I always thought I would be married by 25 and start having children around 27. I wanted a few years with my husband to get to know each other and build a solid foundation before having kids. I was a little surprised and honestly was getting more bitter as 26, 27, 28, and 29 came and went and I was still not married. It wasn’t until I was 32 that I had my first child.
My story might not be your story, but more and more women are waiting until their 30s before starting their families. Whatever your story is and why you are choosing now to start planning to build your family this guide will help you learn:
- How pregnancies in your 30s are different
- Why it’s important to prepare for your pregnancy
- 6 Tips for getting pregnant in your 30s
Table of Contents
Why Is Pregnancy in Your 30s a Big Deal?
Everyone will warn you of the challenges of pregnancy in your thirties and the risks involved. I won’t gloss over that at all, but just know there are also a lot of benefits to pregnancy in your thirties.
We are all born with all the eggs we will ever have. The longer they have been around the less there will be and also the quality will also decrease. Kind of like how all of a sudden when you turned thirty you had more aches and pains than you use to and you just don’t feel as energized as you once were. Our bodies are getting older just like those eggs.
Women over the age of thirty have increased risk of infertility or difficulty conceiving. We have increased chance of miscarriage, still birth, chromosomal abnormalities, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, risk of C-section or developing blood clots. We are also at greater likelihood to have multiple pregnancies due to hormonal changes that can lead to release of more than one egg in a cycle.
Don’t let Fear steal your joy. Be proactive in planning for a healthy pregnancy with your provider. There are also many benefits to being in your thirties. Most couples are more established in their careers, are financially more secure, have a more solid relationship with their partner, and a healthier lifestyle.
Why is Preparing More Important?
It’s important to prepare because as annoying as the cliché is, “the clock is ticking.” Your risks and likelihood of having difficulties is only increasing so preparing and taking action now is essential. This doesn’t mean you have to get pregnant now if you aren’t ready. It just means you need to be talking with your partner and medical professionals to make sure you are taking the right steps now to ensure success later.
If you are over 30 and are having difficulty conceiving after 6 months you need to speak with your doctor or a fertility specialist. If you are over 40 and trying to conceive you may want to speak with fertility specialist as soon as possible. IUI and IVF are much more successful in your early 30s. Ages 30-35 needing IUI or IVF have a 1 in 3 chance of live birth per cycle. After 35 that changes to 1 in 7 chance of live birth per cycle by the age of 40.
To make a baby it takes both you and your partner so look into their health as well. Male sperm health can also suffer due to many different factors.
Where Do I Start in Preparing for Pregnancy in My 30s?
First develop a relationship with your doctor. Set up a preconception appointment and discuss your personal health.
Your appointment will most likely include:
- Discussion of your menstrual cycle: Do you have regular menstrual cycles? When was your last period? How long was your cycle?
- Discussion of current birth control: What have you been using for birth control? How long should you wait after you have stopped your birth control? Do you need to remove any long term implant?
- Medication List: What medications are you currently taking? This includes OTC and prescription drugs. They will also want to discuss any supplements or herbs you are taking to make sure they are safe for pregnancy.
- Chronic Medical Conditions: If you have a chronic medical condition they will want to get that under control prior to pregnancy or discuss how they will closely monitor it during pregnancy. Some current treatments may not be safe for pregnancy so a discussion about how you will change that treatment during pregnancy.
- Family History: Being aware of your family history can help to determine what complications or concerns could develop during your pregnancy. There is much we can do with modern medicine to mitigate risk when we know what to be prepared for. So talk to your family prior to this appointment and be as thorough as possible.
- Weight check: There are increased risks in overweight and underweight mothers. They will help you discuss any health changes prior to pregnancy if you fall in either category.
- Blood Pressure: Maintaining a healthy blood pressure throughout your pregnancy decreases risks for many complications.
- Pelvic, Breast, and Abdominal screening
- A Pap Smear and/or Gynecological Screening: This is looking for any issues that could lead to problems in pregnancy such as irregular periods, PCOS, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, cysts, benign tumors, Pelvic Inflammatory disease.
