Ok, so in the first part of my getting pregnant after 30 tips
I promised some other ideas for getting pregnant in your 30’s and I also said I
would sum it all up for you in my Preparing for Pregnancy Checklist. So here we
In case you missed the Getting Pregnant After 30 Tips – Part 1 you can read it here. In this first part I talked about ovulation and pregnancy and how this can impact getting pregnant in your 30s. I also covered my best ovulation cycle and pregnancy tips such as using a pregnancy ovulation calendar.
In this second part of my getting pregnant after 30 tips, I’ll
let you know some extra ideas besides your ovulation cycle to help you getting
pregnant in your 30s and I’ll give you a preparing for pregnancy checklist to
make things easy when making sure you are doing everything you can in your
journey to having a baby after 30.
Getting pregnant after 30 tip #6 – Using a sperm friendly
This is one part of my preparing for pregnancy checklist that I had no idea about until a few months into trying for our first baby. One day I was talking to my sister about my ovulation cycle and her pregnancy tips and she asked if we were using a sperm friendly lubricant. A what? Turns out your everyday lubricant has ingredients and a pH level that may hinder your chances of getting pregnant and some of them even contain a spermicide to help prevent pregnancy. Great if that’s what you’re trying to do but not so much when you’re attempting getting pregnant in your 30s.
Fast forward to the next month and we used our new sperm friendly lubricant and voila we were pregnant. Coincidence? Maybe, but either way we are definitely using it second time round to assist us. It basically mimics the natural cervical mucus, helping sperm to make it into the cervix to successfully meet the egg so I highly recommend this getting pregnant after 30 tip.
Getting pregnant after 30 tip #7 – using
the two-day method
Ok so you’ve worked out when you ovulate and pinpointed your most fertile week using the pregnancy ovulation calendar from step #2, its time to go at it like rabbits right? Well maybe, but before you go rushing in to the bedroom, consider adding the two-day method to the preparing for pregnancy checklist as one of our getting pregnant after 30 tips.
Crazy as it sounds, having sex every day during your fertile window can actually decrease your mans sperm count, so many professionals recommend having sex every other day during the week before ovulation and the week after. The sperm can actually live in your reproductive tract for a few days so this means that even having sex every two days should ensure there will be sperm waiting for the egg when it is released and with any luck this will increase your chances of getting pregnancy in your 30s.
Preparing for Pregnancy Checklist
To sum it all up, here are my top 7 getting pregnant after 30
consider going off the pill a little earlier
than you hope to fall pregnant (at least 1-3 months) and let your ovulation
cycle get back to its normal timings
Use a pregnancy ovulation calendar to help you
track ovulation and menstrual periods
Use an ovulation test kit to pinpoint ovulation
and accurately track it in your pregnancy ovulation calendar
Record your basal body temperature each morning
and input this into the pregnancy ovulation calendar
Assess your cervical mucus at the same time and
add this to the pregnancy ovulation calendar as well
Use a sperm friendly lubricant that is water
based, pH neutral and specially developed to mimic cervical mucus
Be sure to have sex every two days during your fertile
window to ensure there is always sperm waiting for the egg when it is released
Well there you have it, my best getting
pregnant after 30 tips. I really hope this has cleared up some misconceptions
you may have had about ovulation and pregnancy, maybe you’ve picked up
something to try that you weren’t already doing and ultimately that it helps
you in your journey to getting pregnant in your 30s. Baby dust to you!
I have to admit, before getting pregnant at 32 years old, I
didn’t think I needed any getting pregnant after 30 tips. I just assumed
getting pregnant in your 30s was still pretty straight forward. I mean, women
have been getting knocked up for generations, right? and they didn’t do
anything fancy except for maybe a few crazy moves in the bedroom. I did have a
few close friends who had troubles falling pregnant and I now know more and
more friends having to turn to IVF for help, but then there was also the girls
who “accidentally” fell pregnant in high school and those who just seemed to be
capable of pumping out kid after kid by just looking at a guy so I assumed that
those that had trouble were the minority and a very rare thing.
Turns out I was wrong. In the US, approximately 10% of couples have fertility issues and this can be caused by anything from low sperm count to endometriosis and uterine fibroids. For the other 90% though that are still taking a while to fall pregnant, there are a few things we can do to help with having a baby after 30. Read on for my best getting pregnant after 30 tips and preparing for pregnancy checklist to hopefully help you fall pregnant faster.
Because it’s such a complex thing (who knew?), I’ve split the
article into two parts. In part one we will cover your ovulation cycle and
pregnancy tips including how to use a pregnancy ovulation calendar and in part
two I’ll go into other getting pregnant after 30 tips and give you my preparing
for pregnancy checklist to make it really easy for you to ensure your doing
everything you can for getting pregnant in your 30s.
Ovulation and pregnancy
As females we generally have a pretty good idea about
ovulation and pregnancy; how they are linked, the way we are born with all the
eggs we’ll every have and how each month most woman have one or more eggs
released that can lead to a successful pregnancy. But ovulation and pregnancy
can also be difficult if you don’t know when you ovulate or if you even ovulate
at all. This is why the first part of my getting pregnant after 30 tips is all
about ovulation and pregnancy.
Getting pregnant after 30 tip #1 – regulating your cycle
If you’re like me and many other women getting pregnant in their
30s then you may have been on the contraceptive pill for some time. I know for
me, I started on the pill at around 16 or 17 to help with painful menstruation
cramps so, when getting pregnant at age 32, I’d now been on the contraceptive
pill for over 15 years.
The other thing the pill did for me and many other women was
to regulate my body to a normal 28-day ovulation cycle. Before this I was a bit
all over the place and would never know when my lovely period might surprise me
in the middle of class or out socialising with friends. So, it’s been a good
thing to have this regularity from the pill.
What I discovered though is that my ovulation cycle was once again thrown into chaos once I went off the contraceptive pill to try fall pregnant. I’d been told by my doctor it could take a few months to regulate itself to my natural ovulation cycle, especially as I was having a baby after 30, so I went off as soon as we were ready. Over the next few months, I went anywhere from 31 to 39 days in an ovulation cycle.
