on the older end of being a parent!

    • Based on what I learned at school, I thought getting pregnant was super easy. I was truly surprised when I learned that there’s only a few days in a month where we can actually get pregnant.

      Yay for older mothers!

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