A woman’s chance of becoming pregnant decreases with age, particularly after the age of 35 because both the number and quality of eggs get lower. A man’s ability to have a baby also declines with age, though not as much as women’s. If the male partner is over 40, this can make it harder for the woman to get pregnant, especially if she is also over 40. However more than 8 in 10 of couples will conceive within a year if the woman is under 40 years of age, and they have regular sex (every 2 to 3 days) without using contraception.
- At any age, it is a good idea to be as healthy as possible before you get pregnant.
- See your GP if you haven’t conceived after a year of trying or within six months of trying to conceive if you are over 36.
While most women have healthy pregnancies and babies, the chance of complications in pregnancy increases with age. Such complications include miscarriage, pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine) or having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality, for instance Downs syndrome. All women, regardless of their age, have a chance of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality, however this chance increases with maternal age.
All women are offered antenatal screening to detect baby’s that have a high chance of conditions such as Downs syndrome.
- It is important that you attend all your antenatal care appointments so problems can be spotted as early as possible.