Unfortunately, starting a family is not as easy as simply deciding that the time is right. Deciding to conceive is the start of a lifetime of work (hopefully happily and freely entered into!), even before the difficult job of parenting begins. Navigating the health system, arranging doctors appointments and attending antenatal classes, making decisions about maternity leave and ensuring your house is ready and safe to bring a baby into will become your day to day life over the nine months of pregnancy.
Before all this starts though, you need to conceive. Picking the right time to conceive means weighing up your life circumstances, the effect it could have on the early life of your child, and issues that govern your ability to conceive easily like fertility, ovulation and your reproductive health.
The age of first time parents is rising – and while that can be a cause for concern about fertility for people later in their 30s, evidence exists to show that the decline in fertility over the age of 35 is less dramatic than it’s typically represented as being. What is a sure thing is that fewer and fewer couples have the financial ability to support a household on a single wage, which means working tactically with maternity leave to ensure the mother has a career to return to after the birth. This might mean timing it so you can go on maternity leave just after a big project, ensuring your reputation is at its height, or so that you can return to work in time for a big annual event that reminds everyone how important and skilled you are.
There are all sorts of different considerations to bear in mind as you pick a time of the year as an ideal start for your pregnancy: the date a baby is born influences their school life, with some believing how old or young they are for their year having an effect on their performance.
There’s also the question of when you want to be pregnant: some people might want to try to time things so they can avoid the most arduous weeks of pregnancy falling during the summer, when heatwaves can make it significantly uncomfortable.
You can maximise your chances of getting pregnant when you want to by ensuring you’re targeting the right time in the month, or more accurately the right time in your cycle. You can only become pregnant when active sperm meet a fertile egg, and as that egg only survives for a maximum of 24 hours after ovulation, you need to know when that important event is coming in order to target the right time.