How does a modern woman put a bun in her oven?
Dear Dr. Sonjia,
I have a thought for a new topic. How about: ‘how to get pregnant?’ I mean, not exactly HOW, but, if someone were trying to have a baby, what would increase their chances of getting pregnant? I can’t remember high school biology. It seems we spend so much time trying not to get pregnant, but then there comes a day when you want to. I would love to read an article about it, especially written by you. It would help me understand and a lot of other girls too. It seems so simple, but it can be a difficult thing.”
We’re in the same boat. I’ve spent a lot of time trying NOT to get pregnant and the only thing I learned in high school biology was how to dissect a dead frog. Boy, that’s been useful.”
Today’s woman is unlike any other in history. We exchange intellectual banter by e-mail and spend our prime child-bearing years attempting to outsmart pregnancy. Who has time to have kids? We’re way too busy moving up in the world and enjoying our right to liberated fun which our mothers fought so hard to obtain.
Sure, I knew girls who got pregnant in their teens (after all, I went to Catholic school). And I had friends who got knocked up in their early twenties. But it was always an accident that most of us avoided like the plague because we knew it would interfere with our freedom and fun.
If growing up has taught us anything, it’s that the truth hurts every once in awhile. By now, most of us know that those young fun years were also the best biological time to cook up a kid. Even though I don’t know one woman from my generation who was excited about getting pregnant in their teens or early twenties –I also don’t know any childless women in their forties who are happy they didn’t have kids. Luckily, the thirties sure do last a long time.
But not long enough according to obstetrician Susan Bewley. Dr. Bewley and her colleagues faced harsh criticism from women around the world when they wrote, “Women want to “have it all,” but biology is unchanged; deferring (pregnancy) defies nature and risks heartbreak. If women want room for maneuver they are unwise to wait till their 30s.”
In Which Career First?, published by Bewley in the British Medical Journal, she urges her colleagues to warn women about the risks of delaying childbirth and insists that the “most secure age for childbearing remains 20-35.” And she’s not only talking to women.
“Delaying also affects partners: semen counts deteriorate gradually every year, and children of older men have an increased risk of schizophrenia and new mutation autosomal dominant disorders.” In other words, men also need to make fatherhood a priority before it’s too late.
The Journal Fertility and Sterility published a study led by Elise de La Rochebrochard which found that men over the age 40 are less fertile than younger men. The research found that women under 30 were 25% less likely to conceive a baby if her partner was 40 years or older and women between 35 to 37 years were 50% less likely to conceive if the partner was over 40 years old.
These studies pissed a lot of folks off because they made us pay attention to issues we’re not so excited to address. In the final paragraph of her study, Dr. Bewley pointed out that maternal costs to employers are much higher among older women, who are more likely to have higher paying jobs and “higher salaries act as a perverse incentive for women to delay.”
Bewley’s definitely not going trying to win over friends with her message, but I can’t argue with her logic. It certainly makes sense for a woman to wait until she has good maternal benefits before having a baby. It also seems smart to choose the child’s father before deciding to conceive. But both of those goals take time to accomplish.
These days, 1 in 5 women in the U.S. is 35 or older when she has her first child. Risks do increase women age and it often takes longer to get pregnant — but the good news is that most ladies over 35 have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. How do they do it?
The traditional way is still the best bet. Surprisingly, there are no studies on the best sex positions to use when trying to get pregnant but rumors shared on mommy message boards suggest that missionary works well. In case you need a reminder -that means man on top, woman on bottom, facing each other.
Justmommies.com specifically states: “Avoid positions where the woman is on top. Gravity will allow sperm to leak out with these positions. Also try placing a pillow under your hips to help tilt your pelvis and keep the sperm in longer. Don’t get up right after sex. Try to relax and allow the sperm to stay in the vagina as long as possible.” If you do that regularly for six months and it doesn’t result in a swollen stomach, it’s time to put in a little extra effort.
The first step is to make sure sperm is swimming inside of a woman while she’s ovulating. There’s plenty of ways for women to find out when they will be ovulating and the website babycenter.com has an easy and free calculator that predicts ovulation based on the day of your last period and the length of your cycle (http://www.babycenter.com/ovulation-calculator).
Clearblue Easy also sells fertility monitor sticks and many women rave about how these kits helped them get pregnant fast. “I am 43 and this machine and sticks got me pregnant in one try! We are now going to try one more time! Can’t say enough!”
Sperm lives for 3-5 days and eggs live for about 24 hours, so women aiming to conceive should have sex before and during the ovulation phase. This will allow sperm to be waiting in the woman whenever the egg is ready to roll. Since timing ovulation isn’t an exact science, some experts advise women to get busy at least three times per week, regardless of the ovulation cycle. Excess sperm in the station equals better chances for fertilization.
Folic Acid supplements , known for reducing birth defects, are also recommended for women planning to become pregnant. And since most women don’t realize they’re pregnant until after the child is conceived, experts often advise women to begin taking folic acid before they get pregnant because the bun bakes better in a prepared oven. And a clean one. Avoiding alcohol, smoking, and drugs is a pretty awesome idea during this time.
Many women use prenatal supplements to give their system a healthy boost and ladies should talk to their doctor before adding extra vitamins to their diet. Vitex Fruit (Chaste Tree berry) is a popular herbal supplement that’s well-received by women working on pregnancy. Reviewers claim it gets the ovulation cycle on track, improves PMS symptoms, and clears up the skin! Before making any decisions about ingesting something new, be sure to discuss your plans with your MD.
Acupuncture is another technique some women claim enhanced their capacity to get pregnant. Several books encourage acupuncture, including Making Babies: A Proven Three Month Program, which appears to be the bible for women on the pregnancy track.
When all else fails, medical interventions are available to assist and your doctor should provide you with the most accurate information for your specific situation. There’s medicine to increase ovulation, procedures to inject sperm into an egg, and good old fashioned in vitro fertilization which costs a small fortune. Surrogate mothers are also available to those with the financial resources to pay and adoption seems like an amazing way to have a kid and avoid stretch marks!
A baby and a banging body –What more could a modern woman ask for?