- Urine Test: Screening for UTI or kidney disease
- Blood Tests: to check for things such as anemia, RH type, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid function, immunity levels(to determine if you need to update any vaccinations), and sexually transmitted diseases.
Over 35 your OBGYN may do some fertility testing:
- Progesterone levels to confirm you are ovulating
- FSH and estradiol
You may also want to meet with your Dentist prior to conception. Your likelihood for gum disease increases during pregnancy due to changes in your hormones. It is best to see your dentist to get a good thorough cleaning and check up prior to pregnancy. I would also recommend getting any x-rays, fillings, or surgeries before your pregnancy.
Tips For Successful Pregnancy After 30
A lot of these things are going to be no brainers, but let’s be honest just because we know we should doesn’t mean we are actually implementing them.
Not to beat you over the head with this one too much but your risks have gone up if you are over 30. So just cross your T’s and dot your I’s.
Just like you need to put oil in your car so the engine of your car can run well. You need to fuel your body for what its about to go through over the next 9 months. Your body is going to go through a lot of changes, taking on additional stresses, and grow a human life. You need to be eating a well balanced diet including plenty of fruits and vegetable. If you have some unhealthy guilty pleasures you don’t have to eliminate them completely but try to limit them over the next several months.
Check out what this Fertility Doctor who studied nutrition recommends about eating for your fertility.
Start Taking A Prenatal Vitamin
Most of us will have a difficult time getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients we need to support a healthy pregnancy with our diet. Most physicians will recommend you take a prenatal vitamin to make up for those nutritional gaps in your diet. There are also several vitamins that we need an increased amount of just during pregnancy such as Folic Acid/Folate, choline, and DHA.
If you are concerned about your egg quality or infertility consider looking into taking CoQ10. This is a supplement that is shown to improve egg quality, sperm quality, and pregnancy rates. It is also a good idea to get your partner involved in getting his health in order as well. It takes two to make a baby.
Physical activity is something that can benefit you and your child through all phases of your pregnancy and delivery. It can also help with your postpartum recovery. It is best to start thinking about increasing your physical health a few months prior to your pregnancy. It can become more challenging and riskier to start an intense fitness regime after you have become pregnant.
Staying active can help you manage chronic health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy. It can help you to feel better during your pregnancy and adjust to your bodily changes. It can help you to have an easier and less complicated delivery. So plan now and get into a healthy routine.
Avoid Risky Substances
There is a significant amount of research that are positively correlated with detrimental health consequences to babies if you smoke (vaping is included: tobacco, weed, or other synthetic substances), you are exposed to second hand smoke, use drugs (heroin, meth, cocaine, etc), or drink alcohol. If any of these things are things that currently bring you joy and may or may not be a healthy addiction for you I would recommend ending that addictive relationship sooner rather than later.
You also should look to limit the amount of caffeine you currently drink. The recommended amount of caffeine per day by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist is 200 mg per day. This is equivalent to two 6oz cups of coffee.
I would also recommend looking into any work exposures to toxic chemicals, cleaning products you may use at home, and beauty products you currently use. This is just another tangent I could talk way too much about, but the products we consume contain many toxic chemicals. Be aware of what you use in your home and on your body. Many of these toxins can cross the blood brain barrier and reach your developing baby.
Regular Prenatal Care
This is essential for any pregnancy but I would say even more important for you. This will help you and your provider work as a team to make important decisions for you and your baby. This will allow you to manage any risks and be aware of any new developments as they arise. We have a lot of options available to us with modern medicine. We have more options on how to address things if we find them early.
Don’t let fear steal your joy! There will always be risk to everything in life. If you are prepared and proactive you can decrease those risks. More and more women are having babies in their 30s. This is a wonderful time of our lives. We know who we are and have lived a lot of life. We have overcome so many challenges and have come out successful. Follow these tips for getting pregnant in your 30s and talk to your doctor if you still need more help. You are prepared to be a mother. Enjoy this next adventure of life! Please reach out with any questions, concerns, or comments in the comments section.
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.