Good news! All those women who have pushed their plans of motherhood to later stages of their lives need no longer worry about conceiving. A new fertility study suggests that pregnancy in older mothers is not just possible, but also easy.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have identified a fertility hormone that improves the condition of the womb lining. And this prepares the uterus to conceive easily.
According to the research, the hormone Dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA can double the number of proteins that prepare the uterus for pregnancy.
“The hormone helps prime cells for implantation, a vital stage in early pregnancy when a fertilised egg attaches to the womb lining,” the study published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility suggests.
Pregnancy in older mothers now easy
Typically our uterus releases certain hormones during the menstrual cycle. These hormones send signals to the womb lining to create additional proteins so the fertilised egg can attach itself to it.
As women grow older, the production of these proteins decreases. This reduces the chances of implantation of the fertilised egg, making it difficult for older women to conceive.
However, with the findings of this study, women over 40 can also experience motherhood with ease.
Dr Douglas Gibson, lead author, MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh, explains, “A fertilised egg will implant only if the conditions are just right and we were excited to see that DHEA and androgens might help improve this environment in cells.”
How the scientists uncovered this hormone
For the purpose of the study, scientists tested tissues donated by women in their 40s. They treated their womb lining with DHEA and saw a significant increase of proteins that enable faster implantation.
Pregnancy in older mothers: If this study proves successful for more women in their 40s, it can help them conceive with ease. | Image courtesy: stock image
In addition, the study uncovered that this hormone also “increased the production of active androgens.” These are the hormones found in men – suggesting that “these could underlie the improvement.”
“The findings will help us develop studies for potential therapies but more research is needed before we can tell if this approach could be used to help women who are struggling to conceive,” Dr Gibson shared in the press release.
Why this study is groundbreaking
The scientists claim that this study is groundbreaking because it will give women over 40 a better chance to conceive.
“This study is important in learning more about what’s required for a successful implantation and healthy pregnancy. This research may be in its early stages, but it’s worthwhile because it lays the groundwork to uncovering potential treatments down the road to help women trying to conceive,” shared Dr Stephen Meader, Program Manager for Reproductive Health at the MRC, funders of the research.
You may know that women who wish to experience motherhood in their 40s face several challenges. In fact, the chances of miscarriage could also increase in older pregnancies. Many of them then opt for egg freezing and even In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).
But if this study proves successful for more women in their 40s, it can help them conceive with ease when combined with IVF. For now, if you are a woman in her late 30s and are planning to conceive, know that it is a possibility.
Pregnancy in older mothers: how to get pregnant after 35
While age is important factor in getting pregnant, if a woman follows a healthy diet, regular exercise and healthy lifestyle then even after 35 years of age, an easy pregnancy is possible.
Taking care of yourself is the best solution to slowly prepare your body for conception. Here are a few things to bear in mind in case you are trying to conceive:
- Visit a gynaecologist to discuss your health and any pre-existing medical conditions.
- Seek regular prenatal care. Regular prenatal visits help your health care provider monitor your health as well as your baby’s health. Mention any signs or symptoms that concern you. Remember that talking to your health care provider is likely to put your mind at ease.
- Get on a healthy diet.
- Gain weight wisely and do not eat for two.
- Engage in regular physical activity to stay fit, healthy, active and energetic.
- Avoid intake of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs as they can result in medical problems in your unborn child and even cause miscarriages.
- Clear any medications or supplements with your health care provider ahead of time.
- Learn about prenatal testing for chromosomal abnormalities.
Sources: Medical Daily, University of Edinburgh
ALSO READ: Women in their 40s giving more birth that women in their 20s