Is having a baby at 40 possible?
As a fertility reader and educator, I get this question from my community a lot. And even though conceiving naturally after 40 may take a little longer or be more difficult for some women, it IS possible.
Just look to these 5 celebrity pregnancies after 40 for some inspiration, and know that your fertility journey can exist on your own terms.
However, I’m not here to play games with you. Yes you can have a natural pregnancy in your 40s without complications, but it does take effort, planning, and work. That’s why understanding how conceiving after 40 happens, and learning the different ways you can boost your fertility naturally is so important to having a successful, safe pregnancy.
Factors that affect getting pregnant after 40
Egg Count & Quality
One of the biggest factors affecting your ability to conceive later in life is the quality and quantity of your eggs. Your ovarian reserve (the amount of eggs you have left) steadily declines as you age. Most women at the age of 40 have about 20,000 eggs remaining, as compared to women at age 30 who have approximately 100,000 eggs.
Do the math here sis, less eggs means less chance of conception. That’s why if you’re over 40 and hoping to get pregnant, it’s a good idea to get your AMH levels tested.
AMH stands for Anti-Mullerian Hormone, and is a hormone produced in the ovaries where egg cells develop and grow. As your AMH levels decrease with age, so do the number of eggs in your ovarian reserve. Knowing your numbers can give you a better idea of your chances of conceiving naturally at this age, and help you form a fertility plan moving forward.
The quality of your remaining eggs also plays a role in your fertility. All women have a percentage of genetically abnormal eggs in their ovarian reserve, which is why there is a greater concern for babies being born with genetic mutations to mothers over 35. Genetically mutated eggs can result in higher chances of miscarriage, as well as conditions like Down’s Syndrome.
Just as the quantity of your eggs decreases with age, so does the number of genetically normal eggs. Getting genetic testing is another thing you can do to make sure you have a safe and natural pregnancy.
Health and Lifestyle
Pre-existing conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, fibroids, and endometriosis can all affect your ability to conceive after 40. Focus on eating well, exercising regularly, and speak to your doctor or fertility specialist about how your current medications are affecting your ability to conceive.
If you’re struggling with fibroids, or other reproductive health issues, then download my free guide to healing your fibroids naturally. This guide can help you tap in to heal the physical, emotional, and spiritual causes behind your fibroids, with tips and resources to get started.
A few practitioners that can support you along the way are your primary care physician, a fertility specialist, a fertility reader, functional medicine doctors, herbalists, acupuncturists, and a variety of energy healers. Choose practitioners that resonate with your journey, so you can get the support you need.
Natural ways to increase fertility after 40
Diet & Lifestyle
The food you give your body determines so much of your health, and has the power to heal conditions you’ve been struggling with for a long time. Here are a few tips to boost your fertility with diet and lifestyle:
Increase your antioxidant intake. Antioxidants support fertility by fighting free radicals in the body, which damage egg cells and are a precursor for cancer. Source antioxidants from foods like broccoli (and other cruciferous veggies), leafy greens, berries, dark chocolate, and nuts.
Increase healthy fats. Healthy fats help stabilize blood sugar and balance hormones. Increase foods like avocado, olives & olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fish. Consider supplementing with a high quality omega-3 supplement as well.
Increase fiber. Fiber helps remove excess estrogen from the body by supporting your natural elimination process. This is especially important for my juju mamas struggling with obesity, PCOS, and fibroids. Boost your fiber intake with foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Fruits are especially beneficial for supporting fertility.
Find movement you love. Since estrogen is stored in excess body fat, maintaining a healthy weight is key to hormone balance. Exercise can also improve blood circulation in your womb, reduce stress, and help you improve other outstanding health conditions.
Take a prenatal vitamin to boost folate levels and other essential vitamins and minerals for fertility.
