Should I have another baby? Will I even be able to conceive?! THESE are the questions I’m trying to answer, my friends. I’m about to turn 38 years old (with a 43-year-old husband) and the issue of FERTILITY is a weekly discussion in our house. Since I’m in my late 30s and considered “geriatric” by the medical community, in terms of pregnancy, I figured I should talk to an expert to see if I have tumbleweeds rolling around in my ovaries. 🤣
I talked with reproductive endocrinologist and AHN fertility specialist, Dr. Fabiola Balmir, who is SMART, WONDERFUL and CARING! She explained (in understandable medical terms) what to do as you get closer to 40, how to prepare your body to conceive and what it means to “freeze your eggs.”
What should a woman in her late 30s know if she wants to have another baby?
DR. BALMIR: When you turn 40, there is a significant difference with the quality of your eggs. Time becomes a factor and you need to plan. If you’ve been trying to conceive for 6 months without success, make an appointment with your doctor. If you had an uncomplicated first pregnancy and delivery then you’re a good candidate to get pregnant again. You just have to consider time as a factor as you decide how large of a family you’d like to have.
How much does individual health play into it? If you are a “healthy person” does that matter?
DR. BALMIR: We want to have “good health” all the time, especially going into a pregnancy as it relates to our fertility. There’s no special “fertility diet” to follow or certain foods to eat, just make sure you’re eating a variety of healthy foods with the right portion sizes. Having a good body mass index is also important because it will give us a better prognosis for pregnancy. When we start to eat diets that are overwhelmed by saturated and excess fats, it can affect our cycles and how we respond to hormones during fertility treatments. Regarding exercise, there’s no ideal exercise program to follow. Just getting a healthy amount of exercise before and during pregnancy is ideal!
If you had a good pregnancy the first time, does that matter for the second?
DR. BALMIR: What you had during your first pregnancy, whether it was easy or complicated, can be an indicator for how the second one will go. If your first pregnancy and delivery was complicated or difficult, it’s important to meet with your doctor who can help come up with a multidisciplinary approach for the second pregnancy. Your doctor will set up some preventative measures to help with the second pregnancy.
What can we do to help with conception and pregnancy?
DR. BALMIR: You can optimize your natural fertility in a number of ways! Use ovulation prediction kits to monitor your cycle and plan for intercourse during peak conception times, take a high quality prenatal or multivitamin, get exercise (especially cardiovascular exercise) several days a week and avoid excessive drinking, smoking and all drug activity!
What about freezing our eggs? DR. BALMIR: Fertility preservation where we harvest your eggs and freeze them is a great option and it’s becoming more popular. While this is a nice safety net for us to consider, it’s not a full proof method. At age 40, about 80% of our egg supply is not considered “normal” which can lead to miscarriages and difficulty conceiving. I recommend to my patients to consider conception sooner rather than later.
MYTHS TO DISPEL: There isn’t a preferred position during intercourse to conceive, and you don’t have to lay down for 30 minutes to help with conception. There’s no “fertility diet” or special vitamins to take to help with conceiving…just eating a healthy diet with lots of different foods and getting exercise several times a week is best.
To make an appointment with Dr. Balmir, you can find her at the AHN Center for Reproductive Medicine at AHN McCandless. 9335 McKnight Rd, Suite 240 Pittsburgh, PA 15237 Tel: 412.847.1166