Getting Pregnant at 40 & Over: What to Expect

The journey to motherhood is unique for every woman, but for those embarking on this path after 40, the experience can be both exhilarating and daunting. As you navigate this transformative chapter, adopting a holistic mindset—one that nurtures your mental, emotional, and physical well-being—is a powerful ally.

In this post, I’ll help you explore what to expect when trying to conceive after 40 and how a holistic approach can support you along the way.

If you want to enjoy the support of like-minded women to cheer you on as you work towards your goals, join my community, The Superwoman Circle.

Understanding Fertility After 40

While it’s true that fertility naturally declines with age, it’s important to remember that every woman’s journey is different.

Fertility Does Decline After 40

Because a woman is born with all the eggs she’ll have, as she ages, so do her eggs. By the time a woman reaches 40, ovarian reserve (the number of eggs you have) diminishes by about 90%, and the eggs that remain may be of lower quality (1). This means that it may take longer to conceive or that the risk of miscarriage increases.

On average, women over 40 have about a 5 percent chance of getting pregnant in any single ovulation cycle, though keep in mind this is a statistic—not an assessment of your unique situation (2).

Read: 5 Fertility Myths Explained 

But Getting Pregnant Is Not Impossible

While age can impact fertility, it’s essential to remember that many women have successful pregnancies after 40. In fact, the number of women giving birth after 40 has been steadily increasing in recent years (3).

With advancements in fertility treatments and a better understanding of health and wellness, it’s possible to conceive and carry a healthy pregnancy over 40.

Can You Be Too Old to Have A Baby?

For women, fertility gradually begins to decline around age 32, and then decreases dramatically at 37, reflecting a change in hormone levels necessary for healthy ovulation.

Even with the use of IVF,  the percentage of IVF cycle starts that result in a healthy pregnancy for women over 40 years is only 5%, and drops to 1% for women older than 44 years (4). This can be hard to understand for many women in their early forties—you don’t feel “old” even though your eggs are undergoing age-related changes.

If you want to learn more about IVF to achieve the family of your dreams, this podcast episode is for you!

So, what can you do to maximize your odds of conceiving if you’re concerned about potential egg quality? Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can tip the scales in your favor. 

Helpful Tips for Trying to Conceive After 40

When trying to conceive after 40, embracing a holistic approach means taking care of your whole self. Your mental and emotional health are just as important as your physical well-being.

Engage in practices that reduce stress, promote relaxation, and cultivate a positive outlook. This might include meditation, journaling, or talking with a supportive friend or therapist—your mindset matters!

Fueling Your Fertility with Nutrition

What you eat can significantly impact your fertility. For example, a diet rich in antioxidants helped couples being treated for unexplained fertility get pregnant faster, while excessive caffeine intake may decrease fertility in some women (5).

Foods that provide fertility-friendly nutrients include: 

  • Leafy greens and other colorful vegetables
  • Lean proteins, such as fish, poultry, and beans
  • Healthy fats from sources like avocados, and nuts & seeds, or omega-3s from fish

Studies also show that if you’re missing key nutrients, including folate, calcium, iodine, selenium, vitamin D, and B12, you may have a more difficult time becoming pregnant (6). 

Consider working with a nutritionist who specializes in fertility to create a personalized plan that meets your unique needs. I generally don’t recommend a vegan diet when trying to conceive.

Watch: How to Improve Egg Quality with Aimee Raupp, MS 

Lifestyle and Environmental Factors

In addition to diet, other lifestyle factors can influence fertility. I always tell my patients to focus on controlling what you can, but don’t stress too much about things needing to be perfect. There are some foundational aspects I recommend addressing, such as: 

Environmental toxins. These include chemicals in household products, pesticides on produce, and air pollution (7). Consider switching to natural cleaning and personal care products, eating organic produce when possible, and filtering your water and indoor air.

Getting enough sleep, as lack of rest can disrupt hormonal balance.

Manage stress through techniques like deep breathing, yoga, or spending time in nature.

For more on how to detox your environment simply & effectively, learn more here.

Supporting Fertility Holistically

Many women find that alternative therapies can be valuable complements to medical interventions when trying to conceive. Some options to explore include:

  • Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese practice may help regulate hormones and improve blood flow to the reproductive organs (8).
  • Yoga: Gentle yoga can reduce stress, promote relaxation, and support overall well-being.
  • Herbal medicine: Certain herbs, like red raspberry leaf and vitex, may help support reproductive health. Always consult with a qualified herbalist or naturopath before using herbal remedies.

Read: 5 Causes of Infertility in Women Explained 

Medical Interventions: A Balanced Approach

If you’re over 35 and want to get pregnant, don’t wait to have a fertility evaluation even if it’s only been 6 months since you’ve started trying to conceive. The information learned in a fertility assessment will help you identify any issues and provide insight on whether or not to proceed with fertility treatment. 

While a holistic mindset is valuable, it’s also important to work closely with a healthcare provider who specializes in fertility. They can help you understand your options, which may include:

  • Hormone testing
  • Medications to stimulate ovulation
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)

Remember, a holistic approach can beautifully complement medical interventions, helping you feel supported on all levels.

Related: Natural Fertility Solutions for PCOS 

Embracing the Journey

Getting pregnant after 40 is a deeply personal journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and a willingness to nurture yourself on all levels. By adopting a holistic mindset—one that honors your mental, emotional, and physical well-being—you give yourself a strong foundation as you navigate this path.

Remember, your age does not define your worth or your ability to become a mother. Trust your body, and surround yourself with support. Your journey is unique, and there is no right or wrong way to approach it. Embrace the process, celebrate your strength, and know that you are capable of creating the family you dream of.