The Pros and Cons for pregnancy in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s from Baby Center: Ever wonder if a certain time in your life is better for starting a family than others? There will never be a “perfect” answer but what is considered your ideal age is based on your lifestyle, health history, career and financial stability. The following list of advantages and disadvantages can help inform you on pregnancy at different chapters in your life and provide you with a greater understanding of the choices you have.
+ From a strictly biological standpoint, the 20s is the best decade for conceiving and carrying a baby: Experts say the average woman’s fertility peaks when she’s 24 and in your 20’s you have about a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant in any single ovulation cycle. Your chances of conceiving within a year of trying are about 98 percent in your early 20s and about 84 percent by your late 20s. You can also expect a low risk of miscarriage, premature birth and down syndrome. Lastly, at this age you are still very energetic and flexible in life, making it easier to wake up in the middle of the night and then function well during the day.
– In your 20’s you generally have less life experience, career stability and financial stability. Young mothers are more likely to fall into depression and feel overwhelmed and unprepared for motherhood; behavioural issues are more common in younger mothers. Young fathers may also feel neglected because the couple have not yet been able to spend years building a relationship, experiences and trust before having a child.
+ During this stage you are more secure in your career and relationship, and you also have a larger financial cushion established. Physically, you still have a lot of resilience and stamina, and a flexible attitude. Women at this age are also more likely to be emotionally mature and able to focus on a child, maintain work relationships and find time for yourself. In your 30’s you also have used your 20’s to have some adventure, focus on yourself first and build your personal identity.
– In your early 30’s fertility is still strong but at 35, the decline in fertility begins to increase more rapidly. Age 35 is also the point when Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities become more of a concern, so experts routinely recommend amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, or other detailed fetal screening during pregnancy from the mid-30s on. The rate of miscarriages slowly rise throughout your 30’s and in your mid to late 30’s caesareans are more common. Your chances of conceiving within a year of starting to try are about 75 percent but in your late 30s your chance of getting pregnant within a year drops to 65 percent.
+ Many 40-plus women do get pregnant, some using fertility treatments and some not. And recent studies have shown there may be benefits to waiting to have children, for both you and your child. You’ve had time to grow and to see the world; you’re more likely to be secure financially and more comfortable in your career. There’s also some evidence that older mothers, who generally are better educated than young mothers, make wiser parenting decisions.
– The largest downside to putting off pregnancy until your 40s is significant: It’s harder to get pregnant the longer you wait. Researchers found that 40-year-old women treated for infertility had a 25 percent chance of achieving pregnancy using their own eggs. By age 43 that number dropped to 10 percent, and by 44 it had plummeted still further, to 1.6 percent. Pregnancy complications are another concern. In your 40s you’re far more likely to develop problems like high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy, as well as placental problems and birth complications. Finally, the cost of fertility treatments can be very expensive and you and your partner may have to continue working past retirement age to support your children, while friends are retiring.
For more information visit “Age and Fertility”.