So, my first tip in my preparing for pregnancy checklist is to consider going off the pill a little earlier than you hope to fall pregnant (at least 1-3 months) and let your ovulation cycle get back to its normal timings. This might mean you need to use alternative contraception in the meantime if you don’t want to risk falling pregnant straight away (yes it does happen apparently).
Getting pregnant after 30 tip #2 – using a pregnancy
The second point of my preparing for pregnancy checklist is kind of related to the first tip above about getting pregnant in your 30s and that is to use a pregnancy ovulation calendar to help track your ovulation cycle. I personally used Ovia (which is a free app) to track my ovulation cycle length as well as exact ovulation days, days we had sex and sometimes cervical mucus and basal body temperature. I’ll go into more detail on these below. It has other features like cervix height and a symptoms tracker but I used these more sporadically.
As you enter data over the months, the app automatically calculates your next menstruation period and predicts your most fertile week on a pregnancy ovulation calendar so you can try to have sex in this time and increase your chances of getting pregnant and having a baby after 30.
Another app I’ve been using second time round is the Premom app. It works similar to Ovia with similar tracking features but also has the ability to read ovulation tests via your phones camera and then plot this into a pregnancy ovulation chart that shows your hormone levels rising and finally peaking just before ovulation.
Getting pregnant after 30 tip #3 – Use ovulation test kits to
pinpoint your ovulation
This tip in my preparing for pregnancy checklist was huge for me in getting pregnant at 32 years old. If you look at the pregnancy ovulation calendars of average woman then they have a regular 28 day cycle. Since ovulation usually happens about 14 days before your period starts, this means most woman ovulate around day 14 of their cycle and therefore their most fertile days are around days 12-14.
But what if you don’t have a regular cycle? What if you sometimes have a 39-day cycle? Or what if you don’t ovulate at all? How would you know? Ovulation test kits take the guesswork out and make it super easy to track and pinpoint ovulation so you can see your most fertile days, making getting pregnant in your 30s a hell of a lot easier.
My first pregnancy, I used the Clearblue Digital Ovulation tests. These come in a pack of 10 and can be quite pricey so I spent quite a bit of money on kits trying to test from about day 12 to whenever I got a positive result. The test works by peeing on the stick, which is inserted into a digital monitor. It then reads the results and provides either a blank circle or a smiley face after a few minutes. Smiley face means the surge in your Luteinising Hormone (LH) levels has been detected and ovulation should occur in the next 24-48 hours. In other words, its time to get on it.
For my second time round, I’m been using a brand called Wondfo which comes in different sizes but the kit I have has got 50 ovulation text strips and 20 pregnancy tests. It works in a similar way. You pee in a cup this time and submerge the stick for a few seconds and then wait for 3 minutes to read the test. The bonus with this one is you can take a photo of the test with the Premom app and it will analyse it for you.
I’ve been using these to save a bit of money and still be able to test every day as part of my preparing for pregnancy checklist. When the surge is detected or rising, I also use the Clearblue tester to confirm that I have a smiley face. I know, probably a bit of overkill, but I had a few Clearblue leftover from my first pregnancy, so I figure I may as well use them up and it provides a definitive answer, giving you a greater chance of getting pregnant in your 30s.
Getting pregnant after 30 tip #4 –track
your basal body temperature
Another method for tracking ovulation and increasing your chances of having a baby after 30 is to track your basal body temperature and add this data to your pregnancy ovulation calendar. This is done by taking your temperature as soon as you wake up so it’s your resting temperature.
You can get special basal body temperature thermometers but I just used my normal digital thermometer and had it on my bedside table to I could stick it in my mouth as soon as I woke up and just lay still. The way this works to predict ovulation is that your temperature should dip slightly just before you ovulate and then about 24 hours after the egg is release, your body temperature should rise and stay up for a few days. This rise is usually about one-degree farenhight.
Enter your results into one of the apps like Ovia so you can get a pattern for what your normal temperature might be and when it changes.
Getting pregnant after 30 tip #5 – assess your cervical mucus
The final method I tracked in my pregnancy ovulation calendar and I recommend for increasing your chances of getting pregnant in your 30s, was to look at my cervical mucus. I know gross right? But most things involved with pregnancy and having a baby after 30 are and it can be a very good and free part of the preparing for pregnancy checklist to predict your most fertile window.
I’m sure you already know, but cervical mucus is that lovely discharge we get throughout various stages of the month and in case you haven’t noticed, its thickness and amount changes throughout the month and for good reason.
Obviously during your menstrual period, we have blood so you can’t see the mucus. Just after your period, it will usually dry up and there might not be any discharge at this stage. In the lead up to ovulation, the mucus becomes yellow, white or cloudy and may be likened to glue or feel stretchy. This is what we are looking for to predict our fertile window.
During ovulation it becomes clear and stretchy, kind of like egg whites. This is the perfect texture and pH balance to protect sperm and is the best time to have sex. After ovulation it will lessen again and may either be dry or go thicker, cloudy or gluey again.
Click here to read my Getting Pregnant After 30 Tips – Part 2
So, you’re trying to get pregnant in your 30’s. Funny how things change don’t they? Remember when you were younger, not quite ready for kids and had a pregnancy scare with your teenage boyfriend? I remember this happening when I was about 17, totally not ready for kids, totally not in the right relationship and totally planning to finish high school and go to university before even thinking about having kids. Don’t get me wrong, if it had happened then I would have raised that child as best I could and loved them just as much then as I would now, but when Aunt Flo arrived, I definitely had a big sigh of relief. Usually she is a welcome sign each month that all is well and you haven’t slipped up on a one-night stand.
When Aunt Flo is not welcome is when you’re attempting getting pregnant at 32 years old and she loves to come in and ruin the pregnancy party big time. This is what happened this month.
Getting pregnant at 32 years old
We’ve been trying for a little while now but hubs has been away for some of my opportune windows or I haven’t been able to pinpoint my ovulation day (the joys of trying to get pregnant at 32 years old) using the lovely little tester sticks that show a smiley face when you get a spike in hormone levels known as LH or Luteinizing Hormone. So, this month has really been the first one that I actually thought I could get pregnant.
