The issue is not so much what is the best age to have a baby, but what are the advantages and disadvantages of having a baby at the various ages. When it comes to deciding when to have a baby, it is very much a personal decision. You have to decide what is best for you and ultimately what is best for your baby.
There have always been women having babies in their late thirties and early forties, but these days it is more frequently a conscious decision to start a family later in life. The following are some of the possible reasons for this development.
- Advances made in contraceptives
- Wider range of career options for women
- Social acceptance of older single women
- Rise in divorce and remarriage leading to a desire for children from the new union
- Couples looking for more financial and emotional security before having babies
Advantages and Disadvantages of Having a Baby After 35
Although there are health risks involved in having a baby after 35, it is not massively more so than for having babies before 35. There is no sudden emergence of risk when you turn 35, but rather increases of various risk factors as you get older. Older women often have higher education and improved socioeconomic status which is linked to healthier pregnancies. Good maternal health and lifestyle are more important factors than chronological age.
Genetic defects are a common concern in later pregnancies. Aging eggs may result in more miscarriages and may also be a contributing factor to the steady increasing risk of genetic abnormalities in babies born to women over 35. Although the risk does increase it remains small and most women, who have given birth over 35 years of age, have entirely healthy babies.
Conditions that affect more women over the age of 35 include diabetes and high blood pressure. Varicose veins and blood clots are also slightly more likely. Health problems in mothers over 35 can also lead to babies that are smaller when born. Most of these problems can be treated or minimized by the mother doing all she can to live healthily before and during the pregnancy. Moderation, simplicity, and wisdom enhance chances of a healthy pregnancy, birth and baby.
Women over 35 are often emotionally more mature than younger women, making them better able to handle the ups and downs of parenting. Relationships are often more secured and stresses of having a baby are less likely to affect the relationship in a negative way. The desire to have a baby later in life can often be strong, and a baby is usually a very welcome addition to the family. Parenting requires the virtue of patience, a virtue that is generally more developed in older parents.