Since many women are waiting until after their twenties to marry and/or have children, how old is considered too old to have a baby?
Many women these days are waiting until they are older to have children. For example, take a peek at the current British royal family. Queen Elizabeth was married and became a mother a year after being wed while still in her twenties. Her son, Charles, married 19-year-old Princess Diana who became a mom of two before her 25th birthday. However, her son, William, currently second in line for the English throne, waited until his thirties to marry and begin a family, as did his wife Catherine. Will their children George and Charlotte continue this trend and not marry or start a family until their thirties or even later? As a side note: Prince Harry, William’s brother, is 32 and shows no signs of “settling down” to marriage and beginning a family yet
Historically, doctors have advised women to not wait until 30 to have a baby, yet many women have babies in their thirties effortlessly. Many physicians now advise to have children before a woman is 40. Yet, Janet Jackson has surpassed her 50th birthday and recently gave birth to her first child.
About fourteen percent of births in the United States are from women over the age of 35 (source: Mayo Clinic online). At the same time women over the age of 35 do have more trouble conceiving and are more inclined to experience one or more miscarriages. Studies show that women 35-39 have a twenty-five percent chance of experiencing a miscarriage. This leaves open a seventy-five percent chance of not having a miscarriage!!! Now for women 40 and over, depending on circumstance and lifestyle, the odds are 50/50 (still not bad).
Dozens of studies have been quoted to show that the older a woman is, the higher the likelihood is that she will have complications with pregnancy and/or delivery, but as any woman who has ever delivered a baby can tell you, complications in pregnancy and delivery depend on a number of different things that add together for the labor and delivery process.
Age is but one factor to consider when deciding when a woman should safely conceive and give birth. Other factors include how physically active the mom is before and during pregnancy, her overall health before and during pregnancy, family history, number of pregnancies and/or births, etc. Some studies even claim that the time of year when a woman gets pregnant and/or delivers is significant in how “easy” or “hard” her labor will be. For example, women who give birth in spring/ summer have “easier” pregnancies and deliveries than women who give birth in the fall/winter, which I think is up for debate. The most important thing is that, both mommy and baby are safe and healthy throughout the pregnancy as well as postnatal.
Here’s where things get a little tricky. There is truth in the warnings of potentially having a baby with genetic and/or chromosomal abnormalities (i.e Down syndrome, Autism). The risk become greater, the older the mother is. It’s always best to consult with your doctor constantly and consistently when preparing to take this step. There are simple lifestyle factors that can contribute to both increasing and decreasing these odds.
Increased risks to both the mother and baby with older women are indeed real, yet there are dozens of women who have healthy babies in their thirties, forties, and even fifties. So what do you think? How old is too old? Our team has been going back and forth on this topic and we would love to hear some other perspectives on this. Feel free to comment below or on our social media!