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As first time mothers are getting older, more and more women are trying to conceive in their forties. Being pregnant and over 40 is nothing new of course, and it is certainly possible. If you are in your forties, and hoping to conceive your first baby, or a subsequent baby, is there anything special you need to do, know, or avoid? I'd love to say otherwise, but it is a scientific fact that conceiving a baby becomes harder the older a woman becomes.

At 40, you have a lower chance of getting pregnant than you did at 35, for instance, and conceiving is also likely to take longer than it did in years gone by. The quality of eggs also begins to decline, and chromosomal problems are more common. What are your chances of getting pregnant naturally in your forties, then? According to many medical sources, a woman in her early forties has a five percent chance of getting pregnant during the course of any one cycle. While that does not sound like a very high number, this still means that 40 to 50 percent of women in the first half of their forties conceive within a year. There is reason enough for optimism, isn't there?

You should be aware that the rate of birth defects as well as your chance of having a miscarriage rises significantly after your 40th birthday. At 40, you have a 34 percent chance of suffering a miscarriage, a figure that rises to a rather high 53 percent for woman older than 45. Two thirds of women who are over 40 have been shown to be unable to conceive naturally, and have needed fertility treatment. Eating healthily, reducing stress levels and having a great physical condition certainly helps boost fertility, and increases your chances of conceiving a baby more quickly at any age. When you are over 40, these factors assume even greater importance. If you find that, after a year of trying, you are still not pregnant, there are plenty of options you could explore. They include fertility treatments ranging from IUI to IVF, and surrogacy, using an egg donor, or adoption.

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