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Fertility decreases with age. Women in their twenties are more fertile than women in their thirties and on an average, it gets far more difficult for a woman to conceive after the age of 35. Fertility is at its peak when a woman is in her twenties, and when she is between 30-35, fertility is down by around 15 to 20 percent. This is not very much lower, and it probably means just a few more months of trying to get pregnant.
However, once a woman reaches the age of 35, it is harder for her to conceive, and if she is trying to have her first child after 35, chances of it being born with Down’s Syndrome are greater. All this really means is that the mother will have to take more care during her pregnancy, and if she is careful, she can give birth to a happy, healthy baby at any age. Older pregnant women have a higher risk of pregnancy induced hypertension (preeclampsia) and diabetes (gestational diabetes). Also, the chances of a woman giving birth to twins, peak between the ages of 35 to 39!
Yes, what you eat can render you more fertile, or less so. If you have been trying to get pregnant without much success, try staying away from tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks and beverages. Also, avoid alcohol and cigarettes.
Whether you will get pregnant or not doesn’t depend on how often you do it, but on when you do it. Timing of intercourse is more important than frequency. If you get the timing right, you can get pregnant at once, otherwise you may have to try a number of times before you get pregnant. A lot also depends on the
sperm count of your husband. If your husband has a high to normal sperm count, you could have sex everyday during your fertile period. This is known as
the ovulation period, which is usually the 14th day from your first day of your periods. Therefore to increase chances of conception, it is advisable to have
intercourse between the 8th to the 18th day. However, if your husband has a low sperm count, you may want to have sex every other day during this period.
No, taking a hot shower will not affect his sperm count, but lying down in a tub of hot water for around 10 minutes, will. Similarly if you are trying to get pregnant, your husband should avoid using the sauna or steam bath.
Remember, if he uses the steam bath now, his sperm count will affected adversely for around three months after that. It takes sperm 10 to 11 weeks to be produced, so bear that in mind. Also, tell your husband to switch to cool and loose boxers instead of wearing tight underwear. He should also avoid wearing biker shorts for at least two months prior to when you plan to conceive.
Avoid any woman on top position, since in such positions the sperm has very little chance of reaching the cervix. Keep a pillow under your hips for a while
during or immediately after intercourse, to allow the sperm to travel to your cervix.
Folic acid, sometimes called folate, is a B vitamin (B9) found mostly in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, orange juice, and enriched grains. Repeated studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) daily prior to conception and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect (a birth defect involving incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord) by up to 70%.
The most common neural tube defects are spina bifida (an incomplete closure of the spinal cord and spinal column), anencephaly (severe underdevelopment of the brain), and encephalocele (when brain tissue protrudes out to the skin from an abnormal opening in the skull). All of these defects occur during the first 28 days of pregnancy – usually before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.
That’s why it’s so important for all women of childbearing age to get enough folic acid
– not just those who are planning to become pregnant. Only 50% of pregnancies are planned, so any woman who could become pregnant should make sure she’s getting enough folic acid.
If you are planning to get pregnant, you are encouraged to take a daily multivitamin containing at least 400 – 600 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid.
Is it okay to just take a regular multivitamin instead of a prenatal vitamin if you can’t afford it or don’t tolerate it?
It is probably fine. It may be a little lower in folic acid and iron. But if you are eating healthy, your needs will be met. Use the food tracker to get an idea of your iron and folic acid intake daily, then add on the amount in your supplement. You want to be consistently reaching the goal of
27 milligrams of iron
600 micrograms of folic acid