Nine Months: Experiencing the joys of parenthood — even if the biological clock is ticking

The dreaded question from your nosy aunt or the well meaning neighbour about ‘good news’ are constant reminders about pregnancy that you’d want to hit the snooze button on. But as much as you’d want to shrug off this societal pressure, there’s a legitimate upside to becoming parents before you hit mid life.

To this you may argue – “What if I want to focus on my career?” or “I don’t want to marry now!” But here’s good news, while age definitely demarcates a normal pregnancy from one that’s fraught with risks, there are certainly other ways to enjoy the joys of parenthood even when everyone screams ‘too old’! To make the process simpler, you could follow Firstpost's show Nine Months — a visual how-to survival guide that brings experience, knowledge and perspective to mothers so they can follow a reliable and singular narrative on pregnancy and parenting.

Is Conceiving Before 30 The Only Recourse?

Yes it is the simplest way. But not the only one. So forget putting your career on the line to become parents or risking a financial debacle by opting to raise a baby. The biological clock won’t stop ticking, but you can try several routes to one destination. Here’s how —

  • Assisted Hatching

The doctor says your egg is too thick because you’ve reached a certain age. So your partner’s sperm is unable to penetrate it. This is when assisted hatching steps in to solve the dilemma. A special laser does the task of making tiny precision punctures in the covering of the embryo. This makes it easy for the embryo to come out of the thick protective encasing once it’s implanted in your body.

  • Freezing Eggs

You’ve frozen food items to increase shelf life, why can’t you apply the same mechanism to your eggs? Freeze your eggs. Forget about the ticking pendulum. Consider yourself a fit for the procedure if you’re in your early 30s and don’t plan on marrying soon or conceiving before the age of 35. Freezing eggs involves a series of injections that are administered to the woman to retrieve her eggs. As simple and practical as it may sound, doctors often report that a large percentage of women explore egg freezing only when they’re way beyond the age of 35, mainly due to the lack of awareness.

  • Sperm Freezing

Compared to freezing eggs, it’s much easier to freeze male sperms without stringent medical monitoring. Even women with spouses working overseas or those frequently travelling could benefit from this method. For instance, the partner’s frozen sperms are used on a monthly basis to help the woman conceive, without demanding his constant presence.

  • Surrogacy

Surrogacy, often ridiculed as ‘renting a womb’ is in actuality a very practical solution for women born without a uterus or others who may have a deformed uterus. Couples see a ray of hope in this method, which entails using a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm to create the embryo, which is then implanted in the surrogate mother. A real-world inspiration is married homosexual couples outside India, who opt for surrogacy with help from an egg donor. Traditions, cultural hindrances, and superstitions are no longer standing as roadblocks, with an increasing number of couples rapidly embracing surrogacy in the country. And with Bollywood celebrities who’ve showed no qualms about choosing this option, couples are finding comfort in the fact that they’re not alone.

Do You Need To Consult A Gynaecologist In Advance Or Go Old-school?

Consulting the doctor when you’re pregnant is mandatory. But going by expert opinions, waiting for the pregnancy test to show a pink line is actually quite late! You want to create a healthy environment for your baby to grow in, which means, you need to plan months before you get pregnant. Ensuring whether you’re medically fit and free of infection is key. Doctors recommend taking folic acid supplements at least two months prior to conceiving, for your baby’s healthy brain development. Likewise, you need to stabilise your blood sugar if you have diabetes, failing which your baby could be born with a serious abnormality. If you’ve got a dysfunctional thyroid gland and leave it unchecked, there are chances you may face difficulty conceiving or suffer a miscarriage later on in the pregnancy.

Take your doctor into confidence when you plan a baby. You want to see your little one healthy right up to adulthood and what you do will decide your baby’s long-term wellbeing. And lastly, moderating what you eat is important. Skip fancy diet fads. Consume whole grains, green leafy vegetables, fruits, and other sources of protein, vitamins, and folic acid. Make sure, processed foods don’t make it to your platter. Not only do they contribute to obesity but hormonal imbalances, which affect ovulation and consequently your chances of conceiving.

Watch episode two of 9 Months, in which host Meghna Pant talks to Dr Nozer Sheriar and Dr Dhrishti Bijlani about what’s considered the toughest and riskiest part of pregnancy — the first trimester. Watch them discuss what changes women can expect in their body and baby, the necessary nutrition and exercise required, whether a pregnant mother can travel or have sex, whether she should break the news to friends and colleagues, and what to do in case of a miscarriage or abortion.

Updated Date: Jun 26, 2018 19:09:01 IST