Are you worried about your age and how it relates to your fertility? Well, you are not alone. Nearly every woman I work with — whether she is 29 or 39 — is worried about her age and how it may affect her ability to get pregnant. These women are worried because they read online about age-related diminished ovarian reserve or their doctor told them they should consider getting pregnant before the age of 35 or else run the risk of fertility challenges or they have a friend who is having a hard time getting pregnant due to her age. I get it, there is a lot of information out there about this topic, and although it is true that ovarian reserve (how many eggs you have left in your ovaries) does decline with age, that is not the entire picture.
Truth: women in their 40’s have been having babies for a long, long time.
Here are some facts:
● 82% of women aged 35–39 who have sex twice/week conceived naturally within one year of trying (compared to 86% of women aged 27–34)
● 78% of women aged 35–40 who had sex at their fertile times got pregnant within one year of trying (compared to 84% of 20–34 year olds)
When it comes to fertility and getting pregnant, overall health should be more of the concern than a woman’s actual age. As the body of knowledge has grown in the field of epigenetics, one thing has become very, very clear: chronological age pales in comparison to physiological age. What this means is that the number of years old you are means less than the actual age of the cells in your body (and the cells in your uterus and ovaries). Epigenetics is a branch of science that states that how we live our life dictates how we age, or better said: how our cells age. Once we thought that our genetics were set in stone and that age related diseases (or any disease for that matter) would happen to us because we had the gene for it. Epigenetics disproves that theory, showing rather that how we live our life — nutritionally, emotionally and physically — affects how or when diseases happen (or don’t) for us.
From a Traditional Oriental Medical (the medicine I practice) perspective, we say that if ia women lives in accordance with the Tao she should be fertile until the age of 49. Basically what living in accordance with the Tao means is living a balanced life where you sleep enough, manage your emotions well, nourish your body with nutrient dense foods, move regularly, take time to reflect, be still and avoid environmental toxins. On the other hand, if you consume pesticide-ridden foods, regularly apply bath and beauty products that are laced with harmful chemicals, skip out on sleep and meals, don’t exercise, poorly manage stress — you are out of sync with nature — with the Tao — you will age you fast and give diseases prime opportunity to strike in your body. And, when it comes to fertility, epigenetics is now showing us that it’s not so much about the number of years old you are, but that it’s more about how old your cells are. It all comes down to how you are aging, not how aged you are.
You can actually make lifestyle changes that can positively impact your health (and, dare I say — slow down the aging process). How this relates to the whole age-fertility conversation is that you can shift your lifestyle to support the health of the cells in your body and thereby improve the quality of the eggs in your ovaries. Said another way: even if you have fewer eggs left, you can still improve the condition of the eggs in your body. This is BIG news. Often I have seen a 28-year-old woman in poorer health (and fertility) than a 38-year-old woman. Perhaps the 28 year old has more eggs left than her older counterpart, but if they aren’t good quality eggs, fertility challenges will still be an issue and getting pregnant (and staying pregnant) will be difficult.
I know firsthand how epigenetics works, as I got pregnant naturally and easily at the age of 40 by living the lifestyle that I preach — one that supports the health of my cells and my physiological age. If you want to learn even more about how you can live in a way to best support your fertility and your body’s aging process, check out my in depth online offering: The Yes, You Can Get Pregnant Ecourse or pick up a copy of my book Yes, You Can Get Pregnant: Natural Ways to Improve Your Fertility Now & Into Your 40’s. If you want to work with me one on one, visit my website to learn more.
Originally published at medium.com