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Best Age to Get Pregnant

Is It Better to Be a Young Mom or an Older Mom?

What's the best age to have a baby? 16? 24? 32? 43?

Medicine tells us that a woman's body is in its best physical condition for baby-making in her 20s, but does that have to mean, as Natalie W. points out, that the 20s are also the only universally socially approved time for reproducing?

"Why is it such an issue when a woman/girl has a baby either at 15 or 45? I get so annoyed when people go on about how old a woman is when she has a baby. Seems like the 20s are the only time a woman can have a child and nobody says anything," she posts in Circle of Moms' Mums Over 40 community.

Keep reading.

Yet, advances with in vitro fertilization are rapidly pushing the possibility of getting pregnant decades beyond the 20s, and women are having babies into their 60s and 70s.

In June 2010, a 66-year-old woman gave birth to triplets in India. After 44 years of marriage, Bhateri Devi became a mother for the first time after receiving fertility treatments from the National Fertility Clinic in Haryana. The largest of her triplets weighed only 2 pounds, 6 ounces. Her late-in-life labor of love was not the only recent startling birth story out of India: in November 2008, a 70-year-old woman delivered a 3-pound baby girl. These two births raised medical eyebrows worldwide, mostly because of the children's low birth weights. (Low birth weight and associated complications — which include stillbirth, premature birth, a higher likelihood of the mother developing gestational diabetes or placental previa, and the increased chance of having a child born with some form of mental retardation — are associated at higher rates with late-in-life pregnancies than with pregnancies that happen before the age of 35.)

The Indian moms may have pushed the reproductive age limit to its extreme, but their challenge to biology is increasingly embraced by women decades younger. And in spite of the well-documented medical risks of later-in-life pregnancy, more and more women ages 35 and up are going ahead with it. The March of Dimes reports that one in five women in the United States has her first child after age 35. According to a 2009 report by the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of American women having babies past the age of 35 has increased twelvefold since 1970, when there were only one in 100 births to women older than 35 as compared to 12 in 100 in 2006.

What's Driving Later-in-Life Pregnancies?

As Heather Z. states in Circle of Moms' Parenting Debates community, "There are many women who have children well into their 40s and (they) are in a much better position to raise a child than a 16-year-old. Most older women have already lived their lives and are ready to settle down. (They have) established themselves financially, have a stable career, etc."

Some younger mothers beg to differ, however, arguing that financial stability and emotional maturity aren't exclusive to older women. As stay-at-home mom Chauntel P. shares, "My husband and I are 22 years old and we have two children together. I never imagined that I'd be 22 with two kids, but you know . . . I love it. I can honestly say that I love my life, and that I was meant to be a mommy."

She believes that maturity level is the key to whether someone is ready to parent well: "As a parent, your children have to come first, no matter what . . . You need to be in a stable relationship, have support, and be financially and emotionally ready."

Unfortunately, statistics demonstrate that Chauntel P.'s positive experience with younger motherhood is the exception rather than the rule. According to the website Family First Aid, one-third of all teen mothers never finish high school. Only 1.5 percent earn a college degree by the age of 30, and a whopping 80 percent of teen mothers receive government assistance to meet basic needs.

Emma N. points to these statistics as reasons why teens shouldn't be parents: "Someone is too young to be a mother when they live at home with the 'rents and don't have a partner to support them or a job with maternity leave to support them financially until they can go back to work," she states. "You can know all you like about babies and feel you're ready but until you have the resources and don't have to rely on others/the government for financial support/housing, it's not a good idea to get pregnant."

So what is the best age to have a child? When you are young and full of boundless energy or when you've been around the block a couple times and have gained some life experiences?

Perhaps, as Cindy W. points out, age really isn't the most important factor: "There are advantages to being a young mom and advantages to being an older mom," she writes in the Mums Over 40 community. "As long as the kids are well taken care of, loved, protected, and raised with good core values, why does a mom's age matter?"