If you aren’t familiar, acupuncture is the practice of inserting very fine needles at different pressure points to achieve energetic balance in the body. Many of my juju mamas have found success using acupuncture for their fertility, as it can improve blood flow to the reproductive organs, regulate the menstrual cycle, improve pelvic blood flow, reduce stress, and balance hormones.
Acupuncture is also a great supportive therapy for women undergoing IVF treatment because it can increase the quality of your eggs, as well as your partner’s sperm count. Many acupuncturists will also recommend nutritional advice and herbal supplements to support you further in your journey, making them great practitioners to work with if you so choose.
Reiki is a form of energy healing originating in Japan, where the practitioner uses their hands to channel energy to encourage physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Reiki can support fertility by removing blockages in the body that could be manifesting as fibroids or other reproductive health issues, and healing generational or personal trauma that’s preventing you from connecting to your spirit babies.
Reiki works with the chakra centers of the body, letting you know which areas are blocked and why. Since the sacral chakra rules the reproductive center, working with a Reiki practitioner or other energy healer can help you heal the sacral chakra and become pregnant.
The right herbal protocol can support fertility by building blood & improving circulation, balancing hormones, and improving uterine tonicity. Some of my favorite herbs for women 40+ are chaste tree berry (vitex), cramp bark, and dong quai, an herb commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Working with an herbalist can help you find the best herbs to support your body, and help you heal on this fertility journey.
Alternative methods to getting pregnant in your 40s
If you are taking steps to support your physical, emotional, and spiritual health but are still struggling to conceive, there are alternative methods that can support your desire to have a baby at this age. After 40, your chances of conceiving during ovulation drop to about 5%, so most doctors recommend you try the natural method for 6 months before seeking intervention.
Although these methods won’t be the right fit for everyone, they are an option for juju mamas struggling to get pregnant naturally.
IVF (or in vitro fertilization) is where your egg and your partner’s sperm are combined in a lab instead of joining in the body. IVF has a higher success rate for women over 40 because implantation is taking place in a controlled and optimized environment. Using IVF, your practitioner can select the best quality eggs from your ovarian reserve to boost your chances of carrying full term.
For my younger juju mamas, you can also choose to freeze your eggs now if you plan on having babies later in life. IVF also allows for pre-implantation genetic testing, which can help reduce the risk of chromosomal abnormalities and genetic disorders. IVF is a great option for single women, same sex couples, and women who have their tubes tied.
If your ovarian reserve is very low, another option is to use an egg donor during IVF treatment. Women who’ve had multiple unsuccessful IVF cycles may choose to use an egg donor to increase their success rate and reduce the risk of genetic disorders. Many IVF treatment facilities offer the option to choose your egg donor based on blood type, physical characteristics, personality, ethnicity, and medical history.
If you are still unsuccessful after trying IVF, or have suffered previous miscarriages, another option is to have your baby via surrogacy. A surrogate pregnancy is where a woman carries and gives birth to a baby for another person or couple. The surrogate carries a pregnancy that has been created using embryos from the intended parents or donors, rather than using her own eggs. Surrogacy can be an expensive and emotional process, but if you and your partner are committed to starting or extending your family, it can provide positive results.
Actress Gabrielle Union opened up about her difficult surrogacy journey in this interview with Time magazine. It is an inspiring read that tackles the complex decision of having a surrogate child, plus outlines her fertility journey along the way.
Although it may take a little longer, getting pregnant in your 40s IS possible. If you are still getting your cycle each month, then you can still conceive. By assessing the quantity and quality of your eggs, improving your diet and lifestyle, and finding the right practitioners and methods to support your journey, you can bring your baby earth side sooner than you think.
For more insight into your fertility journey, book a fertility reading with me. These readings can help you learn where you’re still blocked, and offer guidance on which direction to take next. Book your reading and join over 300+ confirmed pregnancies here.
Looking for more resources on your fertility journey?
My H.O.E.listic Fertility Workbook can help you learn the quickest and easiest way to know when you’re ovulating, so you can get pregnant faster!