Monday, May 20, 2013

Pregnant At 45: The Four Steps To How I Conceived Naturally At Age 45

As a child, if anyone had told me I'd be pregnant at 45, I would have told them they were nuts. I'd done the math. I knew that by the year 2000 I'd be 40 and much too old to really enjoy the millennium. Just thinking about that made me sad... after all, to a little kid, 40 is practically dead.

But becoming a first time mom at 46? Seriously?

And yet there I stood beside the bathroom sink, staring in disbelief at the white plastic wand and the little pink test strips shouting "positive". It was the summer of 2005 and I was 45 and pregnant!

It couldn't be! Two years before, the fertility doctor had told me that I probably had no viable eggs left.

So I tested again. Still positive.

For a woman who had never figured out whether she wanted children or not, pregnancy came not a moment too soon. Less than a year after my baby was born, the hot flashes started. Now, at age 52, I'm pretty much "done".

But I digress. How, you might ask, does a woman become pregnant at 45 without even trying? How is that even fair? I realize that plenty of women have moved mountains to try to conceive, spent months or years and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars just to get to that positive test result.

Well, I'd like to say that it was just dumb luck but that wouldn't help anyone, would it? Instead, as I thought back, I realized that everything I'd been doing for about 20 months prior had helped lead me to a successful pregnancy.

Here are the 4 basic steps I followed.

Step 1: Eliminating Stress

Everyone knows that a certain amount of stress keeps you on your toes. But too much of it can cause serious health problems. Stress depresses your immune system and ages you prematurely. It's been linked to depression, heart disease and even cancer. So it's no wonder that women under stress can have trouble conceiving.

I'd been under enormous career-related stress for almost 20 years. So, 20 months prior to becoming pregnant, I stepped away from my career and took some much-needed time off.

Step 2: Proper Nutrition

Even though my weight had never been an issue, my doctor was concerned that my cholesterol was high and getting higher. So I went to a nutritionist who made me keep a food diary. I had to stay away from too many sugars and fats and focus on eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.

This was way different from my usual junk food diet. "Comfort foods" had always been my way of dealing with stress!

Step 3: Exercise

Instead of the butt-kicking karate classes I'd been used to, I decided to go for something a little more relaxing and meditative. I began with yoga and pilates twice a week, and added a little cardio training to keep my heart healthy.

The health benefits of yoga are well documented. (There must be a reason why this ancient form of exercise and mediation has survived for so many centuries!) I found that my exercise regimen helped me feel balanced, flexible, and strong.

Step 4: Acupressure

Since I'd been having chronic headaches for a year or so, I decided to try shiatsu massage. My shiatsu specialist, Anna, was from Russia where she had also been a midwife (I learned this AFTER discovering I was pregnant!).

Anna explained that Shiatsu was a form of acupressure and worked much like acupuncture but without penetrating the skin.

According to experts, women who are trying to conceive "can benefit from acupuncture and herbs because of the potential effect of improved ovarian and follicular function. Additionally, acupuncture can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining."**

She said that by focusing on certain pressure points, she could help "unblock energy" in my body so that it would "flow" better. This would help with my headaches and my overall energy level and sense of well being.

Anna also encouraged me to loosen up and have more fun!

With that advice in mind, on a warm Summer night in June, my husband and I cracked open a bottle of white wine and settled in for a relaxing evening of carefree fun. I'm usually a worrier: If I can't find a big problem, I'll magnify a little one. But I decided I was going to let go of all that petty stuff, even if it was just for the evening.

And that, my friends, was the night I became pregnant with my precious little boy.

I realize that not everyone can duplicate everything I did. Even those who CAN won't be guaranteed they'll become pregnant. But I do hope my story will help and inspire women who believe that becoming pregnant at 45, or at any age, is beyond the realm of possibility.

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