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The odds of getting pregnant decrease as a woman grows older – we all know this. But the continuous advancements in medical technology show otherwise. Infertility treatments have made it possible for women to get pregnant at an age where they would have thought it was completely impossible. Women who have medical issues or fertility problems may find it difficult to conceive, but now they have some options that may make it possible for them to have children of their own. Today, many women in their mid-30s and mid-40s try to conceive and have babies, but what about women in their 50s?
It can be very difficult, almost impossible, for a woman in her 50s to get pregnant naturally. Even after using assisted reproductive techniques, it can be incredibly hard for a woman of this age to conceive a child. Read on to know more about the odds of getting pregnant in your 50s.
Can a Woman Get Pregnant Naturally in Her 50s?
The fertility levels of a woman who is above 50 years of age are low. Even the eggs left at this point, if any at all, won’t be able to support a new life. Hence, it can be very difficult for a 50-year-old woman to get pregnant naturally and have a healthy baby. The chances of a healthy natural conception after the age of 50 years are only 1%. Even if a woman does get pregnant in her fifties, there is a high chance that the baby will be born with birth defects or the pregnancy might end up in a miscarriage. A woman can conceive in her 50s, but she may not conceive naturally. A woman in her 50s can get pregnant only after undergoing extensive fertility treatments and with the help of donor eggs. However, but as per the recent guidelines, a woman may not be given the option of IVF in her fifties.
How to Prepare for a Pregnancy in Your 50s
If a woman wants to get pregnant in her 50s, she might have to resort to in vitro fertilization (IVF), where the sperm and egg will be combined in a lab, then transferred into the uterus as a fertilized embryo. It can be difficult for an older woman to get pregnant, but not impossible. The odds of getting pregnant are only 1% but a woman can have a child in her 50s. If you are above the age of 50, these tips can help. The tips mentioned below can at least help you get started.
1. Get Yourself Checked
Now, this is a must. If you are a 50-year-old woman or well above that age, and are considering getting pregnant, you must visit a gynaecologist and ask her how you should go about it. Ask her whether your uterus is strong enough to carry a baby, if your tubes are all clear, and if you have enough eggs to support a new life. Although the chances of you being able to use your own eggs will be slim, you can confirm with your doctor.
2. Eat Healthy Foods
When a woman in her 20s or 30s plans to start a family, she is told to eat healthy foods, exercise, and follow a healthy lifestyle. But the same stands true for a woman in her 50s. If you are in your prime age, you need to watch your health if you are planning to get pregnant. Conceiving at this age is exceptionally difficult, hence it is even more important for you to make healthy choices. Make sure that you eat healthy foods, get enough exercise, and lots of rest in between.
3. Quit Smoking
If you are planning to get pregnant in your 50s, you must quit smoking and drinking. Smoking, drinking, or using drugs can affect your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and can be detrimental to the health of the mother and her baby. If you have any of these habits, it’s time to quit them in order to increase your chances of conceiving and carrying your baby to term.
4. Find a Good Donor
At the age of 50, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to use your own eggs. Women in their fifties usually produce eggs that are mostly not viable. You might have to find a donor. The donor will be chosen based on your physical traits. If a person has similar physical characteristics to yours, she might make a good donor but she too should be healthy.
5. Take Prenatal Tests
The usual prenatal tests include blood tests, blood pressure test, and urine tests. These tests are conducted to identify whether a woman is healthy enough to conceive and to carry a baby to term. Do not skip these tests. You will also have to take certain other tests to rule out the chances of your baby being born with birth defects. So make sure you ask your doctor to schedule the necessary tests.
6. Learn to Recognize the Signs
Women in their fifties most likely reach menopause or are in their perimenopause stage of life. The signs of menopause can sometimes be similar to that of pregnancy, so it is important that you recognise the symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea, constipation, swollen breasts, and food sensitivity at 50.
Advantages of Conceiving in Your 50s
Women in their 50s may have a difficult time conceiving for biological reasons, of course, but they can conceive. Furthermore, there are some advantages of conceiving later in life. Here are some to consider:
1. Older Women Are More Experienced and Financially Secure
Women in their fifties are more likely to be at a place in life where they have had enough time to earn and save over the years. When it comes to all the expenses that go along with having a baby, it will not be as hard to manage as they will have saved enough. Older women are also more experienced and content with who they are.
2. Women Who Give Birth Later in Life May Live Longer
Women who give birth later in life tend to live longer. Yes, they can live for 80 to 90 years of age. The genes that allow older women to give birth also help slow down the rate of ageing in them which makes them less prone to illness in old age. However, there is no proof for the same.
Risks and Complications of Having a Baby in 50s
While the number of women giving birth in the later years of their lives has increased recently, there are concerns that these women and their babies may have certain health problems. These range from heart issues to the chances of developing breast cancer. Here are some risks associated with giving birth over the age of 50.
Older women who resort to fertility treatments in order to get pregnant may get breast cancer. There are concerns that the administration of additional sex hormones may interfere with the natural ageing of the breast cells.
2. Heart Problems
The stress and strain women go through during pregnancy can be compared to running a marathon which is why the older a woman, the more are her chances of developing complications. Women who are above the age of 40 years (and trying to get pregnant) are at risk of developing pregnancy-induced preeclampsia.
3. Placental Problems
The chances of developing placenta previa are higher in older women. This is a condition where the placenta lies low in the uterus and blocks the cervix. This may result in premature labour or severe vaginal bleeding.
4. Risks to the Baby
Women who give birth to babies in their 50s are more likely to have premature babies. The babies may even be born with birth defects. These babies are more likely to develop heart problems.
What Are the Reasons for These Complications?
The complications associated with getting pregnant over the age of 50 arise mainly because a woman’s natural reproductive life ends by this point. If a woman is in the perimenopause stage of her life and gets pregnant, it will be a high-risk pregnancy. She may get pregnant and there might be eggs still left, but most likely, they won’t be fertile enough to carry the pregnancy to term.
Normal ovulation at the age of 50 is rare. Women at this age usually go through anovulatory cycles, in which no egg is released at all, which makes it very difficult for them to get pregnant with their own eggs. Those who are trying to get pregnant in their 50s should not confuse the signs of menopause for the signs of pregnancy, as they are very similar.
If you are in your fifties and are considering trying for a baby, it is best to know everything there is to know, before you make to a decision. You must prepare yourself both physically and mentally for the journey ahead because at this age it will be difficult.