Your OB/GYN is on the front lines for every facet of your reproductive health. Almost every woman considers this medical relationship paramount in her life, as this is the trusted medical professional who takes care of the most intimate and powerful aspect of your physical being. And, they are often entrusted with the practically sacred role of delivering your children.
We know that nothing beats information from the source, so we asked Dr. Kevin Jovanovic, a well-respected New York City OB/GYN, (who truly delights in his profession) to shed some light on what women really need to know about getting pregnant and to share what it’s like to be in the business of delivering babies.
PP: Dr. Jovanovic, what is the question you are most often asked about conception and fertility?
Dr J: Most women want to know what age is considered “old” for having babies. They want to know when their fertility will truly decline.
PP: It seems that the age factor is a really hot topic in our culture. Celebrities are shown having babies well into their 40’s and women across the country are waiting longer than ever to begin their families.
Dr. J: It’s true. And all of the differing information out there can be really confusing for women. 35 and over is where we see that fertility can be impacted by age alone. But it is a subtle shift at first. Conception rates do start to drop slightly after age 28, but it’s not a steep curve. For instance there is a difference in fertility from age 34 to 36, but its very slight. The relative drop in conception success is most dramatic after 40. Every month after 40 there is significant change.
PP: What is the most common misconception about getting pregnant?
Dr J: That you can get pregnant at any time. I call it “NY Infertility”. Couples are so busy with demands of work and life that they are not having intercourse on the right days. Very smart people get this part wrong. It’s important to know your fertile window and to have sex on those days. Sperm lives 2-3 days but the egg only lives for 1. It sounds obvious to say, but timing is key.
PP: What are the 5 most important things a woman should do when she is ready to conceive?
Dr. J: It’s all about getting yourself into the best health possible. The healthier you are 2-3 months before pregnancy, the better. So my top 5 all relate to improving overall health:
- Maintain a good diet and get to a healthy weight (not too thin or heavy)
- Engage in consistent, moderate exercise.
- Take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid.
- Quit bad habits like smoking or over-indulging in alcohol.
- Have fun! Stress can really play a negative role in conceiving if its chronic and unchecked.
PP: What is the most fulfilling thing about being an OB/GYN?
Dr J: The patients! For the most part, I take care of healthy women. And having a baby is such a positive, natural part of life. Most doctors deal with what happens when things go wrong. And most patients go to the hospital because they are sick. But pregnant women go to celebrate a birthday! What could be more wonderful? It is truly an honor and a blessing to be invited along for such a fun and life-affirming event. Some people are the life of the party, but I get to be a guest of honor at the party of life.