Your 30s: body basics

Your 30s can feel sort of bittersweet. Just as you're coming more into your own and feeling stronger in your identity, your body begins to show some of the first subtle signs of aging. And just as you're achieving more stability in your career or personal life, you may discover the stresses that sprout from that stability. Of course, for some women these things will have less impact than for others. But there are some common concerns among thirty-somethings.

Your 30s can be the time when you pay the price for too much fun or too much sun. Years of happy, healthy living kept you smiling? You may notice crinkling around your eyes. Those wrinkles of joy come naturally, as your skin ages right along with you, becoming less elastic and less regenerative as time passes. And if you spent time basking or tanning when you were younger, the effects of photoaging will become a little more evident now.

One of the more common stresses among women in their 30s is finding time to stay fit. It seems like all of that stress – from keeping up with work, relationships, or your children – would keep you active enough! Maintaining a fit, strong, lean body will make you less prone to weight gain and loss of muscle mass and tone. Not to mention that regular physical activity can decrease your risks of heart disease, diabetes, and the symptoms of stress and depression.

During this decade, you may grapple with baby questions, like "Should I have one?" or "Should I have another one?" The peak fertility years may be the 20s, but many women have healthy pregnancies and give birth to healthy babies well into their 30s. Past the age of 35, there is an increased risk of birth defects, pregnancy difficulties, and miscarriage. It can also become a bit more difficult to become pregnant, and the reasons are natural.

As you move through your 30s, your body continues its path along the reproductive continuum. Adolescents have several hundred thousand egg cells, but only about 400 mature into eggs, and by the time you've reached your 30s, you've shed roughly half of those. This ebbing egg trend can affect a woman's health in a lot of different ways, difficulty conceiving being one of the most common and emotionally challenging.

The shift in hormones could also cause some changes to your menstrual cycle. Heavy bleeding may also be due to fibroids, uterine tumours that are not cancerous. If you've had children, you may also experience some degree of urinary incontinence.

All these changes sound like a real party, huh? But don't despair, thirty-something female, keep reading for lots of ways you can make your 30s much less bitter and much sweeter.

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