So this month we pretty much nailed our days for doing the deed. Hubby was finally around rather than away for work and we did it every second day leading into Christmas including Christmas Day. Yes, we are that dedicated. I think we know time is not necessarily on our side so we’re doing everything we can to maximize our chances of getting pregnant in our 30’s. I got the wonderful smiley face on Boxing Day evening and we did it again the next morning as well just to cover ourselves. I’ll talk more about the two day method for getting pregnant in your 30’s in another article.
I didn’t get a second smiley face this time round, but on doing some reading, this could be because I tested right in the middle of my LH spike so it may have been smiley on Boxing Day morning and the morning of the 28th if I had tested. However, I only test in the evening.
Anyway, it’s been a slow two weeks waiting for any early signs of pregnancy, wondering if I should stop drinking and eating the wrong foods which I did a couple of days ago and reading as much as possible on signs and symptoms of pregnancy.
Am I pregnant Early Signs
Yesterday I started getting some stomach pains and wondered if it was one of the early signs of pregnancy or just my usual random pains I get? So, this morning when I woke up to find a small amount of blood when I wiped, I got very excited. Was this an implantation bleed? Am I pregnant? Are these early signs? Or had Aunt Flo come 2 days early? If anything, I usually get my period a day or two late but I don’t want to get excited. I go back to the bedroom grinning and my husband asks me what’s up so I tell him I’m bleeding a little bit. He can’t understand why I’m excited and asks “doesn’t that mean you’re not pregnant?”. I explain that it could be an implantation bleed which is one of the early signs of pregnancy and he goes back to sleep while I go to google “Am I pregnant early signs” and “How to know if you’re pregnant”.
It should be light pink or brown (not red) and contain no clots apparently. I feel like mine is the normal red when I first get my period so that’s disheartening for someone getting pregnant in your 30’s but I keep hope. I have the usual period like cramps now, except not as painful as usual so this is a good sign. I usually need a heat pack and Naprogesic to settle my period cramps and I don’t need anything this time as it’s just a dull ache.
How to know if you’re pregnant
Apparently, I still need to wait 3-4 days til I can take a test, although this is meant to be 4-5 days before my missed period which is due in only 2 days, so I hope this isn’t a bad sign as well. There is so much info on the net about how to know if you’re pregnant which is great, but it’s not so reassuring when you’re attempting getting pregnant at 32 years old and don’t fit the mould of normal. I try to reassure myself that everyone is different so it could still be happening.
I check whether it’s ok to use a tampon if you think you are pregnant and it seems to be fine but it shouldn’t fill up if it’s implantation bleeding so this will be my next check. Then I keep reading and read a tampon should never be used if you are pregnant as it could cause infection so I go and take it out and put in a liner. There is quite a bit in the tampon but it’s mostly brown. When I wipe, I get nothing so these are all good signs of early pregnancy.
Within an hour the cramping has gotten really bad, just like I usually get. I really hope that I’m pregnant because if I’m going through this without painkillers and heat packs and it’s just my period then it’s not fun at all.
After 3 hours of awful pain, I have a hot shower and this seems to ease it somewhat. I give in and send hubby out for some paracetamol and a heat pack. From the mixed info I’ve read, it seems a small dose of paracetamol won’t hurt and heat packs are ok as long as my core temperature doesn’t go over 39c.
I can see why expectant mums freak out with all the info that is out there and how every site you read has a different answer.
For the next few hours my paracetamol and heat pack make it heaps better and I sit back and relax with a few movies to take my mind off it. Sadly, after going through all that pain and wasting a whole day on the couch after refusing to take Naprogesic just in case I am pregnant, my least favourite auntie shows up and ruins the party. My full period has arrived and I change the theme to the pity party instead. We’re not pregnant this month and will have to wait another month to try again. It’s still early days in our journey to getting pregnant at 32 years old but I’m disappointed. Maybe getting pregnant in your 30’s is harder than I anticipated.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I’d finished teaching for the day and was heading to an extended after school training session that wouldn’t finish until about 7pm when I felt that familiar gush of wetness that can usually only signal one thing… aunt flow has arrived for the month. The only problem? I was five weeks pregnant.
I tried not to panic as I quickly walked down to the toilet block to have a look. I knew that the risk of pregnancy complications after 30 was higher and bleeding in early pregnancy or really bleeding during pregnancy at all was not a good sign. Maybe it was just some cervical mucus, maybe I’d peed myself a little. But no, when I sat down and lowered my pants my worst fears were realised. There in my undies was not just a small spotting of blood but a decent pool of bright red like the start of my period.
I panicked and felt sick to the stomach but the training was starting any moment and nobody knew I was pregnant. Heck, the only reason we knew we were pregnant was because I’d been madly tracking everything from ovulation to base line temperatures for months and so at about 2 weeks when my period didn’t arrive and I had a wedding to go to that could involve enjoying some champagne if I hadn’t conceived again that month, I took a test and confirmed that indeed our dreams had come true and we were 1-2 weeks pregnant. Later that week, I had booked with my GP to get some bloods done and confirmed that yes early stages of pregnancy were on track. Until now.
I didn’t have time to think much longer so I rushed back to my classroom, grabbed some sanitary items and popped back to the toilet to put them on before rushing into the training. I was torn. If everything was fine, then I didn’t really need to go to the training anyway as I wouldn’t be there for much longer that year. On the flip side, if I missed the training and the bleeding during pregnancy was indeed a miscarriage, it would mean I would have to keep working and make that training up by coming to work for a day after everyone else and either train at another school or perform God knows what tasks at school all on my lonesome. And on top of that, If I was having a miscarriage, was there anything I could do about it?
I had a few more minutes before we had to be inside so I quickly called hubby, trying my best not to let the tears that were threatening to break loose, fall from my eyes. I went through the facts with him (that pregnancy complications after 30 were increased and the fact I was experiencing bleeding in early pregnancy didn’t look good) and we both decided there wouldn’t be much I could do anyway so I would go to the training and we would go see a GP that night when we got home.
That training was probably the longest 3 or so hours of my life. I couldn’t concentrate on a single word and I’m sure people thought I was being strange as I fought to hold back tears. As soon as it was over, I bolted for the car park and headed home to get hubby before we headed to a late-night doctor for some advice on whether this was a result of pregnancy complications after 30 or whether bleeding during pregnancy could be just fine. After I got home, I burst into tears, so upset that my body had failed me.
