There isn’t a hard and fast rule that determines the best time to get pregnant. Feeling ready to try for a baby is a very personal choice that can be affected by many factors. Future moms and dads tend to consider financial stability, housing, career choices, and personal goals when deciding if they’re ready to bring a new life into the world.
But if we’re talking about fertility, age does matter. An average woman under the age of 30 has a 95 percent chance of becoming pregnant within a year of having unprotected sex. After the age of 30, that chance decreases by 3 percent each year. A 40-year-old woman has a 5 to 10 percent chance of conceiving naturally, and the odds fall below 5 percent after the age of 45.
The reason for this is that every woman is born with a certain number of eggs inside her ovaries. With age, the quantity and quality of a woman’s eggs decline.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get pregnant naturally after you’re 35 or 40 years old. You probably know some women who have become pregnant at an older age. However, age is an important factor to keep in mind if you’re planning your family.
As women get older, the risks associated with pregnancy also increase. The risk of miscarriage is approximately 40 to 50 percent in 40-year-old women. That is a stark increase from the 15 to 20 percent chance of miscarriage when a woman is under 30 years old.
The risks of developing pregnancy-related conditions also increases with age. Women over the age of 40 have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia during their pregnancies. Older maternal age has also been found to lead to a higher risk of premature births and emergency C-sections.
Chromosomal genetic disorders are also more likely to develop when a woman is older. A 35-year-old woman has a 1/350 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome. By the time a woman is 45 years old, that chance will have increased to 1/35.
There are other things that need to be taken into consideration if you want to have kids after 30. On one hand, you might have less energy than before. But on the other hand, having financial stability could make you feel more confident about the challenges of motherhood. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide when the best time to have a baby is. After all, we all have different paths.
If you’re older than 30 years old and trying to conceive or are already pregnant, there are certain tips that can help you prepare for a baby. These are some things that can help you if you want to have kids after 30:
- Get healthy. Cutting out harmful habits, developing a healthy routine, and eating a balanced diet might seem like simple steps. Scientific studies have shown, though, that getting healthier is one of the most important things you can do to boost your fertility. Besides, being in good health will also make you feel more energized during pregnancy, make recovery from childbirth easier, and reduce certain pregnancy-related risks.
- Start taking your supplements. Once you decide you’re ready to try to conceive, start taking a prenatal supplement that contains folic acid. The first few weeks of fetal development are very important, and these supplements can aid your pregnancy.
- Learn more about pregnancy and delivery. Becoming a mother can make you anxious regardless of your age. And even though it’s impossible to fully prepare for motherhood, educating yourself about these subjects can make you feel more prepared to face these changes. For example, you can learn more about fetal development week by week or find answers to your questions about labor and delivery.
- Know when it’s time to get professional help. As a general rule, it’s recommended that couples under the age of 35 seek help from a fertility specialist if they’ve been unable to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected sex. But if you’re over the age of 35 or have a condition that could affect your fertility, you shouldn’t wait longer than six months to see a specialist if you’ve been unable to conceive.
- If you’re pregnant, make sure you’ve got the essentials covered. From having your hospital bag ready as the big day approaches to having everything you need for the baby, all moms-to-be share these concerns, no matter their age.
- Consider other roads to motherhood. If an expert determines that you’re infertile or fertility treatments have failed for you, there are still other ways to become a mother. Consider adoption; depending on where you live, surrogacy and egg donation can also be alternatives.
Family planning can allow you to achieve financial stability, emotional maturity, and advance your career before you start a family. It also means that you’ll be in control of when you’re ready to try to conceive, whether that means being in a stable relationship or pursuing single motherhood.
Other benefits of family planning include:
- reduction in infant mortality
- prevention of sexually transmitted infections (including HIV)
- enhanced education
- sustainable population growth
- allowing women to reach their goals
Although your most fertile years range from ages 20 to 24, many women don’t feel ready for babies at that point. If you’re looking to start your family after 30 or even 35, experts suggest planning your first pregnancy before you’re 37 years old. This increases your chances of having at least one child before your fertility declines further. If you’re around or over the age of 35 and want to start a family later on, you should consider freezing your eggs.
At the end of the day, choosing to have a baby is a very personal decision that should never be taken lightly. Every mom experiences motherhood differently. However, if you dream of starting a family, you’ll need to take your age into account when you make plans for the future. In certain regards, being younger can help you conceive faster and have a healthier pregnancy.