Focus on Women

Waiting to conceive? Ensure your healthiest possible pregnancy

If you’re over age 35 and planning to have children, you’ve got plenty of company.

“Many women are postponing childbearing to their mid- to late-30s due to societal and educational demands,” said Dr. Larisa Gavrilova-Jordan from Augusta University Reproductive Medicine and Infertility Associates.

However, age plays an important role in how easy it is to conceive, and women over age 35 naturally have a lower chance of getting pregnant. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than six months, a consultation with a fertility specialist can be beneficial in choosing a strategy to shorten the time to conception.

Ensuring that you are at your optimum health is also important at this time and can help increase your chances of pregnancy. Take these steps:

Step 1: Eat a sensible diet.

Make sure you get the right nutrients in your diet, along with specific prenatal supplements that include folic acid.

Step 2: Abstain from alcohol, cigarettes, and — yes — coffee.

Alcohol, smoking, and caffeine can all negatively affect fertility. However, you can limit your caffeine intake to no more than 200 mg a day. Depending on how it’s brewed, that equals one cup or 8 oz. of coffee.

Step 3: Get moving.

Physical activity tones muscles and improves your cardiovascular health. Most importantly, it reduces stress, which can increase your chances of pregnancy.

Finally, when you become pregnant, make sure to get regular prenatal care. Discuss any preexisting conditions or medications you may be on, and if you’re over age 35, consider special prenatal testing such as amniocentesis and chorionic villi sampling since your child may be at higher risk for chromosomal defects such as Down syndrome.

If you’ve waited to conceive, achieving pregnancy brings with it a special joy. When it happens, continue to ensure your and your baby’s good health throughout your pregnancy.

Still waiting?
An evaluation by a fertility specialist starts with a discussion of family history and blood and genetic tests. To get started, call 706-721-4959, or visit

About the author

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.