In our modern world, many women ask themselves what is the best age to get pregnant.
Most couples have access to family planning resources that give them the ability to decide when they want to start trying for children. The short answer to this question is that there is no best age to get pregnant, and that every woman will have to weigh the pros and cons when considering having children at different ages.
With all the information available on pregnancy at different ages, it may be confusing or overwhelming to start thinking about your own best age to get pregnant. Just remember that it’s a personal decision and there is no right answer. When thinking about this topic, you will want to consider biological, social, and psychological factors; choosing the best age to get pregnant isn’t just about picking the best moment for your body, it’s also about your emotional maturity and your economic capability to raise a child.
So instead of sifting through the internet to help you determine the best age to get pregnant, you can read this article, where we will walk you through the pros and cons of pregnancy in your twenties, thirties, and forties.
Your age and your fertility – it’s not all cut and dry
With everything that people say about having children after thirty, many women think that pregnancy after 35 is risky, while pregnancy after 40 is just reckless. Well, this simply isn’t true. Yes, there are some increased risks for later pregnancies, but so much widespread concern just isn’t substantiated by medical observation. In other words, many women safely have babies after 35, and yes, even after 40! So here are some clear facts about pregnancy at different ages that may surprise you:
- While it’s true that women between 20 and 24 years old have the highest fertility rates (because they are typically ovulating every month), they still only have a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month when having unprotected sex.
- Fertility in general does drop in women after 30, and takes a pretty steep dive after 35, but most women who want to get pregnant won’t have difficulty until after 35. And even if fertility decreases, it’s still very possible to conceive after 35.
- The average age of pregnant women in developed countries at a given time is 32.
- According to a recent study, the best age to get pregnant in Europe is 34 because of the combination of physical, economical, and emotional factors.
Pregnant in your 20s: Babies having babies, or mummies with energy?
While some people swear that your twenties are the best age to get pregnant, others criticize this as “babies having babies.” In reality, arguments can be made for each side. Physically speaking, younger parents have more energy to keep up with growing children, and then again have this advantage as grandparents. But they may not be as financially and psychologically prepared for raising kids.
Take a look at the specific pros and cons of pregnancy in your twenties. These are the biological factors worth considering:
- Because this is your peak of fertility within your lifetime, almost every month should present a viable egg that could lead to conception.
- The amount of time that you will have to wait after you start trying to get pregnant will be less than if you started at a later age—you have an 80% chance of conceiving within a year!
- Your baby has a very low chance of genetic abnormalities, chromosomal disorders, and birth defects than older mothers.
- Problems like endometriosis and fibroids, high blood pressure, and gestational diabetes that can affect older women during pregnancy will most likely not occur.
- The risk of miscarriage is the lowest it will be, at 9.5%. You are also unlikely to have a low birth weight or preterm baby.
- You will tend to have higher energy during pregnancy, as well as after birth than older parents—and the lack of sleep will be much harder on them than it is on you!
- Also, your body will bounce back into shape much quicker than it will if you have kids later.
- Finally, some evidence suggests that getting pregnant at a younger age decreases the chances of ovarian and breast cancers!
On the other hand, you also need to take into account these emotional and economic factors:
- You can benefit emotionally knowing that you will have more years to spend with your children than older parents. And the same is true for your grandkids.
- But having a child at a young age can put a huge financial strain on you as a young adult when you are unlikely to have a lot of savings, and typically will have a lower income than you will at a later age.
- Especially for women, having children in your twenties can stagnate a career in its vital early development.
- Many young couples have marital strain because they are just figuring out how to take care of each other, and suddenly have an additional person to worry about.
- Some young parents also feel resentment and unhappiness because their social lives suffer.
- Some evidence suggests an increased risk of behavioural problems in children of young parents.
- Many young women have body image insecurities after pregnancy.
Pregnant in your 30s, a good compromise
Despite the negative things you may have heard about pregnancy after 35, your thirties are actually a pretty good time in general to get pregnant. It’s a time when you have a good compromise between youth and maturity, both of which are helpful for pregnancy and child rearing.
Take a look at the biological pros and cons of getting pregnant in your 30s:
- You will have decreased fertility, especially after 35, but there is still a lot of viable egg production, so you aren’t likely to have serious problems. Some women may begin needing fertility treatments in their late thirties.
- However, your chances of miscarriage increase, ranging from 11.5% to 18%, as well as your baby’s chances of having a disorder.
- You’re more likely to have twins.
- Ectopic pregnancies also present a risk.
- There is also a higher probability of physical problems both during pregnancy and labour, which require bed rest, or could result in a C-Section. The likelihood of needing a C-section is double what it is for mothers in their twenties.
And don't forget about the emotional and economical pros and cons:
- You will probably be more financially secure, with a cushion and savings, and also a higher salary.
- Probably more patient with more perspective on life than younger parents, and more capable of compromise with your partner. You’re less likely to suffer marital strain.
- It is also less damaging for women’s careers and they are more easily able to return to work.
- You’re less likely to suffer from body image problems, and resentment about your loss of social life.
Pregnant in your 40s, emotionally easier, physically harder
Honestly, pregnancy after 40 is a bit difficult. Statistically, only 2 in 5 women will be able to get pregnant when they try. By this age, you also need to think about your partner’s sperm fertility, as this can begin to decline in the late forties as well. All in all, we can agree that it is not the best age to get pregnant, even though that doesn’t make it a bad one! Physically speaking, there aren’t really any pros to waiting this long to get pregnant, but there are some emotional and economical ones.
Take a look at the biological risks of getting pregnant in your 40s:
- You have double the risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure as a 20 year old.
- There is a 33% chance of miscarriage.You’re also more susceptible to problems with the placenta, as well as haemorrhaging.
- Your baby will also have a higher possibility of chromosomal abnormalities like Down Syndrome, and birth defects, as well as low birth weight.
However, there are many advantages in the emotional and economical territory:
- You’ve got a lot more life perspective, patience, and emotional stability to deal with raising a child.
- Your career is probably very settled and you’ve had a lot of time to save money.
- However, you could still be supporting your child financially by the time you try to retire.
- There is some emotional stress of knowing that your time will be more limited with your children and grandchildren.
Weighing the pros and cons of pregnancy
If you’re ready to start thinking about starting a family, talk to your partner about it and see if you’re on the same page. Why not take a few days to assess your financial situation and discuss how emotionally prepared you feel to raise a child? You could even make your own personal list of pros and cons to determine your best age to get pregnant.
Of course, your body and fertility will be an important factor to consider, and it’s never too soon to start talking to your obstetrician or gynaecologist about fertility testing or checking for abnormalities, just so you can keep them in mind going forward. But don’t underestimate the importance of economical stability, confidence in your own adulthood, and emotional preparedness for raising a child.
However, remember that the most important thing is that you feel ready: times are changing and it takes longer for young people to reach the point where they feel they are ready, both mentally and economically, to have a baby. Do not feel forced to choose: Your 40s may not be the best age to get pregnant, but even if there are higher risks in general, nowadays we also have many ways of predicting and controlling them.
We hope the information provided in this article about the best age to get pregnant is more helpful than confusing—although, it is a lot of information to take in! If there is only one thing you take away from this article, it should be that the decision to start trying to have a family is a personal one and should be guided by your own priorities and physical state.