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Image Source: Thinkstock
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CoMMember13631189244843 CoMMember13631189244843 3 years
No one can really predict their health decades down the road, but we know young teens don't have developed brains that older moms do, and that those children are more likely to not do as well academically. Not all, just looking at the statistics. I had mine when I was in my 20's, and now am almost 60. Yes, my parenting would have been better had I been maybe five years older, but what draws women to give birth in their 40's is selfishness, since they've put it off so long. As a grandmother, I may have some skills that I didn't have as a younger mother, but I had more energy then than I do now. And I rejoiced when my children graduated from high school and college while I was still in my forties, and that I'd had a good deal of freedom since they'd been older while I was relatively young, compared to some parents who get mistaken for grandparents. A single mother in her 50's is damn selfish, because she's not putting the child first. She wants the experience, she wants the love from the child, and she's ignoring any and all facts concerning menopause, health related issues that rear their ugly heads, and how the kid might feel someday with an elderly mother he has to look after at an increasingly young age. Patience? We can all learn more patience. But we can't go back and re-do our bodies, or, assume we'll even be around for our grandchildren. A child graduating from high school with his mom is close to 80? Are you kidding me? You think she's gonna wanna baby sit for him, or, will it be vice versa?
DanielleLemire DanielleLemire 4 years
Any mom can be a good mom or a bad mom. I had my first at 18, and I'm expecting number 2 (I'm 20 now). I didn't plan it this way, but I wouldn't change a thing. I gained more in life than I "lost". They both have the same daddy, we've been together over 5 years now, and it looks like it'll stay that way for a loooooong time yet. I'm happier than ever, and glad I can match my energy to my son's, and another baby is just perfect with me. I don't care if you're 15 or 70, as long as you love your child and you can give them all they need. :)
CarrieCorbett CarrieCorbett 4 years
I had my son at 15 and my daughter at 35....the only difference is I had way more energy when I was younger :-) I agree with the other posts...God bless ALL mommies young or old!
miriam5853 miriam5853 4 years
I think if things are done in the right order than age is only the parents business. grow up become an adult, get a decent career (college or not your business, just make sure you can support you and your family) get married to a decent spouse than start a family! my husband and I have been married 13 years we have a 9 year old son and 13 month old twins, we waited 8 years by choice (I was finishing my masters and enjoying my oldest son to the fullest) we got pregnant naturally and very easily both times, we both have great careers, take care of our kids, my mother who had me when she was 37 comes over 3 days a week to be with our boys while were at work, the rest of the week eight my husband or I or both are home. I had my first son at 27 and my twins at 35 all by choice, I got married at 24. Everything was planned and were delighted, I think that's whats important that you choose to have the kids and that you are stable and they are loved and taken care of in a good stable home!!
LifeDontWasteIt LifeDontWasteIt 4 years
Having six children (no, we're not on welfare), I have had babies from age 23 to 42. The last just in December. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of it. Totally depends on the parents. Being married and choosing wisely is the statistically most important aspect. You can beat the odds if you fall outside those parameters, but don't make it harder if you still have that choice. Statistically it's better for the mom not to be too young in marriage. I'm not sure on dads however. Our society does not promote and esteem marriage like it should at it's showing in the problems we're having as a nation. A lack of committed husbands and fathers (and growing in women now also) is killing us. We cannot afford parents who need to be parented still, but that isn't necessarily a certain age.
RobinBortolus RobinBortolus 5 years
My husband and I who married when I was a freshmen in college waited until I was 23 and he was 25 to add our amazing son to the family. Even though I waited until I knew I was ready you would be surprised how many people look @ me and say "wow you started young I do not think that there is a "perfect age" it is all completely maturity related. However with that said there are WAAAYYY to many teens getting pregnant because they "think" they want a baby. If you are Not able to support yourself you are Not ready for the lifelong responsibility that is being a mother."
MaryellenJaynes MaryellenJaynes 5 years
I had my first child when I was 22. my second at 41, personally I find both had their own advantages and disadvantages but I'm loving every minute of it! we don't always have the opportunity to have our kids when we would prefer but it is all in the attitude you bring to parenthood at any age
HannahAyres HannahAyres 5 years
You never really know what's gonna happen. I had my first at 20. I was married and financially stable. Both my hausband and myself had finished college and were ready to start a family. Now 5 years laterwe are trying to get our lives back in order after my husband was in a work related accident. Who is to say having kids later in life is better because you are more stable when millions are laid off of jobs right now.
JacquelineMyers JacquelineMyers 5 years
ok I had my son at 25 and my daughter at 28, and for the record I was already happily married and have a career and bought a house. So I am the exception to the rule. I think it better to have your kids younger because you have the energy and (not teen years but late 20's if you are established) Less health issues. No matter how old or young it is important to provide a stable envir. for kids.
