The optimum age for childbearing is between 20 to 35 years. There is a gradual decrease in fertility for women after the age of 30. The likelihood of fertility problems increase in women over the age of 35. However, more and more couples are waiting longer to have children especially with women who have careers. For them, the best time to conceive is when they are physically, emotionally and financially prepared. One out of five child births are from women over 35 years of age. Of course, waiting too long can have it’s disadvantages. While women in their late 30s and 40s are still likely to have a healthy baby, they are more prone to complications during pregnancy. The risk of miscarriage and birth defects, usually from increased chromosomal abnormalities, increases with age and these risks increase dramatically after age 40. Women over 35 generally have more preexisting health conditions that could affect pregnancy such as high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes. They are also more likely to develop gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and placental problems during pregnancy.
A woman’s fertile period typically arrives in the middle of the woman’s 28 day cycle. The cycle begins on day one of the woman’s menstrual period. Menstruation usually occurs 13-15 days after ovulation. The best time to conceive is during the fertile period before and during ovulation or between the 11th to 14th day. Some women can tell naturally when they are ovulating from tell tale signs such as increased sexual desire, slight abdominal discomfort from ovulation or increased vaginal moisture. Not all women have their periods on time every month or every 28 days, so they may need to keep track of their cycles or use ovulation kits. At home methods to determine the peak fertility period are basal temperature rates (lowest temperature attained by the body during rest) and mucous consistencies.
Women trying to conceive often keep calendars of their menstrual cycles and basal temperatures (taken first thing every morning before getting out of bed) to better predict when ovulation occurs. Ovulation causes an increase of one-half to one degree Fahrenheit. Before and during ovulation, the cervix produces a thick mucous. Highly fertile mucous occurs at ovulation. It is thin, stretchy and clear or pale white resembling egg whites. It can be stretched several centimeters between the thumb and forefinger before breaking. This mucous helps the sperm reach the uterus and survive long enough to fertilize the egg. It is rare for a couple to conceive exactly when they plan, but being prepared, maintaining or improving health and understanding the risks gives the couple a better idea of when or when not is the best time to conceive is for them.