When is the Best Time to Start Trying to Have a Baby?

By Maria Magher
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The answer to when is the right time to have a baby is different for everyone. Not everyone is emotionally or physically ready to have a baby at the same time. Some might be ready when they are right out of college, while others may not be ready until they have established a career. Knowing your most fertile times and the signs that you are emotionally ready can help you determine the best time for you to start trying to have a baby.

Emotional Readiness

Having a baby changes your life. You should be ready for that before you start trying to conceive. Consider how stable your relationship is and whether you think it is long-lasting. Even if you don't marry your partner, you are responsible for raising a child with that person. Make sure you can both work together in or out of a relationship. Consider your own emotional readiness. You should have ideas about what it means to be a good parent and be ready to take on the challenge and the sacrifice it involves. Your doubts may never fully subside, but you should feel excited about the prospect and ready to make the changes required.

The Right Age

Women commonly have babies into their late 40s thanks to reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilization. But if you want to have your biological child without medical intervention, start trying earlier, such as in your 20s, when your body is more receptive to conceiving. There is no hard cut off, but the majority of a woman's eggs are gone by the time she is 30 years old, notes the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. By the time a woman is 40, her chances of conceiving can be as little as 5 percent each month.

Monthly Timing

You are most fertile the day or two leading up to ovulation. Most women ovulate around day 14 of their menstrual cycle, but it can vary. Determine ovulation by measuring basal body temperature each morning. When your temperature spikes, it's a sign that you are ovulating. Since your fertile window has passed by the time your temperature spikes, chart your temperature for several months to identify patterns. You can also identify ovulation through symptoms, such as a thick vaginal discharge the same consistency egg whites. The most precise way to determine ovulation is to buy an at-home ovulation predictor kit. The kit detects a rise in luteinizing hormone in your urine, which indicates ovulation should occur within 24 to 48 hours. For the best chance of getting pregnant, have sex at least every other day for about a week before you expect to ovulate and for a few days afterward.

Wait Times

Even young, healthy couples may not get pregnant the first month that they try. Couples who are younger than 35 could take up to a year to get pregnant. Doctors advise couples who are older than 35 to see a fertility specialist if they have been trying to conceive for six months without success. However, if you have health issues that might affect your fertility, such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, see a doctor as soon as possible when you decide to conceive.