With a higher education and a life driven by goals, the home and hearth no longer remain a woman’s domain. Getting married, having kids and fending for them no longer remain the sole priorities of a woman’s life- which is indeed an inspiring change… But is there a downside to it too?The average age of pregnancy, according to a study conducted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, is now 30 years, which was, a couple of decades ago, 23 years.
As infertility specialists, we routinely see women in their thirties or forties, trying to conceive, and commonly face a lot of gynaecological, emotional, social, and medical problems characteristic to this age group.
Fibroids, endometriosis and adenomyosis are the ghostly trio that may hamper not just a woman’s fertility, as well as may cause an impact in her general well-being by causing heavy bleeding or severe pain during her menses. These problems are commonly seen in women who have never gotten pregnant, and commence usually in the late twenties and advance with advancing age.With advancing age, both men and women are susceptible to medical problems, which arise nowadays at an earlier age thanks to lifestyle-related changes- namely, Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and so on- which may have an adverse effect on the baby during pregnancy.
A woman, unlike a man, is endowed only with a fixed number of oocytes, or eggs. With each menstrual cycle, this reserve starts depleting, and as the woman nears the age of menopause, very few oocytes remain in her body. Besides this, not just the number, but also the quality of oocytes declines with increasing age. Women who get pregnant after 35 years of age are at a greater risk of carrying a fetus with genetic abnormalities such as Downs syndrome, Edwards syndrome etc.
Hence, women who delay pregnancy for too long are often also faced with emotional stress and social pressures, as their biological clock starts ticking.In addition to this, one should also acknowledge the rising incidence of male factor in infertility. Even though a man can produce sperms throughout his life, with lifestyle changes and stress, men with reduced sperm counts or motility are commonly seen attending infertility clinics at younger ages than in the previous years.
So the bottomline remains- one should plan pregnancy early.
However, how early is too early?
Teenage pregnancy is still not encouraged, since the girl in the ‘growing age’ still requires to complete the nutritional requirements of her own body, neither is she emotionally mature to handle motherhood, which is a full-time job!
Hence, the age between 21-30 is the best time to plan one’s pregnancy- but only after ensuring a pre-conceptional check up and supplementation with folic acid tablets for a healthy development of the baby, with minimum health risks to the mother!
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