Pregnancy After 35
It took me until I was 35 yrs old to finally feel grown up enough and ready to be a parent. Maternal or paternal feelings just don't happen for some woman, or men, earlier in life. The road to parenthood is a longer journey.
Earlier in life, I was just never completely sure parenthood was my calling. However, that age "35" was looming. I knew my opportunity for optimal fertility would begin to wane, the health risks for the baby, pregnancy, and delivery would rise. Getting to 35 can feel like a deadline for many women in terms of parenthood.
A woman's age, 35, is not a fertility ultimatum- do or don't. However, there are some realities to consider if you are conceiving or planning to conceive at 35 years or after. Overall fertility success begins to decline at 35 years old and health risks for Mom and baby increase. That being said many, many woman go on to have multiple pregnancies, births, and healthy babies after the age of 35. Personally, I had 2 uncomplicated pregnancies, and very healthy babies at 36 and 38 yrs old.
Two of the issues that effect fertility decline in woman after 35 yrs old are progesterone levels and thyroid health. Progesterone and thyroid hormones are essential to maintaining a pregnancy from conception through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Progesterone levels need to significantly rise to maintain initial conception. Progesterone is responsible for nourishing the embryo as it grows. If progesterone levels can not adequately rise in the first few weeks of life it can result in an early miscarriage. Lower progesterone levels are also a risk for missed implantation. A fertilized egg that is unable to nestle in the uterus to begin embryonic growth can be a missed implantation, and a woman may never even realize she has achieved a fertilized egg. With a missed implantation, a woman will likely begin her menses as normal.
The thyroid remains very active and is essential in the beginning of pregnancy. After 35 years old, the thyroid may struggle to perform as intensely as is necessary to maintain fertility and a pregnancy. Women with a even mildly sluggish thyroid can miscarry in the first 6-10 weeks of pregnancy.
For women over 35, I suggest optimizing progesterone and thyroid hormones. A hormone panel assessing all 3 types of estrogens- estradiol, estriol, estrone, progesterone, testosterone and a thyroid panel with TSH, Free T3, and Free T4 can illustrate any minor hormone imbalances. I initially use progesteronic herbs to optimize progesterone levels. If a woman has had miscarriages or is not achieving conception, AND has marginal thyroid hormone levels I may start her on a very low dose natural thyroid such as Naturethroid to help achieve or maintain a pregnancy. To optimize hormones- detoxing, eating a whole foods diet, regular sleep and exercise are also absolutely and without a doubt, essential.
For a woman looking for general support as she approaches 35 yrs old, Vitanica Pregnancy Prep herbal supplement can assist in bringing circulation to the pelvic floor, optimize progesterone, and manage cortisol levels which can assist in regulating thyroid hormones. Of course, a structured detox plan to eliminate endocrine disrupting hormones stored in the body and optimizing nutritional status with a prenatal supplement such as Vitanica Maternal Symmetry will support fertility and healthy conception.
There are other potential issues that a woman over 35 years can encounter when pregnancy is not achieved. However, optimizing thyroid health and progesterone levels can mitigate many concerns or issues a woman 35 years or over may experience.
Pregnancy does not need to be at all limited by age, as long as all health measures to ensure a safe pregnancy and delivery are accommodated. Having a baby at 35, 36, 38...40....is amazing and being an older parent has just as many advantages if not more than there are concerns. I hope woman feel empowered to have a baby when and if they are ready and to not let age be a limiting factor. If you do plan on getting pregnant after the dreaded '35' then take steps to ensure you are optimizing your physical health prior to conception to achieve your healthiest possible pregnancy and to enhance fertility early on.