You must have heard people telling you all the time to have babies before it is too late. But, nobody tells you why it is important to conceive at the right age. And no one would have ever told you about the ideal age to get pregnant.
Dr Ritu Sethi, Senior Gynaecologist and Obstetrician has answered the frequently asked questions for us.
Why is it suggested that woman should conceive at an early age and not delay the pregnancy? Can you please explain the science behind this?
It is interesting to know that a woman is born with ovarian reserve (eggs) at the time of her birth and it is an egg which is released every time in her menstrual cycle. Thus, in a reproductive life span ranging over 40 years (from the age of 12 years to the age of 50 years) a woman uses almost 400-500 of her eggs which are there since her birth. Imagine the quality of their eggs at the age of 20-30 years and at the age of 40 years and older.
Do you mean to say that along with the woman, the eggs also age?
Absolutely. Here comes the concept of biological aging of the eggs which affects women who are trying to conceive at a later age. They are more prone to having pregnancy complications like- increased risk of miscarriage, malformed fetuses, medical complication like- Hypertension, diabetes, heart and kidney related ailments. Also, chances of still born baby are more if the woman’s age is above 40 years. Chances of babies being born premature or small are also more in older women.
Is age also a deciding factor in conception?
Getting pregnant is not easy in older women as they are more likely to have poor quality eggs which hamper their chances of conceiving. It also increases the chances of tubes getting blocked due to infection, poor performance capacity and ovarian cysts. Also they are more likely to get prophylactic ovarian syndrome.
What is the ideal age for getting pregnant?
The biological clock is ticking for all women and it is best to plan pregnancy by early 30’s to avoid a long battle with infertility and pregnancy related complications further on.
Dr Ritu Sethi
MD Obstetrics and Gynaecology, LHMC