The bleeding had stopped and my pad was clean so presumably it had stopped within about half an hour. We waited for what felt like an eternity in that waiting room before we were welcomed into the GP’s office. Lucky she was lovely. She asked a few questions, did some poking around and after looking at my pad, it appeared that no more bleeding had happened since the initial lot. She didn’t give much away in regard to the bleeding during pregnancy but seemed a little concerned, especially when pushing on my right ovary was causing some pain.
I know one of the increased risks when it comes to pregnancy complications after 30 is ectopic pregnancy and wondered if this was what was causing the pain. I’ve continued to have constant pains throughout the last 4 or so weeks, only mild like a constipation pain, but sometimes also having sharp pains in the ovaries and abdomen. Two nights ago, I woke up in excruciating pain, felt like vomiting and was sweating profusely but assumed it was just a stomach bug. Now I wondered if it was more and these pains weren’t normal but a sign of pregnancy complications after 30 like my mum had said. The GP told me to keep an eye on it, that bleeding in early pregnancy could just be the implantation bleed, but gave me a referral for ultrasound just to be safe and told me to book for the next morning.
Once we were home, I called in sick to work for the next day and hubby got the ok from his boss to start a little later. I don’t know how we slept that night or if we even did. In the morning I rang the ultrasound office and even though they normally book out months ahead, they were so understanding of the circumstances and squeezed me in for early that morning. About an hour later, off we went to the ultrasound to hopefully determine the reason for the bleeding in early pregnancy. Again, we waited for an eternity in that waiting room before being called, made even worse by the fact that you obviously need to drink the litre of water before an ultrasound and then hold that little bladder til its over.
Once inside I gowned up and we went through what was
happening with our technician. The 3 of us then sat in that tiny, dark, little
room and I think my heart stopped as he applied the cold gel and started moving
the doppler around my belly. Time was standing still. Why wasn’t he saying
Finally, he spoke and said that the good news was that he could see the sac where the baby would eventually be and there was a single foetus present and all seemed normal with my ovaries (no ectopic pregnancy phew) but being that I was only five or six weeks pregnant, we didn’t yet have a heartbeat. This is not usually present until after 6 weeks of gestation. I felt a slight rush of relief. He decided to do an internal ultrasound known as a transvaginal scan as well just to get a better look and at the end of this confirmed that everything looked normal for this stage of my pregnancy and I should go home, rest and see a GP again if any more bleeding during pregnancy occurred. He also suggested I go for another blood test to confirm that my HCG (pregnancy hormone) levels were still rising and rule out any other possible pregnancy complications after 30 that might be causing bleeding in early pregnancy.
Even though everything seemed ok, I think this made me extra nervous for the rest of my pregnancy. Would I have more bleeding during pregnancy? Was it still an early sign that I might miscarry later in the pregnancy? That first trimester in particular, when the risks of pregnancy complications after 30 can be so high was excruciatingly long and scary every time I had a weird pain or feeling.
But after a pretty much textbook rest of pregnancy, I’m happy
to say I delivered a beautiful, healthy boy with no complications. Perhaps it
was a late implantation bleed that caused my bleeding during pregnancy or as
happens with many people just some spotting during pregnancy. All I know is it’s
a scary experience I will never forget and hopefully not have to experience
with my next pregnancy.
Did you have bleeding in early pregnancy or bleeding during pregnancy
at any stage? What other pregnancy complications after 30 have you experience?
I had my first child at 32, my bestie was the same age, my
colleague was 39 and I have another who’s just announced she’s pregnant at 40. Delaying
pregnancy due to building a career, finding the right relationship or being emotionally
and financially ready has become increasingly popular and in fact just
recently, pregnancy after 30 has overtaken pregnancy rates for those in their
20’s. But along with age comes some risks we need to way up in our journey to
motherhood. When I first started reading about the risks of pregnancy after 30,
I have to say some of the statistics to do with a high risks pregnancy age
really freaked me out but rest assured there are a few things you can do to
minimise some of the risks.
What is considered a high risk pregnancy age?
When looking at statistics, one of the highest risks for pregnancy
complications is the age of the mother. So just what is considered a high risk
pregnancy age? Most health professionals consider a high risk pregnancy age to
be anything under 17 or over 35 but that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t increased
risk for those younger than 35 as we approach that age bracket. Certainly, as a
woman in my 30’s it was something I took seriously in our decision to have a
baby and a reason why I took extra tests out that would usually be automatically
done for those considered to be high risk pregnancy age.
Pregnancy risks by age – What are the risks of pregnancy after 30?
So exactly what are we talking about when we refer to the risks of
pregnancy after 30? Some of the increased pregnancy risks by age are:
Birth defects/ genetic risks
Twins and multiples
Decline in fertility
High blood pressure
Pregnancy Risks by
Age #1 – Birth Defects and Genetic Risks
One of the scariest risks
of pregnancy after 30 is an increase in the chance of birth defects such as
spina bifida, missing or malformed body parts, heart defects and cleft palate. There
is also a bigger risk of chromosome problems such as Down Syndrome which increases
from 1 in 1200 at age 25 to 1 in 900 by age 30 and as many as 1 in 100 by age
40. Preventative measures like taking folic acid, not drinking alcohol or
smoking and eating a healthy diet can all be helpful in preventing birth
defects as one of the risks of pregnancy after 30. I personally used a supplement
like Elevit throughout my pregnancy to ensure I was getting enough folic acid
as well as a boost of lots of other vitamins to stay healthy. The other step we
took to stay informed about our risks of pregnancy after 30 was to obtain extra
genetic testing including the Harmony Test or NIPT at 10 weeks to test for the most
common genetic abnormalities such as Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome).
Pregnancy Risks by Age Chart – Down Syndrome
Pregnancy Risks by
Age #2 – Twins or Multiples
Not necessarily a
bad thing, but another one of the risks of pregnancy after 30 is the chance of
having multiple births. Studies have concluded that older woman going through
hormonal changes tend to produce more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which is
responsible for egg drop at ovulation. More FSH equals a higher potential for
more than one egg to be released and voila you’re having twins or multiples.
Something to consider when you’re weighing up financial plans and preparing for
a family, especially if you already have other children to consider.
