Things to Consider When Planning a Pregnancy in Your Late 30s
Technically, pregnancy is only possible between a few days before and after ovulation. This boils down between the 10th and 18th day of the menstrual cycle for most women. In women with long cycles the window is wider and vice versa for women with short cycles.
Avoid excess fat and sugar and treat yourself to fresh fruits and vegetables
Age is one of the most important factors affecting fertility in women, and fertility declines sharply once a woman reaches the age of 35. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the fertility rate is 94% within 3 years for women. aged 35 and 77% for women aged 38. These are conservative estimates, and some studies have shown actual fertility to be lower than reported above, especially when considering the South Asian population.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it. Many websites offer tips and tricks for improving fertility, but none of these methods have stood up to the scrutiny of science. That doesn’t mean women over 35 can’t conceive, and there are many success stories of women giving birth in their late 30s and, in fact, some in their early 40s.
There are several ways to protect and improve your fertility.
Avoid excess fat and sugar and treat yourself to fresh fruits and vegetables. Pay attention to your protein intake. Indian women are notoriously deficient in protein.
This shouldn’t be a problem if you follow a balanced diet. If you are considering taking supplements, talk to your doctor first. One of the vitamins indicated for women who want to become pregnant is folic acid, and it would be wise to start taking folic acid supplements. Supplementation with vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids is very useful. Again, consult your doctor.
Include at least two to three days per week of strength training. Doing cardio every day is a good idea. If you are overweight or obese, reducing your weight is a good idea.
Avoid smoking and alcohol
Consuming substances like cigarettes and alcohol can affect your fertility. So don’t eat them.
Manage stress levels
This is easier said than done because stress can wreck your hormones and, therefore, your reproductive system.
Timing of intercourse is very important
Technically, pregnancy is only possible between a few days before and after ovulation. This boils down between the 10th and 18th day of the menstrual cycle for most women. In women with long cycles, the window is wider and vice versa for women with short cycles. You should have regular sex during this time and you should see your OB-GYN for periconceptional advice. Also talk to your partner, discuss any issues with them, and make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to kids. If so, conceive as soon as possible. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women over 35 who do not conceive within six months of regular unprotected sex see their doctor and undergo infertility testing. This does not mean that they are sterile, but it is a preventive method to ensure that women receive adequate treatment while there is still time.
Consulting a healthcare professional is essential if:
1. You have irregular periods.
2. You have a history of abortion/miscarriage, gynecological disease, thyroid disorder, heart problems, liver disease, etc.
3. You have a history of prolonged illness, major surgery, or long-term drug treatment for any reason.
4. You have someone in your first degree family with a history of stillbirth, more than two miscarriages, a child with genetic conditions, especially Down syndrome.
Many studies have shown that South Asian women (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, etc.) are 2-3 years ahead of Caucasians. Most age and fertility data are Western. Indian women in general should ideally attempt to complete their family before the age of 34.
However, this is not a rule and many women can conceive as late as 42, but the chances decrease significantly over time. Assisted reproductive technologies (IVF) have come a long way in helping older women become parents.
(Dr. Kaberi Banerjee, MD of Advanced Fertility and Gynecology Center)
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