It’s extremely common at this point to spend one’s 20s busily getting started on adulthood: many people choose to get an education, start working, travel, care for family members, or any of a wide variety of adventures. Due to these pursuits, plenty of women arrive at the big 3-0 ready to start trying to have their first pregnancy, or still wanting to wait a few more years before beginning a family. However, it’s valuable to moderate one’s expectations once you do start trying to have a child, given that a woman’s fertility changes over the course of her life, and undergoes big changes between the ages of 30 and 39.
Fertility by the Numbers
Fertility in your 30s can be very different from someone else’s fertility in their 30s; while many women get pregnant right away when they begin trying to conceive in their 30s, there are others who require months or even more than a year to get pregnant. Your fertility will generally be highest in your 20s, with a peak somewhere around 32, before a slow drop-off. After 35, fertility tends to go down, though again, many women continue to conceive into their 40s.
Remember that the chances of getting pregnant on any given cycle are pretty low—usually less than 30% even at a woman’s peak fertility. Thus, preparing to spend a few months trying to conceive is a great strategy for fertility in your 30s.
Two other factors may change as you reach your mid-30s and on. One is that risk of miscarriage tends to go up a bit, though not abruptly at any given age. The other is that your potential for multiple births—twins, usually—also goes up, so if you were hoping for two babies in one go, that chance is higher as you enter your late 30s as well.
Valuable Fertility Tips for your 30s
Get Your Personalized Information – The most important thing to realize about fertility in your 30s is that you should talk to a doctor about your personal fertility because now is a great time to put together a plan. For some women, especially those who are hoping for multiple children, getting all the information about your fertility now is a great idea; if assistive treatments like IVF (in vitro fertilization) are going to be helpful, you also want time to budget for those and find a specialist who can perform them.
Begin Weaning Off Non-Pregnancy-Friendly Substances – A great way to spend the months when you want to boost your fertility is to start a plan for drinking less alcohol, cutting back on caffeine, and slowing down on things like trans fats and refined sugar. Small amounts of these when you aren’t pregnant isn’t a problem, but it can’t hurt to be ready to scale way back or cut them out for your pregnancy. Read the latest research on what safe amounts of your favorite items are, and whether it’d be better to put a ban on consuming these drink and food items until a baby arrives.
Make This Your Healthiest Decade Yet – One of the best parts of aiming to boost your fertility is that many of the things that help your fertility will also generally help you! Give your body lots of nutrients, take daily vitamins with folic acid, and get lots of regular exercise; these simple tips are also great for keeping your body healthy and ready to procreate.
Treat “Trying” Like “Not Preventing” – While it’s hard not to get excited when you think you could become pregnant, recognize that in your 30s, trying to conceive may be a bit more like a marathon than a sprint. One doctor once called trying to have a child more like “not preventing a child,” and said to relax about it a bit. Do the planning, know when you are ovulating, but accept that the norm for women in their 30s is multiple months before conception; try not to treat each period like a crushing blow.
The nice thing about getting pregnant in your 30s is that it tends to be a happy medium between the early-life pregnancies of one’s 20s and being slightly older and more tired in your 40s. Women have great and successful experiences of pregnancy and birth at all different ages, but making a plan now in your 30s can help you to be prepared for the reality of conception sometimes taking longer as your 30s progress.
Want more resources on fertility in your 30s? Check out this post from the Fertility Specialists Medical Group. Their graph of typical pregnancy odds in a given month at different ages shares some general information about women on average.