Pregnancy Risks by
Age #3 – Miscarriage
One of the awful
risks of pregnancy after 30 has a lot to do with our information above on genetic
risks. About half of all miscarriages occur due to chromosome problems and as
we noted, as the risk of chromosomal issues increases with the mothers age,
then so too does the risk of miscarriage. Research has shown a steady incline
in miscarriage as a risk of pregnancy after 30 with less than 9% of woman aged
20-24 suffering a loss and rising to almost 75% for woman over 45. Some studies
have shown this also has a lot to do with a decline in the quality of the eggs
we have left.
Pregnancy Risks by Age
#4 – Stillbirth
I can’t imagine much
worse than carrying your child for so long, only to suffer a loss by
stillbirth. I have had friends go through this horrendous event and you wouldn’t
wish it on anyone. Similar to our other risks of pregnancy after 30, stillbirth
is up to 2.23 times higher in those of high risk pregnancy age. It too has a
steady incline of risk with less than 5% occurring in woman under 34, around 6%
in woman aged 35-40 and over 8% for those over 40. Interestingly, it is shown
to be even greater for those having their first child at these ages. Some preventative
measures can be taken such as inducing woman earlier for those stillbirths that
occurred in the 39th and 40th weeks of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Risks by Age
#5 – Decline in Fertility
This is one of the
risks of pregnancy after 30 that we’re all probably aware of, right? That
lovely ticking time bomb known as decline in fertility that comes with a high
risk pregnancy age. As some of you will remember from sex ed classes, we are
born with all the eggs we will ever have. As we get older, this means that we
have less and less eggs and the quality of those eggs is also reduced. I like
to think of it like my lovely chicken eggs in the fridge. Every time we want one,
we take one out but sadly those others left in there are declining in quality,
until there is nothing good left. Unfortunately, we humans can’t just pop down
to the shop to grab a few more eggs to fertilise (or at least not our own).
Male fertility also declines with age due to reduced sperm count, swimability
and volume. There isn’t a lot we can do about this, apart from having children
as soon as we are ready. To help on the male side, I made my husband take
Menevit which helps promote sperm health.
Pregnancy Risks by Age
#6 – Other risks
Research has found
that with increased age, we see small increases in most risks of pregnancy
after 30 and birth related complications. These include gestational diabetes,
need for emergency caesareans, high blood pressure, preterm birth, low or high
birth weights, placenta previa, breech positions, postpartum haemorrhages and maternal
deaths. Many of these conditions are manageable with early intervention so its
important to undertake testing such as everyone’s favourite diabetes test drink
and follow recommendations from your health professional. Those of high risk
pregnancy age over 35 automatically get extra tests in various areas but some
of these are available to those under 35 if you are happy to pay for them. Speak
with your health professional about those you may wish to undertake. I found this
offered me peace of mind at a small extra cost.
Pregnancy Risks by Age Chart – Other Risks
Weighing Up Your Pregnancy Risks by Age
In the end, we obviously decided that we were willing to take the risks presented to us, utilising whatever preventative measures we could to help minimise our risks of pregnancy after 30 and give us peace of mind along the way that our little baby was doing just fine. Many health professionals said to me that as long as I was healthy, then chances are my pregnancy would be too and it really was a textbook pregnancy for the most part. My next pregnancy will put me officially into the high risk pregnancy age group but if a baby Is something you really want then I think you’ll find the benefits way out way the risks.
6:30am – I struggle to motivate myself to wake up on my first day of holidays to begin my endoscopy and colonoscopy prep. It’s time for my last official meal for two days and while I had grand plans last night of eating everything in sight to prepare myself for the long days ahead, as someone who rarely eats breakfast, I find myself struggling to stomach two bits of toast with butter. Prior to this, I have a regular bowl movement and a shower, as once I take the tablets, I have no idea how quickly things are going to start happening.
Originally, I had wondered if I should just have nothing. Less to come out the other end during the endoscopy and colonoscopy prep, right? But since I’d already fasted overnight, I thought this probably wasn’t the best idea for someone who gets hangry at the drop of a hat.
7am – I take the two Dulcolax Laxatives I’ve been given to start the endoscopy and colonoscopy prep and get ready for the fun to begin.
8:30am – I feel like I could go to the toilet. My guts are grumbling and churning but I’m pretty sure it’s just my nerves making my stomach turn. According to the info, it should take 6-12 hours for the tablets to kick in, so I’m expecting nothing until the first powder drink later today.
11am – hunger pangs are starting already. Have to say, as a self-proclaimed food-a-holic, this was what I was dreading most about the endoscopy and colonoscopy prep. My life revolves around eating and between eating, I’m thinking about what I’m going to eat next. According to the foods to eat before colonoscopy list, I can apparently have clear liquids such as apple juice, yellow Gatorade and clear soup but I don’t have any of these on hand that are not in the banned colours of purple and red. I’ve read blue should also be avoided on my foods to avoid before colonoscopy research.
To take my mind off it, I prep the Glycoprep-C solution (which is a colonoscopy prep drink) for later on and place in the fridge to chill. I read the instructions for the millionth time and pour the powder into a 1 litre Tupperware shaker then add the litre of water to it and stir with a wooden spoon. It looks revolting. A brownie/yellowie liquid, like a dirty lake. It does smell ok though, kind of like yellow Gatorade. We will see later if it tastes as bearable.
12pm – starting to feel a bit nauseous and headachy now from lack of food and possible water. I should probably try to drink a bit more fluids, although plenty will be required later during the colonoscopy prep drink.
1pm – time for the first dose of Picoprep. I prepare this second colonoscopy prep drink as instructed in warm water and taste a little bit. I’m pleasantly surprised as it tastes just like a really sweet Powerade sugar drink. I down it in a few goes, but notice some of the powder is left in the bottom. I’m thinking perhaps the water wasn’t hot enough. I add a little more water to my cup and mix to try get it all. This bit doesn’t taste amazing and its difficult to get it all to come out of the cup, but after a few goes, I get the majority of it into my mouth. It apparently takes 30 mins to 6 hours to work so I’m sticking close to the toilet now. Endoscopy and Colonoscopy Prep is about to get shitty (all puns intended)! Since about 12pm I’ve started having some light stomach cramping presumably from the laxatives I took this morning. Still feeling nauseous and headachy so I’ve just been watching Netflix and having naps. Within 10 minutes, I’ve already had my first bowl movement since my regular one this morning. It’s more like a gastro loose stool.
