Date of Conferral





Public Health


Chinaro Kennedy


Many women aged 20-30 are postponing their first pregnancies until their mid 30s and beyond, which has resulted in compressed childbearing years and/or infertility. Little is known about the knowledge and understanding that Canadian women of advanced age (age 35-45) possess of their reproductive capacity. This phenomenological study sought to explore these women's knowledge and perception of their reproductive capacity in relation to the timing of first pregnancy. Research questions using the constructs of Ajzen's theory of planned behavior were developed to explore how the behavioral, normative, and control beliefs of women's childbearing behaviors were based on their perceptions of their reproductive capacity. A purposeful sample of 10 participants provided data in semistructured interviews about their lived experiences of being pregnant for the first time at an advanced age. Thematic analysis was used to analyze interview transcripts. Emergent themes derived from the data included being naïve about natural conception, use of fertility specialist, discussions of childbearing plans by family doctors, lacking energy to care for young children, and feeling judged by others. Results indicated inaccuracies in the women's factual knowledge in terms of the narrow window for fertility, chances of natural conception, the impact of long-term use of contraception, and the use of artificial reproductive technologies to compensate for age-related fertility decline. This study may promote positive social change by offering healthcare providers information that assists them in tailoring reproductive messages for patients that dispel misconceptions regarding women's reproductive potential, which may reduce the number of women experiencing involuntary childlessness and infertility