As most of us already know, a woman is born with all the eggs she is ever going to have. At puberty, they begin to mature, and subsequently ovulation and menstruation starts. Scientifically, a woman is most fertile between the ages of 18 and 28. In her mid-thirties, it is still fairly easy to get pregnant and carry the baby to term.
Enter the biological clock!!! Ask a woman in her early 20s about the biological clock and she would probably look at you funny, and ask “What clock?” Ask a 30-something year old and she may exhibit a bit of uncertainty but wave it off all the same. Now ask a woman in her 40s and she would tell you the clock is ticking very loud. Do you see a pattern here?
The term biological clock is used to refer to a perceived window of opportunity to fall pregnant. In other words: the older you get, the more conscious you are about this clock, and the lower your chances are of getting pregnant.
It is widely believed and medically advised to get pregnant between the ages of about 20 and 35. Apparently because between these ages a woman is most fertile and least likely to have pregnancy related complications.
In the real world, this may not always be possible. What happens then if you are in your early 40s, or even late 40s, and TTC? Would it be too late? Are you destined to have a high risk pregnancy and the associated complications? Worst of all, would your baby automatically have a birth defect? The answer is “No!” However, apart from medical interventions to assist you with conception, keeping calm and relatively stress-free has long been known to increase fertility and the chances of a natural conception. Below are some tips to help you:
1. Cultivate a calm attitude.
Create the habit of taking a few minutes at regular intervals to be alone. Breathe deeply. Clear your mind of all thoughts and responsibilities and embrace the quietness around you.
2. Don’t think about it too much.
Understand that it is possible to be stressed up about not being stressed up. Let me take that again: As everyone keeps telling you to keep calm and not be stressed as it would affect your chances of pregnancy, you subconsciously BEGIN TO GET STRESSED! This happened to me quite a lot during my 2- year wait to get pregnant. The more I thought about not being anxious, the more anxious I got. Just like telling a child to not be scared doesn’t help the child. It would be better to de-emphasize the fear instead, by bringing up another subject for example.
3. Your diet.
You can’t go wrong with green leafy vegetables, fruits and other natural foods. Avoid processed sugar e.g. candy, as it is known to give you a sudden spike in blood sugar and a sharp drop later leading to possible mood swings.
4. Avoid certain drinks and stimulants.
Kick coffee, alcohol and tobacco out of your life for now. If it cannot be avoided, limit your consumption to as little as possible. Instead of coffee, try green tea.
5. Identify and handle your Emotional Issues.
The older you get, the natural tendency is to worry more about getting pregnant. Your feelings are also getting more complicated. It also would not help that families and friends keep asking you questions and offering help you did not ask for! When you feel the stress building up within you, quickly ask yourself where it’s coming from and deal with the source as soon as possible.
6. Realize that having a baby in your 40s is not impossible.
Don’t allow general opinion to leave you feeling distressed and anxious. Stories abound of women having natural conceptions and births in their 40s and even 50s (look at the Christian Bible, for example). Our grandmothers were also known to have babies well into this age in those days, where there was no contraception available.
7. Schedule regular gentle massage sessions.
Massage helps to ease tension in your muscles and increase the sense of general well being. Many people feel it is a luxury, but you are so worth it.
8. Create a support circle.
Now is not the time to isolate yourself from people who genuinely care about you. Though in my case I had to avoid my own Mother at some point. She kept calling me very month to ask how far? Goodness Mum!
Seek out friends who make you laugh, watch funny movies and listen to other people’s success stories and each time remind yourself: mine could be next. Avoid negative people; you have enough to deal with already.
There are so many other activities that could help you achieve that calmness you so desire, like hobbies, calm music, good sleep and so on. Whatever path you choose, remember that the journey would seem shorter and more enjoyable if you just make effort to have some fun instead of being bitter about the whole thing.
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here