Whether you've given yourself a deadline by when to get pregnant or are just going with the flow, preparing for a baby at any age means understanding your health.
Obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Daniela Caprara at Toronto’s Humber River Hospital says women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and older often have different health concerns when it comes to pregnancy, but some things remain the same across the board, like the need for folic acid. In a recent study by Nestlé Materna Prenatal Poll, it was found that many women don't realize they should be taking folic acid up to 12 weeks before they become pregnant, as well as throughout their pregnancy, for optimal health of the child.
“The knowledge gap and the drop in folic acid intake is concerning because in general, half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and even for planned pregnancies women often don’t know they are pregnant until they are at least a month along," Caprara says.
It's no secret that fertility depends on age. Caprara says while having children at a younger age increases the likelihood of conceiving within your preferred time frame, women delaying pregnancy and fertility options to have babies in later years is far more common. Through donors, fertility treatments and surrogates, for example, women are able to plan babies at a later age.
Eating healthy and understanding nutrition is also key. While certain vitamins and minerals become important during each trimester, foods like bananas, spinach and eggs, for example, all have essential roles for building a healthy baby.
And although pregnancy looks different for every woman and there really is no perfect way to plan for it, Caprara has outlined what women should consider when planning for a baby in their respective age groups: