All too often, we don't think twice about our fertility until we're ready to have a baby. In fact, many of us spend years of our lives studiously trying to avoid
pregnancy. Then, if and when we decide that the time is right, we're suddenly inducted into a world of ovulation kits, fertility monitors, and sometimes anxiety.
Reproductive specialist Lubna Pal
, MBBS, believes that women shouldn't wait until they're trying to conceive to learn about their fertility. "A 20-year-old, in my opinion, should have a candid conversation with her mom about maternal health history," Dr. Pal tells Refinery29, "about whether Mom had irregular periods when she was young, whether there is a family history of endometriosis, fibroids, [or early] menopause" — all factors that may influence your own ability to get pregnant.
But talking with Mum isn't all you should do to prepare. We spoke with Dr. Pal about what women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s should know about their ability to conceive — click through for the key takeaways. (In this particular story, guidance applies primarily to cisgender men and women.)