MichelleWalker37414 MichelleWalker37414 5 years
Risks are so much higher after 35, not to mention all the other problems people start to have as they age... obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure. Pregnancy is hard on a body and recovery is a lot slower as you age.
JoannedeVilliers JoannedeVilliers 5 years
I had both my babies late. One at 37 and the other at 40. I must say I personally was more stable both financially and emotionally but I feel that ones body's recovery rate is most probably better before 30. All said and done I love my children. They are healthy and perfect. I think the only pregnancy that should be questioned is an unwanted one. This does not mean that the person having the child will not learn to love the child it is just that when a child suffers for a mom or dad who has made a wrong choice and the child is abused or unloved that is the only time when having a child must be questioned.
DonnaLaSella DonnaLaSella 5 years
I think it all depends on the individual person and their circumstances. I had my first child at age 28, 2nd at 31 and my 3rd child at 38. I don't think I would have liked to be much younger with my first. My husband and I were married for 5 years before my first son was born and we had time to travel and enjoy each other as a couple first. I had trouble getting pregnant with my third so he is almost 10 yrs younger than my first. Now that my other two are older teens, i have a lot of time to spend with my younger one. I'm also more mature, and more experienced as a parent. We are also better off financially. Of course now at age 48 with a 10 year old, sometimes I don't feel as energetic as I was with my older kids but I still feel he gets a lot of benefits my other children didnt. I think you can be a good parent at any age. Its whatever works out best for the individual person or couple. I don't think I'd want to be having a baby much later than 40, but that is just me.
TiffanyAllen38067 TiffanyAllen38067 5 years
Next question.... What is the perfect number of children to have? Each of us holds these answers within us!! Happy Mothering Peeps!!
ANNAMOSLEY ANNAMOSLEY 5 years
I was 24 years of Age, and Now Im a Mother to 7 Beautiful Gifts,and 4 in Heaven :)
BronwynMcLeod BronwynMcLeod 5 years
I personally think that 28yrs old would be the perfect time to have a baby. Take in to consideration our enjoyment in life. If we have children too early as I did, we miss out on so many experiences like travelling, party-life, saving to buy a car or your own home, wedding plus many other reasons that WE personally might have. When we are younger, most of us don't understand the importance of looking after OUR body and minds, our wellbeing. If you are 28 yrs old, you should have done all the things that you have wanted to do and should be ready to take on motherhood. However, having a child at 28 yrs old does not make you a better mother than an 18yr old mother. Motherhood I believe is built-in. Some mothers are meant to be and some arent. Some mothers are there to do the job and others are there to commit heart and soul. Overall, I'd say enjoy your life first before you decide to have a child, so you won't have any regrets further down the line.
SusanMartinez61685 SusanMartinez61685 5 years
I don't think you judge a person's mental maturity by their age so mentally I don't think there is a proper age to have a baby. But working on just the age topic, a woman who decides to have her baby into her 40's or later runs the risk of not being around to see that child grow up which in my opinion is irresponsible and unfair to the child. As we age we are generally more at risk for life threatening diseases and health problems, especially women into their late forties and beyond. Again, I say generally which doesn't mean everyone fits this category. So why take the risk of potentially leaving a child without a mother or one that requires more care than her child? Just another point of view. And again, I know there are plenty of mothers out there, young and old, with health problems and disabilities and they do just fine, but why take the risk knowing that you are entering that zone?
DixieAnnCharles DixieAnnCharles 5 years
25 to 30 there is alot to take into consideration when becoming a mom once u have what it take everything just falls into place
KellyAllett KellyAllett 5 years
I had my first child when I was 19 and in my second yr of uni. I finished my degree and started working. I had my second at 22 and believe this was the right time for me. i am mature, a good mother (in my opinion) and do not receive any help towards raising my children financially. i am with the father of both of my children and we have been together 7 and a half years, were together 4 years before we got pregnant, living together for two years, we moved to my uni location together and made home there. It wasnt easy but i stuck it out as i wanted a career and to raise my baby. my partner is older than me but had no experience with children and is a fantastic dad, he is hands on and we make a great team. I personally have had experience with younger, 'normal' age and older and I have found that a lot of older mums just dont have the energy, are old-fashioned and the children are really sheltered. On the other hand a lot of young mums shouldnt have ahd their children as they dump them every weekend to go out, use them for housing and benefits and are not a proper mum. But this may also be the type of person they are and might behave this way regardless of their age. yes there are more complications known in pregnancy 30-35 plus and i have studied it. i always wanted to be finished by the time i was 30 and have well and truly done this so I can now concentrate on bringing my children up and when they are older I am still young enough to 'have some me time'. i think that it does depend on the person and the maturity but i think that up to 26 is a good age, possibly from about 20 but it depends on the person as i was ready earlier. my partner didnt think he could have children so we have been blessed. i think a lot of older mums have