Getting pregnant after 37: How you can boost fertility
Most women over the age of 37 have heard about the ‘biological clock’. If you haven’t, I am certain that all you need do is go to a wedding, or a party, or even a burial, where your older aunties and family friends would be in attendance; they would be sure to remind you of the ‘biological clock’ and how fast it is ticking away. It’s even worse for women who are still single and searching at 37!
These so called ‘aunties’ would just whisper and point fingers while you walk by; and shake their heads in pity. Unfortunately, many women feel overwhelmed with such negative feedback telling them they are running out of time to get pregnant or they have reached advanced maternal age. Truth is infertility rates are fast rising and is becoming common in Nigeria and it is something that needs to be talked about more often.
National infertility Awareness week is celebrated annually during the last week in April, and it aims to create awareness about infertility, remove the stigma associated with infertility or delayed conception, and educate people about optimal fertility health and ways to help decrease the rising infertility rates.
Medically speaking, as women age, they face a natural decline in their ability to conceive. A woman’s fertility peaks around age 25. At that age the chance of natural conception is 20 percent in any given month. Fertility declines year by year until age 30, where it takes a much steeper plunge. By age 40, a woman’s chance of natural conception is 10 percent, which means chances are as you get older, it may be more difficult to conceive. Having said that, all you need to do is take a look around you and see that there are still so many women that are still having babies in their 30s, 40s even in their fifties. Celebrities such as Linda Ikeji, Porsha Williams etc. have all recently become mothers and they are over 30 years. If you, like many women fall within this age range, and worried about your future fertility, below are five ways to boost fertility even after the age of 37.
1. Eat antioxidant-rich fertility foods! Antioxidants are one of the most important components to optimize fertility, not just in women, but also in men particularly as they get older. Over time, the reproductive system including the ovaries and sperm are subjected to the damaging effects of free radicals. To fight these free radicals, feed your body high-antioxidant foods which include lots of organic foods, fresh fruits and vegetables. Adding a great supplement that contains a network of antioxidants would also be helpful in optimizing fertility.
2. Reduce Chemical Exposure: We are exposed to many chemicals on a daily basis, both in our homes, household products and cosmetics. Many of these chemicals are suspected xenoestrogens that can affect hormones and fertility health. Xenoestrogens are believed to be able to block the ways that hormones function, and therefore would decrease conception rates. It is advised to start making small changes such as reducing excessive use of plastics, insecticides, some body sprays and cosmetics etc to help optimize future fertility.
3. Fix Your Gut: Studies have shown that having a strong digestive system enhances fertility. A good sign of a strong digestive system is being able to defecate at least once or twice everyday, and the stools should not be watery. For those that can go days without defecating, these are tell-tale signs that the digestive system is sluggish. Try to fix this by doing a colon cleanse, reexamining your diets and also using a good probiotic daily.
4. Start Preparing on time. Gone are the days when all it took to get pregnant was one look from your partner. Egg quality is one of biggest concerns women have over age 35 when trying to conceive. While we cannot increase the number of eggs a woman naturally has at 35, we can take steps to increase egg quality. Give yourself at least 90 days in a dedicated egg health program that includes proper nutrition, fertility herbs and supplements, exercise. This promotes a healthy reproductive environment where egg cells can thrive.
5. Finally, don’t forget to visit an OBGYN: This is very important, yet neglected. Most people fail to visit the doctor regularly. It’s not always advisable to wait till something’s wrong. Regular screening and tests, especially with advanced maternal age is necessary to point out if there may be any chemical or structural abnormalities that need to be corrected. The doctor would also educate you better on different options available to increase your chances of successful conception.
Times are changing, most women want to focus on career goals, travel, fulfill their dreams before going on to have children and that is okay. When trying to conceive remember that everyone’s biological clock is vastly different. Just because you know someone that may have conceived in a matter of months doesn’t mean that is the case for everyone. The important thing is to ensure that you are taking the right steps now to optimize fertility health for now and later.
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