While most doctors will refer to a specific age or life stage to answer this question, planning a pregnancy involves greater consideration than just checking the time period. It is all about bringing yourself to life and committing yourself to nurture the new life.
Age consideration: While fertile age for women extends from menarche (onset of menses) till menopause (cessation of menses), the best fertility age for women is between 20-35 and 29.3 years of age. This age is considered most appropriate (according to the latest study). Earlier in 60s and 70’s, the best age was 23. The major shift has to do more with our social life than with human biology.
Men can reproduce till as late as 80 years of age; however, best age for reproduction for most men is between 24-40 years. In short fertility is ageist and sexist!!!
Health consideration: Pregnancy is a natural phenomenon. Our body is well equipped to reproduce but as our lifestyle shifts from more natural to more urban and artificial, the nature curbs our natural entitlement. (Most convenient explanation thrown at my patients, when, asking the reason for the decline in mankind’s fertility rates.)
In order to have the best outcome with least complications would-be mothers should plan a health checkup before planning pregnancy. Pre-conceptional counseling clears a lot of confusion and helps to give clarity to the would- be parent’s, enabling them to get prepared and plan better. We advise certain basic tests such as:
CBC (complete blood count)
Urine routine and microscopy
Blood group and Rh factor
Haemoglobin Electrophoresis or HPLC to find out abnormal haemoglobin
Also, venereal disease test , thyroid and blood sugar tests are done if indicated.
General check: BP, weight, breast examination and systemic examinations also done. Frequent question about number of visits during pregnancy and the type of health facility they would require for delivery along with the cost factor and the duration of time taken off from work(for working mothers) and a battery of other questions are answered during pre-conceptional counseling.
Social factors: Availability of a health facility nearby, family support, partners work schedule and availability, financial status of the couple, emotional and psychological aspects of becoming a parent needs to be discussed and considered between the partners and then embark on the journey of parenthood.
In conclusion, planning a child is al; about togetherness and you can make it right by just addressing your concerns by consulting a specialist such as a gynecologist.