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The Right Age to Become Pregnant?

Katlyn Joy |15, November 2011


Choosing to start a family is the biggest decision a couple will make together. Besides feeling emotionally ready and strong enough in your relationship, there are other factors. Finances, job situations, living in the desired place, health and age are all issues to mull over. However, what age is the right age for becoming pregnant?

In Your 20's

While your fertility may be at its peak in your twenties and the time it takes to get pregnant relatively shorter, there are other factors to consider. Many couples haven't had adequate time to be just that; a couple. Most people want to build and strengthen their bond before stretching it to include a new person and all the resulting stress. Also, most people are not well established in their careers, or perhaps even finished with their education until their twenties are all but over. Trying to split your focus so much can make family building a difficult option during this time period.

Some individuals may not be quite ready to settle down into a more sedate lifestyle. Those still wanting to hit the clubs every weekend are probably not quite up to the challenge of staying home and changing diapers or soothing a colicky infant on Saturday night after Saturday night.

However, there's no denying the upside to conceiving in your twenties. You are likely to have a much easier time getting pregnant and your delivery is most likely to be uncomplicated. Women in their twenties have an 80 percent chance of having a normal, vaginal birth versus 40 percent of those in their thirties who need a cesarean. Genetic problems are rare at this age and miscarriage rates low.

In Your 30's

Many consider the 30's to be the optimum time to conceive. The reasons are that especially in the first half of this decade of life fertility issues are not so complicated or iffy, and your health is likely to be good. You've probably stopped a partying lifestyle of the college set at this point, and your career should be on track. Financially you should be in good stead with insurance and benefits most likely accompanying that more established job. You've spent time together as a couple and know each other quite well now.

In the second half of your 30's, fertility will begin its slow down. Now, 35 is not a magic age where your blow out that 35th candle and the bottom drops out on your baby hopes. However, it is realistic to expect it to take longer to get pregnant and miscarriage rates begin to creep up into the 20 percent range. The chances of your child having Down Syndrome at 35 are 1 in 400.

Past 35, and your likely to undergo more testing and be followed more closely during your pregnancy than a women in her 20's.

In Your 40's

A woman in her 40's is considered of advanced maternal age and is often just lumped into the high risk pregnancy category automatically, at least at first. Many women in their 40's these days however are in excellent health and better prepared to give birth than some women decades younger. Much of that depends on the individual and their lifestyles. If a woman keeps her weight to a normal number, is active and free of conditions and diseases, she may experience a pregnancy free of complications.

However, fertility is affected by time no matter how well you keep yourself up. Also the age of the father will play a role in both the conception and the health of the child. Women over 40 often experience difficulty in conceiving and must pursue fertility testing or treatment. Those who do receive treatment will have increased risks from the procedures as well, such as multiple births or prematurity.

Women in their 40's are more likely to have a miscarriage, placenta previa, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and of course, chromosomal abnormalities in their baby, such as Down Syndrome.

However, many women in their 40's report being happy that they had their children at a time in their life when they were truly ready for the adventure of parenting. They had experienced success in their marriages and careers and were mature and settled in their lifestyles as well.

While some older parents fret about being tired or less patient, others insist they have more patience than when in their twenties and were less stressed with other concerns than they were in earlier years.

Bottom Line

Whatever time you decide to start your family, you must consider how prepared you are financially, emotionally, in your relationship, and the state of your health. While some generalities may exist about these categories by age, every couple is different and must decide for themselves when the time is right.

Related Articles

Getting Pregnant: How Long Does it Take?

Getting Pregnant After a Miscarriage

One Mom's Trying to Conceive Success Story

Before You Begin Trying to Conceive

The Paradox of Giving Up TTC


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