The gazillion dollar question for every woman of course is, "How long do I have left if I want to get pregnant?" Once a woman hits her 30s, terms like "biological clock" and "baby fever" suddenly enter her vernacular. And even women in their 20s are trying to juggle being the "right age to get pregnant" with wanting to start their careers and lives in general. As women, we're programmed to believe that the self-destruct button on our uterus is about to go off, and it's a race against time to get pregnant.
The message from the media—and even doctors—is clear: It doesn't matter if you have goals you still want to achieve. Drop everything and spread your legs! And even then, it may be too late. Depressing, right?
Well, women in your 30s, it's actually not too late to get pregnant (cue party music)! New research indicates that our widespread panic was for not. According to an article in The Atlantic, "It turns out the widely cited statistic that one in three women ages 35 to 39 will not be pregnant after a year of trying, for instance, is based on an article published in 2004 in the journal Human Reproduction. Rarely mentioned is the source of the data: French birth records from 1670 to 1830. The chance of remaining childless—30 percent—was also calculated based on historical populations. In other words, millions of women are being told when to get pregnant based on statistics from a time before electricity, antibiotics, or fertility treatment."
How is this just now coming to light? Women who are not yet pregnant, or people like me who are contemplating their second child, or even someone who wants a third or fourth, can take a collective sigh of relief. We still have time!
A study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2004 examined the chances of pregnancy among 770 European women. It found that with sex at least twice a week, 82 percent of 35-to-39-year-old women conceive within a year, compared with 86 percent of 27-to-34-year-olds. Another study, released this March in Fertility and Sterility, has just as positive news. It followed 2,820 Danish women while they tried to get pregnant. Among women having sex during their fertile times, 78 percent of 35-to-40-year-olds got pregnant within a year, compared with 84 percent of 20-to-34-year-olds. Only a six percent difference!
Of course every woman is different, and I can't tell you because you fall into a certain age range that you will or will not be able to have kids up to a certain age since there are plenty of other reasons for infertility besides age (ovulation issues, blocked fallopian tubes, or your guy's low sperm count, amongst other things). But it should make you feel less pressure, and stress can also be a factor in infertility. So if you take that baby-making-anxiety away, you're one step closer to getting pregnant!
TELL US: Are you relieved the stats about women in their 30s getting pregnant aren't as grim as previously reported? How old were you when you got pregnant? Share your stories.
Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.