children for similar reasons as young people-to get housing benefits and money benefits. the older u are when u have your children the older you will be when they grow up, so say u have a child at 25, when they are 20 you will be 45 but if you wait til 35 then you will be 55 and then when you have grandchildren then you might not be able to enjoy them as much. its not always about age of first but also the others you have, such as if you start at 30 and want three but with a couple of years gap then you are nearing 40. and as for people saying that wating until you are older prepares you more for having children is absolute rubbish! a 30 yr old who has had nothing to do with children does not just flick a switch on so they know what to do. some younger mums are much better mums because they are more aware of life now. i think older mums and ppl in general need to give younger and what is 'normal' aged mums a break. if you go back a few years then it was normal to have children 17/18 and frowned upon being 30 plus. i want a career but will have that with children, they were the most important thing and as long as they have love and we can provide a roof over their heads, food, warmth and security, and medical care then they dont need all the ridiculuously expensive things these older mums can buy just because they have more money. its not about that
vickywilkinson28325 vickywilkinson28325 5 years
I had my first child at 21 and third child at 28 having a family young was my choice so that i can enjoy their childhood and hopefully still be young enough to help out and enjoy their children but not to be to old to do fun things like theme parks. How ever there is nothing wrong with being an older or more mature parent, Having climbed the career ladder or traveled the world will also have its advantages or even just being in a more stable financial situation. So whatever age and for what ever reason you decide to have family its a personal choice.
LukithiaEvans LukithiaEvans 5 years
I was 18 and single when I had my first, 21 and 25 for the last two. Yes, if I would've waited til I was older to began they may have more stability and been better off financially. What I was able to give them is a mom young enough to feel comfortable talking to about anything, a mom who remembers being their age and knowing what battles are the ones to fight. 44 when my oldest graduates from high school and plenty of life (Lord Willing) to enjoy my life without kids and with grandkids.
maureenkane62069 maureenkane62069 5 years
I think late 20's early 30's. This age gives the mom enough time to have enjoyed freedom from the responsiblities of parenthood, time for an education, time to find a career, time to find a good partner......
crestinelucman crestinelucman 5 years
For me age 25 is the ideal age. At this stage a woman is mature enough to handle parenting situation.
LizGataViki LizGataViki 5 years
There is no denying that the younger you are, the easier it is and the less risky it is on you physically to carry a baby and give birth. That's just a scientific fact. However, that's not to say that you can't have a baby when you are older. Ofcourse you can. A lot of people do these days in their 40s. It may even be better in terms of financial stability, mental and emotional maturity and just feeling satisfied that one has accomplished what they wanted to do in their lives careerwise. However this does not change the truth about what I said at the beginning about it being better for you physically the younger you are. Biology and socio/economic factors are 2 different matters in this equation, and I guess its about finding the right balance between the 2, which of course is a very personal choice for every woman. Having children is such a HUGE and pretty permanent responsibility, it really has to be your comfortable choice when to have them.
Dianafieldbrittain Dianafieldbrittain 5 years
I was 27 when I had my first child. I am soon to be 43 and find I don't want to have a child in my forties. I have 3 children now and find having them when I did suited me. Everyone is different having a child when you can is the best time to have them. I would say 18 at the youngest so you have school done first. Shows like 16 and pregnant make it like go out and have kids will put you on tv and magazines. Remember a Child will be with you for the rest of your life so it is a big step to have one at any age.
DonnaBrown22698 DonnaBrown22698 5 years
I was 20 & 22 when I had my first two children. I was 38 when I had my last child. Was I financially ready to have my first two? No, but I was married to a college student and I did work outside the home, but at relatively low paying positions, mind you. I went back to work when my oldest was 6 weeks old and during my first break, I went into the breakroom and cried uncontrollably for about 15 minutes. I wasn't ready to go back to work and leave my daughter with a babysitter, but that's what I did. When I had my second daughter, I did not return to work right away, in fact, I stayed home with her and my then 3 year old for quite some time. When I had my last daughter, I had been working, but quit when I found out I was pregnant and then didn't go back to work until she was 5 months old. I was better equipped (financially and emotionally) to leave her at daycare while I went to work. Then circumstances changed and my then 17 year old stepson became my daughter's primary caregiver. For 18 months he watched her, taught her how to hold a pencil and how to tie her shoes, among other things. Having my stepson watch her was the best thing ever. My now 8 year old daughter and 24 year old stepson are as tight as two ticks. There is nothing earthly that will ever break that bond. So, while my body was younger in my 20s, I don't think age is the issue. I believe it truly is the level of maturity and while being prepared financially would be best, that doesn't always happen, especially in today's economy. Does that mean women should stop having babies? No way! Just being prepared emotionally can make all the difference. jmho
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