There are many concerns and myths about picking the right time for getting pregnant. In fact, the general number to mark in your calendar as ‘this year I’m having a baby’ simply does not exist, as it should be determined based on every woman’s individual health information and life circumstances.
However, it is vital to allocate enough time to get pregnant—if you’re planning on doing so. For example, many women have different reasons for birth control pills intake (other than preventing pregnancy) and will sometimes have to deal with any health issues first. In any case, the best way to start is to schedule a doctor’s appointment.
When it comes to determining a perfect age to get pregnant, it is crucial to consider not only your and your partner’s health but also factors of other nature such as your psychological readiness, financial capability, and possible social inhibitions. Let’s take a closer look at them.
The ability to get pregnant usually occurs after the woman’s first menstrual period (the average age is 12 years old), but it does not mean that the body is ready to carry a child just yet. Physiologically, a woman becomes prepared for pregnancy when she is around 18 to 19 years old. By this age, the hormonal balance is established, the reproductive system is fully formed, and the internal organs can withstand intense physical exertion.
However, after the age of 25, the body’s resources begin to deplete, and by the age of 30, the supply of reproductive cells (fertility) significantly decreases, accompanied by hormonal changes. Thus, the best age to get pregnant tends to be between 20 and 25 years from a physiological perspective. The age of 18 to 35 years is considered conditionally safe.
Geriatric pregnancy (which is when it happens to someone over the age of 35) may be challenging and take months of trying to get pregnant due to the risk of exacerbating chronic diseases in women (hypertension, diabetes, kidney or liver issues, etc.).
Another thing is that in women over the age of 35 to 40, the possibility of developing various gene disorders at the level of germ cells increases. It can cause congenital disabilities, including genetic (such as Down syndrome) and malformations in the child. However, if a woman is healthy and does not have chronic diseases, she may well give birth even after 40.
Ensuring stable employment and position in a society, which, on average, is possible by the age of 25, is essential before starting to expand your family. It may require finding additional ways of income for many people, for instance, driving for Uber on weekends (you can find more information about it at www.hyrecar.com). But creating financial stability will reduce the significant part of worries and result in being more mentally prepared to have children.
It is not an exaggeration or a cynical approach to say that having a baby is an expensive project. It indeed will take not only most of your time and energy but also finances, and you should be prepared for it! For many people, money remains a crucial aspect to postpone first-time pregnancy by the age of 32 and up to 35.
By that time, you should be sure you can provide for yourself and your baby, or that you will not be suppressed by new categories of expenses, which vary from buying new clothes every couple of months to already saving college money.
For many things in life, age is just a number, but being 40, although being entirely healthy for pregnancy, does not guarantee being ready for raising a child. Hypothetical assumptions that responsibility will come simultaneously with the birth of the child have no grounds in practice. On the contrary, such unreadiness may result in several internal conflicts or even hidden claims to the child, related to the fact you cannot go back to your previous, pre-maternity life anymore.
Psychological unpreparedness may lead to postpartum depression, mistakes in parenting, mistreating your child (even unintentionally), and other family problems. Future parents’ psychological readiness is the only indirectly related factor of choosing the right time for getting pregnant to the physiological age, which depends more on the existing social experiences.
Getting pregnant at different ages has its benefits and risks, so determining the best time is an individual matter. Nevertheless, there are common factors that you should consider, and they are not limited to physiology only.
Indeed, the best biological time for childbearing is by 30 years old. Fertility starts decreasing in the early 30s and significantly reduces the chance of getting pregnant between 35 and 40 years old. However, the level of modern medicine allows a woman to give birth in her 30s, 40s, and even 50s—from taking fertility drugs to in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
That’s why, what matters the most is to make that decision while considering your psychological readiness and excluding any rush. All in all, there’s no great time to have kids—either way, you’ll probably be freaking out.
You’ve surely heard of career coaching, life coaching, and relationship coaching. ‘Screen-free’ parenting coaching is a new addition to the category, with parents and schools in the U.S. employing experts to help them get their children away from screens. The fact that we’ve come to this clearly shows how bad our addiction to social media, and smartphones in general, has become. But it also raises an issue around how we are bringing up future generations, and how much access we give them to the many technologies we ourselves use daily.
We’ve all seen it, that glazed look kids get in their eyes when they’re staring at a screen at a restaurant, on the bus, anywhere, really, as long as they keep quiet. Not to say that parents are only using this as the new dummy, but, sometimes, it seems to be the easiest trick to calm young kids down. This fairly common phenomenon brought about the necessity for ‘screen consultants’. What are they here for? To remind parents what it was like to raise kids before the digital era. In the U.S., screen consultants are being invited to schools, places of religious significance, and homes in order to replace electronics with good old outdoor activities.
The first thing that bothers me about this new trend is how hypocritical it is coming from adults. We are hiring professionals to help raise our kids in a technology-free environment because we can’t set a good example ourselves. We’re so addicted to those devices that we actually have to be taught again, by professionals, what it’s like to maintain a healthy environment for our children outside of the virtual realm—where kids are free from the influence of Instagram, YouTube or Facebook. Although I would definitely put myself in the same category as those parents needing help, the simple realisation that I may require the same coaching if I ever have kids makes me very concerned about my future (and about my non-existent children’s future).
To get a better understanding of what ‘good’ screen coaching could bring to our messed up society, and to try to alleviate my concerns, I spoke to Gloria DeGaetano, who launched the Parent Coaching Institute and currently specialises in ‘curing’ screen addiction in families. She defines her job as a parent coach as “a highly trained, non-judgmental, caring professional”. Just like an accelerated uni course, parent coaches ‘train’ parents on a 3 month period through a series of 10 to 12 coaching conversations. By giving families specific and personalised tips for each unique situation, parent coaches offer more than your typical Parenting for Dummies.
So what’s the biggest challenge for parent coaches at the moment? Setting boundaries around screen time. Gloria DeGaetano has been helping parents with screen issues since the early 90s and wrote several books on the subject, but she told Screen Shot that “today we have an urgent crisis to effectively help families in this tech tsunami which is drowning both parents’ and kids’ personal agency and ability to use tech wisely”.
For obvious reasons, the more technologies we got in recent years, the worse our addiction to screens and social media became. Should we worry about it? DeGaetano believes so, stating that, “Children and teens’ habituated to screens miss out on other parts of living essential to their optimal development”. Thinking about the future and what new technologies could add to that problem, she commented, “In 15 years, screens may be obsolete because microchips, holograms, and other forms of AI not yet discovered may dominate the landscape. Who will be the innovative thinkers in that future?” and what exactly will we be addicted to then?
In the digital age, parents now have another weight to carry, one that their own parents never had to deal with. Screen consultants, as weird as their job title may sound, are a solution to kids’ worrying addiction to screens. But adults should also be taken into consideration in this matter. Who’s going to teach us how to cut down on our social media addiction and ‘care’ less about our online image? I don’t have the answer just yet, but until then, I asked Gloria for one last piece of advice, “Be You! With an unwavering belief in yourself, social media comparison can’t affect a healthy sense of identity. Nature is abundant in diversity for a reason—differences make sure life continues”. There you go: be you, be different.