Most of us have heard people saying -my biological clock is ticking’. What does it mean and are we really equipped with a biological clock?
The biological clock is very real in a sense and all living organisms from plants to animals are controlled by their biological clocks. The clocks are the body’s ways of measuring and noting time and storing vital information which allows humans to function and the clock notifies us when we need to eat, sleep or when we need to reproduce.
When a woman is feeling incredibly broody and when the news of her friends falling pregnant or giving birth makes her feel envious and even sad, this is a sure sign that the woman’s biological clock is ticking and informing her in no uncertain terms that the time to reproduce is now. In a perfect world, women would be able to listen to their bodies and rush off head-first into pregnancy. However, today’s women are met with endless demands and before they listen to the alarm sounded by their biological clock, they need to put their lives into perspective and ensure that they are ready, that their partners are ready and that they are in a good financial place to have a baby.
Waiting too long and putting the biological clock’s alarm on snooze mode may have devastating consequences, as the successful conception rate decreases with the age of a woman.
Here are the facts:
- A women’s fertility decreases with each birthday. Typically healthy thirty-year-old women will have only 12% of her eggs left. When a woman reaches the age of forty, 3% of eggs will remain. Considering the fact that a woman is born with two million eggs, this clear shows that after each birthday a females’ fertility decreases.
- Women who are older than 45 seldom fall pregnant without medical intervention, like IV fertilization or other fertility treatments.
Besides the problems conceiving, older moms will also face other risks which may include:
- Babies born to older moms are at a higher risk of Down syndrome. (Statistics being 1 in 759 at age 30, 1 in 302 at age 35, 1 in 82 at age 40);
- Moms older than the age of 35 are at a greater risk of going into premature labour, or miscarrying. A mom older than 35 is considered to be a high-risk pregnancy.
- Older moms will be recommended to have a c-section rather than giving natural birth.
- Developing diabetes or high blood pressure while pregnant.
- Pregnancy and child birth is far more difficult for women over the age of 35, than for younger mothers whose bodies tend to recover better and quicker after the delivery.
If you are planning to have your first child over the age of 35, the best option is to consult your doctor and ask his professional medical opinion. The doctor may conduct a series of tests to determine if there are any underlying problems which may have an adverse affect on the pregnancy. Since more couples are choosing to start families later in life, the chance of a healthy pregnancy and delivery for women in their late 30’s is increasing.
In addition to the fertility concerns and the high health risks, women who put starting a family on hold, should also consider that the optimal age for pregnancy is around 28. If a woman hopes to fall pregnant around the age of 35, she must expect that conception could take longer, and she may only fall pregnant after her 36th birthday. By the time the baby reaches its teens, the mother will be in her late forties (the time when many of her friends’ kids are independent). Leaving starting a family too late may also have problems for the child, as the child will feel out of touch with their -aged’ parents and few parents want to be confused as being grandparents!
There are of course benefits to delaying starting a family. A couple can enjoy their youth to the fullest and they can also prepare themselves financially to meet the needs of their child or children, by setting up savings for education, etc. A mother can also achieve their career goals and not have the worry of maternity leave or childcare problems.
There are cases when couples already have children and they want to have another baby, once their older children are grown up (or have left home). A lot of mothers who are unable to deal with the -empty nest syndrome’ believe that one more baby will be the best solution. Couples need to carefully weigh up all the pros and cons and consider if they are healthy enough and financially stable to meet the needs and demands of the child. A child will not be able to solve marital problems (at any stage of a couple’s life) and if couples are daunted at the thought of being alone with each other, it may help to explore the joys of each other before trying to fall pregnant again!