2:30pm – pooped again, waterier this time. 2:50pm – spent a while just sitting on the loo as felt like I still needed to go. 3:30pm – toilet again. 4:40pm – have some tea. Starving.
5:40pm – going again.
6pm – Onto the second colonoscopy prep drink for the day. This is the pre-prepared Glycoprep. First one was actually kind of like a super sweet Powerade and only a glass so not so bad. This one is kind of like lemon cordial with something not so nice but it’s still not as bad as I thought so I’m pretty happy besides the grumbling stomach. Only 24 hours till I can eat a pizza, large chips with gravy, bowl of pasta, 10 pack nuggs and sushi pack. That’s my list for now. You need to drink the litre of liquid over an hour. Half way through and it’s starting to get a bit sickly.
6:45pm – back to the loo. 7:04pm – closer together. Things are really ramping up now and burning. 7:25pm – and again. 7:49pm – tried to hold it for a bit, stomach cramps increasing, starting to feel like passing acid now. They’re all pretty much like a stream of wee that burns. I’m trying to just pat the toilet paper rather than wipe to reduce the agony.
Throughout the night is not to bad. I manage to get some sleep.
Day of the Endoscopy and Colonoscopy Procedure
4:30am – drink the last Picoprep colonoscopy prep drink. Again, it gets stuck in the bottom so I’m left trying to swirl water around and drink the last awful tasting part a few times. I go to the toilet while I’m up but only to pee. Back to bed, I toss and turn a bit as I’m scared I will need to go urgently but manage to sleep on and off
7:40am – Go to toilet again and manage to have a movement this time. My mouth is dry and tastes like the powder and I have a headache so I keep trying to sip more water before I try get some more sleep.
8:50am– go twice more after lots of stomach pains. Seems to be a lot clearer liquid which is what the doctor will want. Still feels like I need to empty a bit more but I can move around a lot more without feeling like I’m going to poop my pants.
10:30am – go once more and drink my last fluids. Still have a headache so I’ve tried to drink as much as possible.
11:30am – go again. Worried I’m still not empty and it’s only an hour till I need to leave for the hospital for the endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure to take place.
12:10pm – and again. Am I even going to be able to leave for hospital in half an hour?
12:25pm – I reluctantly get off the toilet to shower and dress before we have to leave for the hospital.
Arriving at the hospital for my Endoscopy and Colonoscopy procedure
We check in at admissions and head to the day surgery where they check details again and then we wait for about half hour in the waiting room. At this point a nurse collects me to weigh me and go through lots of medical questions. Then it’s time to gown up and I’m left alone in a small room to relax and watch tv. The anaesthesia assistant comes in to check a bunch of details and lets me know I’m first cab off the rank for my endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure so shouldn’t be long. Not long after, the anaesthetist comes in and asks some similar questions. Finally, the assistant comes back and takes me into the surgery room.
I’m asked to open the back of my gown and lay down on my left side with my back against a plastic wall attached to the bed. A blood pressure band is put on my left arm while the anaesthetist inserts a cannula into my hand and starts the drugs. Within seconds the room is becoming a bit fuzzy and not long after that I’m out.
Waking up after Endoscopy and Colonoscopy
I wake up from my endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure about 40 minutes later in the recovery ward with an air mask on and some fluids rehydrating me via my drip. I’m told it all went well. I feel a bit out of it, dizzy and nauseous but overall pretty normal for having just come off the anaesthetic.
After a while, they remove my mask and IV drip and roll me into a curtain to get dressed. After this I am allowed to walk to a small room for some sandwiches, juice and tea which are just heaven after fasting so long. The anaesthetist checks on me to see how I’m feeling and the doctor comes to see me and says the endoscopy and colonoscopy all went well and we will have my biopsy results in a few weeks due to Christmas break. I’m moved to a lounge area to relax and watch tv while they monitor me for another half hour and then finally my husband is bought in to collect me and sign me out.
I’m still feeling a bit dizzy and nauseous. I’ve been told to hydrate this afternoon and eat as normal. I’m so happy it’s over and the procedure part itself was easy peasy. I’m not in any pain anywhere which is great too.
On the way home, I eat a 6 pack of nuggs and a cheeseburger from Macca’s. I’m feeling a bit nauseous still so spend the arvo lying in bed. After some spag bol for dinner and milk and cookies for dessert I’m feeling a lot better. My stomach is very bloated however and feels like my guts are twisting. Not sure if this is from eating or the anaesthesia or the air they pump into the colon to see better. Feels like air or gas when I prod around and is causing some discomfort.
Post Endoscopy and Colonoscopy Care
Feeling ok when I wake up. Bowl movement wasn’t painful but was not back to regular yet. Still feel nauseous and have stomach cramps.
Day 2 after endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure – no bowl movement today although feels like I need to.
Day 3 – yay!!! finally a normal movement and feeling like things are back to normal.
Day 4 – had a bunch of gastro in the evening and wondered if I had a tummy bug.
Day 5 – feeling fine again. For the next few days only one small movement which was a struggle. After this I have 4 or more days pass without success. Apparently if I have no discomfort, it’s fine not to have a movement and just the bowel refilling. On day 10 I start getting a little pain in tummy after lunch and feel like I might be able to go soon. I finally have a movement that night.
A few weeks later my gastroenterologist calls with the good news that they found no serious problems with my stomach during the endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure so I’m in the clear for things like stomach cancers which is great. Not so great is that they don’t really know why my stomach isn’t absorbing vitamins as it should and I am diagnosed with some type of autoimmune deficiency and told to keep taking my supplements through pregnancy to ensure I’m getting enough vitamins. Time to get back to the business of baby making.
decision had been made. We were going to have a baby. We would do our thing,
get pregnant and voila baby is born nine months later right? That is until we
faced our first roadblock. My blood results were back and I was low in Vitamin
D and Iron. So What? You may be thinking, but apparently a normal, healthy 32-year-old
with a healthy diet containing red meat isn’t normally this low in iron and
again a healthy 32-year-old who spends lots of time outdoors at work and on the
weekends apparently shouldn’t be this low in Vitamin D.
