It’s true that getting older makes it harder to get pregnant. The reason is simple: biology. Women are born with all the eggs they will have, and with age, the number of eggs in the ovaries decreases. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women’s fertility begins to decrease at 32, and more rapidly after 37.
But that doesn’t mean pregnancy can’t happen. For women ages 35 to 39, the rate of first births rose sixfold from 1973 to 2006, and fourfold for ages 40 to 44 from 1985 through 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Before you decide to try to conceive, it’s wise to know the risks. Women over 35 have a greater risk for gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy, as well as preterm labor.Still, age is just one factor in conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy. Lifestyle choices such as eating well, exercising and taking prenatal vitamins all increase the chances of having a healthy baby. And if you’re older than 35 or have had previous pregnancy-related health issues, your doctor will probably want to see you more frequently during your pregnancy and may recommend additional tests early on.