Getting Pregnant over 40
Gemma Collins has revealed that she suffered her second miscarriage during lockdown and that she’s determined to start a family this year.
Like many women who dream of having their first baby in 2021, Gemma is 40 years old and suffers from PCOS. Both of these factors are obstacles to fertility, so what advice would the experts give Gemma about getting ready for conception and pregnancy?
Get a move on for free IVF and other treatments
Statistically, a woman over 40 but under 45 has a 5% chance per cycle of falling pregnant naturally. If she opts for “Mild IVF” which is less invasive, this rises to 9%. With the full IVF process, this jumps to a 20% chance.
With IVF for mature women, sooner is better than later whether you’re going private or not. While Gemma can no doubt afford as many cycles of IVF as she wants, many of us opt for IVF on the NHS first, saving us thousands of pounds. Gemma is actually entitled to free NHS treatment too, provided she fulfils the conditions. There is a waiting list though, which varies a lot but averages out at around 4 months. It is often quicker to go private. Not everybody has the option of private treatment though.
There are strict conditions and cut-off points for this, and funding for IVF varies all over the country. Women trying to get pregnant over 40 are only offered 1 cycle of IVF for free, and that is only under certain strict conditions. If you are near the age of 40 and still struggling, it’s very wise to begin investigating treatment as soon as possible. If you do happen to fall pregnant naturally, then you can simply cancel your treatment and let the next woman in line move forwards!
Gemma’s partner can also take advantage of our wonderful UK health system to get his sperm checked out for free too.
As the newspapers never tire of reminding us, female fertility falls dramatically in the years after the age of 40. Egg quality is one of the things that declines with age, so Gemma may be advised to freeze some of her eggs, either for IVF herself or even for a surrogate. Freezing eggs when your fertility is time-sensitive gives you more time and more options. People are successfully getting pregnant over 40 you can too!
Therapy for trauma and unresolved issues
Gemma has suffered an incredibly traumatic miscarriage, which she has been very open about. Undergoing therapy for this will help her to resolve the complex and deep feelings that surround the experience of pregnancy for her so far, and positively impact her mental health as she begins her fertility journey again.
Gemma’s on/off partner James Argent has struggled with his fair share of demons too, and it would be ideal for both of them to undergo therapy to prepare them for their fertility journey.
Weight and general health
While we all love beautiful Gemma Collins just the way she is, the brutal truth is that carrying excess weight can affect your chances of conception. It can also be a barrier to receiving timely IVF treatment, as many clinics have a BMI cut-off point. The ideal BMI for IVF is between 19 and 30, although some clinics will treat women with a slightly higher BMI.
On the other side of things, women with higher body weight are statistically slightly more likely to have twins, as our amazing bodies are able to figure out that our curvier sisters are able to nourish more than one baby.
It is generally advised that women work towards a healthy BMI and overall good health if they are trying to get pregnant, but PCOS can make it incredibly hard to lose weight and keep it off. An expert would probably advise Gemma to seek out a dietician who specialises in working with women with PCOS and to work with a personal trainer who can help her to stay on track with her goals.
As PCOS affects everyone in different ways, Gemma might also benefit from both conventional and holistic therapies and practices. Popular therapies and exercises to help manage PCOS are acupuncture and yoga.
Managing PCOS with medical help
A full check-up and a frank chat with the doctor about PCOS symptoms and management should be the first port of call, for anyone trying for a baby with PCOS. There are various treatments that can help to support fertility, so it’s very much worth booking an appointment about this as soon as possible.
Supplements and gut health
All pre-pregnant women are advised to start supplementing with basic fertility nutrition such as folic acid, but it’s possible to go much further than this.
Vitamin D is a very fashionable vitamin to take at the moment, because of its connection with supporting the immune system to fight off a COVID-19 infection. However, it’s also an important vitamin for fertility in both women and men. There are lots of other vitamins and minerals that Gemma may be advised to begin taking, to support her fertility and her general health.
Gut health is a relatively new but very exciting development in the fertility world at the moment. While we’ve all heard of the term “healthy bacteria”, there is a specialist product designed to bridge the connection between the microbiome (the body’s natural & healthy bacteria colony) and fertility. As the experts that advise celebs on their fertility love to recommend the very latest treatments for their VIP clients, it’s highly likely that an expert would recommend a specialist probiotic diet and/or treatment such as NUA Fertility.
It’s not all about Gemma
While it’s still true that women tend to do most of the heavy-lifting when it comes to fertility matters, infertility problems are actually more 50/50 between the sexes. Plenty of men have issues with their sperm count and motility, and both age and lifestyle can contribute to their sperm quality being compromised.
Gone are the days when all men have to do is have a little check-up at the doctors to see if their sperm is OK. Specialists can now analyse sperm for DNA issues and fragmentation, which may not be picked up by a basic NHS test.
Being mindful that sometimes infertility isn’t always caused by one single issue, can really help to maximise the chances of falling pregnant. If Gemma’s partner is willing to have his sperm examined, and to improve his lifestyle, avoiding drink, drugs and unhealthy food, exercising regularly and generally taking care of his physical and mental health, that would really support Gemma’s dream of starting a family this year.
It’s very fashionable to go plant-based or even full ethical vegan right now. While some might dismiss this as a trend, other health professionals, therapists and fertility experts believe that cutting out meat, dairy and even eggs and honey can have a beneficial effect on both general health, and fertility. It’s completely possible to be totally healthy on a plant-based diet, but it does require a little bit of adjustment. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex is a great example of an older mum who follows a plant-based diet & appears to be thriving and fertile as she heads towards her 40’s.
Sleep is absolutely vital for health, and the brain controls all of the cycles in the body.
A sleep expert would recommend that Gemma works on maintaining a healthy sleep routine, including a ban on smartphone and tablet use for both her and her partner after bedtime! Discover more about sleep cycles and fertility here.
Are you in your 40’s and looking to start a family? We have loads of resources to help you in getting pregnant over 40.
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