The dark and scary news is that this could mean I have stomach problems that could dramatically increase my risk of things like stomach cancer down track if we don’t sort it out, so its time to investigate further and that means an endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure for me, also known as a gastroscopy and colonoscopy. I head straight to see a gastroenterologist and book in my endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure as soon as possible so we can get straight back to our goal of trying for a baby.
is an Endoscopy and Colonoscopy Procedure?
An endoscopy procedure also known as a gastroscopy is a test that allows doctors to look at your stomach and part of your small intestine via your oesophagus. To say I was a little freaked out about a tube being put down my throat was an understatement but rest assured you are sedated and if your lucky like me knocked out altogether so you don’t remember a thing. A colonoscopy procedure looks at your colon aka large intestine and you guessed it, it enters via the other end – your anus.
you have private health insurance to help cover your endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure
but be aware that not all levels of private health insurance cover these procedures.
I was caught out by this as even though I had top level health cover in
preparation for obstetrics costs, I had only recently changed my cover level
and was told I was not covered for my endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure and
learnt an expensive lesson. To rectify this, I had to go through a long process
of proving that this was not a pre-existing medical condition and show that I
had only started going through the blood testing process and the actual endoscopy
and colonoscopy procedures after I updated my cover. In the end I got most of
my money back but be aware it would have cost me around $2000 per procedure and
even with cover you will still have to cough up for your excess and out of pocket
expenses which are usually a couple of hundred dollars depending on your excess
Its super important to follow the colonoscopy prep that your doctor gives you. If you don’t and your bowel is not empty it can make it very hard to conduct the procedure and you may even be sent away to do the colonoscopy prep all over again for another day. Trust me, you do not want to do this twice.
prep starts a few days before when it’s a good idea to start eating a low fibre
diet and definitely avoid things like nuts, grains and seeds.
The day before your Endoscopy and Colonoscopy procedure you need to start full on colonoscopy prep by fasting but can still consume clear drinks such as light-coloured cordials and juices, black tea, clear soup and of course lots of water. During this time, you will start your bowel prep for colonoscopy by preparing and drinking the colonoscopy prep drink that was given to you by your doctor. A few hours before your procedure you will be told to stop drinking as well.
Endoscopy and colonoscopy prep can be uncomfortable but there are some things you can do to make it more bearable.
Keep hydrated with lots of the allowable liquids to
prevent headaches and dehydration during your colonoscopy prep
Make sure you are at home and dressed comfortably
to spend lots of time in the toilet
Organise some Netflix and books to keep you occupied
or just rest on the couch or bed
Pre-prepare your colonoscopy prep drink and stick
it in the fridge to chill as this will make it much nicer to drink
Free yourself of any responsibilities such as work
or children during your colonoscopy prep so you can just relax at home between bowel
Buy some premium toilet paper, the softer the
better as things are going to get rough
to Avoid Before Colonoscopy Procedure
Part of your endoscopy and colonoscopy prep will be fasting and avoiding certain foods in the lead up to the procedure. When keeping hydrated, ensure you stick to light coloured drinks and particularly avoid those that are red, blue and purple. You should also avoid things like nuts and grains and generally stick to a low fibre diet in the days leading up to your colonoscopy procedure. Make sure you don’t eat any fruit or vegetable skins or seeds and don’t forget things like popcorn should also be avoided in the lead up to your colonoscopy procedure.
to Eat Before Colonoscopy
It’s really important to stay hydrated during the endoscopy and colonoscopy prep. I had terrible headaches and nausea during the fasting period and really should have tried to drink more fluids. Just make sure they are clear fluids including water, juices, cordial, black tea, clear soup and sports drinks in light colours like yellow. In the lead up week to your colonoscopy procedure you should stick to a low fibre diet such as white bread, pasta and rice, seedless fruit without skin, vegetables without the skin and well cooked, eggs and lean meat such as chicken and fish. Switching to soft foods a couple of days before your colonoscopy procedure may help with the prep when you need to empty your bowel.
Want to know all the gritty details of endoscopy and colonoscopy prep? Click here to read my minute by minute diary of the prep and procedure.
So, you’ve made the decision to have a baby? Now what? Well
yes, there is that important little factor known as intercourse that’s
involved, but just how can you prepare for pregnancy after 30 before you even start
Book an appointment with your GP
The first thing I did before we started trying for a baby was to see my doctor and ask her how to prepare for pregnancy after 30 and get a general health check done. Its important to make sure you have things like your papsmear up to date to screen for cervical cancer as you won’t be getting these things done while you’re pregnant and just give the old body a once over to see if there are any red flags. For me this included a blood test to see how all my vitamin levels were doing and check that all my vaccinations were covered. We also discussed any family history of health problems or pregnancy complications that may affect my pregnancy.
Lucky for me I got the tick of approval for vaccine coverage but unfortunately my bloods showed I was low in iron and vitamin D, even though I seemingly had a healthy lifestyle and diet, so I had to undergo further testing in this area which I’ll talk more about in another post. Depending on the type of birth control you might have been using, this is also a good time to discuss how to prepare for pregnancy after 30 by safely coming off contraception. For me, I was just using the contraceptive pill so it was as easy as stopping taking them and waiting for my cycle to regulate.
Visit the dentist
I have to say this is one thing I did not do in the
recommended steps on how to prepare for pregnancy after 30. I’m a massive
chicken when it comes to visiting the dentist so I ignored this advice. As it
turns out, I got through my pregnancy without any issues but gum disease has
been associated with pre-term labour and its also not recommended to get dental
work and x-rays etc done whilst pregnant so it is a good idea to get a healthy
mouth sorted in order to prepare for pregnancy after 30.
How to Prepare the Body for Pregnancy After 30
There are some important steps you can take to ensure
optimal health before you start trying to conceive. Here are my tops tips for
how to prepare your body for pregnancy after 30.
