What Science Says About Getting Pregnant After 40

pregnant woman

Starting a family later in life is definitely a societal trend and there are studies to prove it. According to recent government statistics, more women are waiting to have kids until they are in their 40s. This may have to do with the increased availability of fertility treatments, or simply the fact that people feel less pressured to start their families at a young age.

If you thinking about waiting to become a parent at 40, there are several factors you will want to consider, including your fertility, your health, finances and even your potential to live a longer life. Here is everything science has to say about getting pregnant and starting a family at 40.

There’s a good chance you will experience infertility

According to the CDC 30 percent of women between the age of 40 and 44 will experience infertility — compared to 25 percent for women aged 35 to 39. In fact, every month after your 40th birthday, your chances lower. So even if you do get pregnant, it will likely take longer.

Fertility treatments will be less successful

Because it is harder to conceive naturally over 40, you might have to look into other options, but keep in mind that that fertility treatments are less effective for women over 40. IUI treatment success rates are shockingly low — just 5 percent, while

IVF treatment hovers around 15 percent per cycle. And even if you do get pregnant with IVF, the percentage of live births per each expensive IVF cycle is only 5.8 percent.

Miscarriage is more common

As you age, your chances of miscarriage increase. Women between the ages of 35-45 have a 20-35 percent chance of miscarriage, compared to up to 50 percent for women over 45.

While these numbers may seem discouraging, keep in mind that the majority of these pregnancies do result in a live birth.

You are more likely to experience pregnancy complications

The American College of Obstetricians warns that pregnancy is more complicated in your older years. In fact, pregnant women over 35 are more likely to experience gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia. They are also more likely to experience premature labor and birth and have to deliver via cesarean delivery.

Your baby is less likely to be healthy

Babies born to mothers — and fathers — over the age of 40 are more likely to have congenital disorders. This is why doctors encourage women experiencing a “geriatric pregnancy” to undergo prenatal genetic screenings.

You are more likely to be financially stable

For obvious reasons, women who wait until they are older to get pregnant are more likely to be financially stable. But an interesting finding is that having kids later could also influence your earning potential for the better — regardless of whether you have a college degree.

“Children do not kill careers, but the earlier children arrive, the more their mother's income suffers. There is a clear incentive for delaying,” says Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis, co-author of a study that found a link between the two.

You will probably have more patience

Because you are less stressed out about all of those things like money and job security in your 40s, you will have a lot more patience for parenthood — which is a really good thing.

Your children will be more likely to thrive

Parents who are more educated and have a higher income — two factors which you are more likely to have achieved in your 40s — are more inclined to provide an environment where their children will thrive.

One study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, found that certain parenting beliefs and behaviors – such as reading, constructive play and emotional support – have an impact on child development with parent education and income positively affecting their achievement.

Other studies have found that children born to older parents do better on standardized tests and are more likely to go to college.

It might increase your longevity

If you want to live well into your 90s, you should consider popping out children in your later years. One study found that women who had children later in life were more likely to live longer.

Being an older mom may boost your brainpower

As a parent, you will constantly be challenged and forced to stay on top of things. Having a child in your 40s compared to your younger years may help protect against cognitive decline, according to one study. Researchers found “a positive association between later age at last pregnancy and late-life cognition.”

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