Improving egg quality after 40 naturally is what I focused on during my fertility journey. After having my miscarriage in 2020 and subsequently finding out that all of my eggs that were previously frozen at age 39 were not viable due to some form of trisomy, I knew I needed to focus on the internal. I already lived a healthy lifestyle but I knew I needed to take it a few steps further. I wanted to truly prime my body and give it the best possible chance of a positive outcome when it came to producing healthy eggs.
Please note that these tips and supplements are ones that I took based on my doctor recommendations and on my own research. Please consult with a fertility specialist or your local doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.
If you’re 35 or older, you are classified as advanced maternal age. Essentially what that means for most women is that not only does the number of eggs (reserve) diminish each year but so does the quality of your eggs. A healthy baby consists of 46 chromosomes with 23 of those coming from the woman. If the human eggs produced have less than 23 chromosomes it is considered genetically imbalanced and may not lead to a healthy pregnancy.
With that knowledge in hand, my first step in improving egg quality after 40 naturally was making a fertility appointment to determine what my current egg reserve level was, determine if I had any hormonal imbalance and check my overall fertility health. The first test my fertility specialist did was to check my hormone levels including my AMH level. AMH or Anti-Mullerian Hormone helps know how many potential egg cells a woman has left. This is known as the ovarian reserve. Second they did a day 3 FSH test or Follicle Stimulating Hormone test. This hormone helps stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. Lastly they did an antral follicle ultrasound to essentially count the number of follicles I produced in that particular cycle to gauge the number of eggs I would potentially produce if I needed to go the route of IVF or In vitro fertilization.
Given I had all positive numbers for my age, I felt confident in moving forward with trying again.
When speaking with my fertility specialist there were several supplements she recommended I start as a regimen as there has been research that proves they play an important role in egg health, reproductive function and hormonal balance. All of these supplements help improve egg quality after 40 naturally.
PRENATAL VITAMIN: I feel like this one goes without saying. Prenatal vitamins are specifically formulated to provide the nutrients needed to support a healthy pregnancy and overall health. Taking ones that have a folic acid, which supports brain health in a fetus, and vitamin d are important.
VITAMIN C: The first supplement my doctor recommended. Besides being an excellent source to boost your immune system, vitamin C plays an important role in fertility as well. Vitamin C has been proven to increase the levels of progesterone in women which is an important hormone when trying to conceive. Of course you can get your Vitamin C from a supplement however there are many foods that also contain Vitamin C. Incorporate foods such as: Cherries, oranges, red and green peppers, lemons, spinach, and strawberries as they contain the most potent forms of vitamin C.
ACAI BERRY: This supplement my fertility doctor highly recommended based on a new study their clinic, CCRM, facilitated. Essentially, it was found that high doses of Acai berry can improve IVF outcomes. Given (at the time) we thought I would need to do another round of harvesting eggs she recommended I start including this supplement in my overall regimen. The particular antioxidant rich supplement I took was specifically formulated by CCRM and does require a prescription. According to the study: “Oxidative stress, an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body, is known to substantially contribute to ovarian dysfunction and subsequent diminished egg quality, especially among women of advanced maternal age.
DHEA: In doing my own research I found that many times women of advanced maternal age suffered from poor egg quality was due to a lack of the hormone DHEA. This particular hormone is a natural hormone produced by the adrenal glands that the body converts into testosterone and estrogen. It typically peaks in your early 20s and then subsequently declines over the years. Studies have shown that this supplement helps balances the hormones levels to those of younger counterparts and therefore increases the quality of eggs and the quantity of eggs.
ACUPUNCTURE – During my fertility journey I spoke with a friend who credits her successful pregnancy was due to acupuncture. Acupuncture was something I was familiar with but not specifically for reproductive health. I figured why not include this in my regimen as (at this point) I truly did not have anything to lose. Worst case, I would just be more at ease and less stressed during the process.
Acupuncture has been known to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs which in turn provides a better chance of positive effects on your own eggs. I did a few sessions with a local acupuncturist that specialized in fertility and she did recommend one supplement in particular (listed below) that I take given how my body was reacting to the treatments. In all honesty, I don’t know how much this played a part in being able to get pregnant as I stopped treatments about 2 months before getting pregnant but I can say that it did tremendously help with my menstrual cycle and reduced the amount of symptoms, such as bloating and cramping, I experienced prior to.
7 FORESTS WOMENS TREASURE: This was the supplement my acupuncturist recommended I take. I took this for about 1 month to help clear my kidneys and increase overall blood flow to my extremities. It is known as a Chinese herb that helps with several women’s fertility issues.
Beyond the supplement regimen I also took it as an opportunity to really focus on my diet as well. I reduced my alcohol consumption and ensured I maintained a balanced diet. I mainly follow a macro based diet which includes eating lean meats, healthy carbohydrates, and variety of vegetables. A sample day of eating would be:
- Breakfast: 2 pieces of toast with avocado and egg whites
- Snack 1: Protein smoothie
- Lunch: Turkey meatballs with whole grain pasta and a side salad
- Snack 2: 2 rice cakes with tuna fish
- Dinner: BBQ pulled chicken breast with sweet potato
- Snack 3: Small salad with shrimp
While your eating style does not have to mimic mine, I would suggest incorporating more healthy foods into your diet and making the necessary lifestyle changes to support a healthy pregnancy.
In addition to eating well, I also ensured I kept up with my daily workouts and maintained a healthy weight. This was a great way to help manage my stress levels and maintain an overall balance.
Lastly, while this isn’t something you can take, I did ensure I kept a positive mindset during my journey. I ensured I kept close family and friends around who could speak positivity into me when I wasn’t able to do it for myself. I listened to countless podcasts and sermons that helped me truly believe that becoming a mother was not out of reach and could happen for me.
Whatever you believe in, God, Universe or a higher power, it’s important that you ask, believe and walk in faith that you have already received it. To those reading this that is still waiting for their miracle, I’m wishing you all the baby dust in your journey.