As I mentioned earlier, in my health check I discovered I
was deficient in iron and vitamin D so I began to take some supplements to make
up for this. Regardless of whether you are deficient or not, an important step
in preparing the body for pregnancy after 30 is to take a vitamin specifically
tailored for woman trying to get pregnant. For me, this was Elevit, but there
are plenty of brands on the market and your GP should be able to recommend one
for you if you are unsure. The main thing you’re looking for is that your
supplement contains Folic Acid which has been shown to reduce neural tube
defects such as spina bifida. The first few weeks after conception are said to
be when baby is developing vital organs so it’s important to be already taking
a supplement before you start trying as most woman don’t know they are pregnant
until its already after this critical stage and it can also take time to build
up the required levels that your body needs. I took Elevit throughout my
pregnancy as well as my additional vitamins in order to ensure my body was best
prepared for pregnancy after 30.
And the vitamins aren’t just for mum. I had my husband start
taking Menevit three months before we started trying in order to prepare his
body for pregnancy after 30 and up until we had a confirmed pregnancy. These
male fertility vitamins are meant to help maintain healthy sperm. The makers
claim the antioxidants it contains can improve sperm swimming and sperm-egg
joining and can also protect against DNA damage.
I wouldn’t say my diet was too bad to begin with but when
looking at how to prepare the body for pregnancy after 30, I thought it was
important to ensure I was eating really well and cutting out some things. I
stopped drinking alcohol except for the occasional glass on the weeks I would
find out I wasn’t pregnant that month. I wasn’t a smoker, but definitely tried
to minimise my exposure to second and third hand smoke. And I eliminated
caffeine from my diet. For me this wasn’t so hard as I wasn’t a coffee drinker,
but I did enjoy a weekly can of Coke or two. Caffeine has actually been shown
to be perfectly fine to continue consuming during pregnancy, so for me it was
just a personal decision that I wanted to minimise any chemicals I put into my
body and passed onto my baby. Its also time to start thinking about foods you
may not want to consume anymore due to higher chances of dangerous bacteria
e.g. soft cheeses but I’ll talk more on that in another post.
Weight and Fitness routine
I was already at a healthy weight so didn’t have to worry
about this one, but its recommended that you get to within a healthy weight
range in order to prepare the body for pregnancy after 30. Pregnancy is also
not a time to be starting a new fitness routine so make sure you’re already
doing any exercise you want to do throughout your pregnancy. For me, it was my
weekly barre class and occasional walks with the dog, which I kept up through
most of my pregnancy. This goes for your partner too as his health and fitness can
affect sperm health.
There are a few toxins to be mindful of once you start
preparing for pregnancy after 30. Things like cat litter eg cat litter, paint,
cleaning products or any chemical-based product really. If you have a cat, it
is recommended that you get someone else to do this job during your pregnancy.
We were moving out of our house a few months after bub was due so we didn’t end
up doing any painting for the nursery. As far as cleaning, I was lucky enough
to have a cleaner every fortnight due to working full time and if I needed hard
chemical stuff done outside her duties then I got hubby to do it; things like
oven cleaners and shower gels. You probably know the ones because you
practically choke when you use them on a normal basis. Another option is to
look into more natural cleaning products such as vinegar, bi-carbonate soda and
tea tree oil.
As a little girl, I loved spending hours playing dolls, meticulously looking after my babies, cuddling and feeding them, rocking the wooden cradle made by my dad and dressing them up in pretty dresses. I would play happy families in the doll’s house, setting up all the furniture just so and could spend days and days playing out scenarios with my sister and our Barbie dolls. So, when I got to adulthood and contemplated not having kids, it came as a bit of a shock to many family and friends and maybe even myself. I mean having babies was just part of life’s plan right?
Not having kids
In my late teens and early 20’s I had it all planned out, the stereotypical Australian dream where I’d graduate university, buy a house in the burbs, marry my high school sweetheart and pop out a little cherub or two. It would be just like the movies. Then somewhere along the way I was dumped (for the hundredth and final time, thank god), added on some extra time at uni (because what’s one degree when you can have two. No really I just wanted to be like Van Wilder) and suddenly I was mid 20’s, just starting my career and enjoying a carefree life of living with my new boyfriend. The years ticked on, we travelled the world, bought our first place together, moved interstate and back again, and nearly a decade later finally tied the knot.
Along the way, I would get the same questions over and over at family functions. “So, when are you having kids?”. Somewhere between being the fun auntie doing bombs into the pool and having a few too many champagnes with cousin Stacey, I started throwing out about maybe not having kids, only to be told that not having children would give me regrets later in life and that I WOULD change my mind. Of course, my husband and I had discussed kids along the way. He’d asked me do I want kids? and I’d asked him the same. We were both on the same page and agreed that not having kids was the best scenario for our lives right now. We were young, carefree and enjoying our DINK (double income no kids) lifestyle. We had no responsibilities, no one to answer to but ourselves and not having kids meant we were free to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. I started to think maybe not having kids was part of the long-term plan for us. Lots of people, particularly in our generation were choosing to focus on career, travel and having a wine and dine lifestyle, afforded mostly by the freedoms (both literal and financial) of not having kids.
And to top it all off, I was happy right? Sure I knew I wouldn’t regret my life if I DID have kids but I also thought (and still think) people can be happy if they choose to not have kids as well.
Best Age for Pregnancy
Then one day while driving back down the coast from visiting family, I asked my husband again “should we have children?” His response was that he was happy to have a baby if I wanted one and I kind of felt the same. I started Googling the best age for pregnancy and the best age to have a baby and reading out the pregnancy risks by age to my husband. Some of the risks for pregnancy after 30 were alarming and part of the reason I had raised the should we have children topic again was because I knew at 31 my biological clock was starting to tick very loudly. So, I posed a different question and asked “do you ever want to have kids or are you happy not having kids at all?” My husband thought for a moment and then said “I definitely think we will have kids at some stage.”
Deciding to have a baby
This was the only information I needed. I too thought we would probably have kids eventually and since physically the best age for pregnancy is sooner rather than later, I told him that I felt like even though we didn’t feel 100% ready, I don’t think you ever do with such a life changing decision and so if not having kids was not an option for us then the best age to have a baby was the present and it was going to be now or never, so to speak. He agreed and it was like a weight was immediately lifted, a weird feeling of relief that we’d made a decision. It was like suddenly I couldn’t imagine not having kids in our future and with my husband’s full support we were ready to add the next chapter to our story.
How or when did you decide to have kids? Was it something you or your partner always wanted from an early age or did you question not having kids at some stage in your life?