Many of us dream of getting married, having kids and living happily ever after.
That’s the way it has traditionally worked. But what if you don’t want to rush into it? What if you never find the right partner, or find them later in life? Maybe you want a career or to finish your education first.
Many women are waiting until they are well into their thirties to even get married, much less have a baby.
What are the pros and cons of having a baby at 35, or even later?
I speak from experience. I got pregnant with my first baby when I was about to exit my 35th year. I had her at 36, and then went on to have two more babies at 38 and 40!
When I was in my 20's I was not thinking about settling down at all. I worked hard and liked to have fun.
I went out with friends a ton, I traveled, including some international trips. Getting pregnant was something that scared me. I was all about birth control. I loved my life and did not want to settle down or even think about babies.
I know it's not like this for everyone, but I definitely did not relate to any of my friends who were getting married and having kids at the time.
I continued working and enjoying my career well into my thirties. I think I started to think about my biological clock ticking, but I still did not worry about it. I was just slightly aware of it in the background.
When I met my now husband I still wasn't thinking babies but after a couple of years together I knew I should. I guess maybe I was finally thinking about marriage and my age creeping up on me.
I got married at the age of 35. I still didn't feel ready to start having babies but I knew then I should probably start trying if having children was important to us.
So that first year of marriage it happened. I got pregnant with my first baby and found out right before my 36th birthday.
Pros and cons of having a baby after 35
Pros to having a baby a little later
Having time in your twenties for having fun and finishing your education on your timeline.
Building a career and having an established career by the time you are ready for parenthood.
Many women and their partners are more financially stable in their thirties than their twenties due to having time to build their education and career.
Having time to travel before having a baby. Let's face it, once a baby comes we are traveling less. I am not saying you will never travel again, you will; but it's not as easy or free wheeling once there are children involved.
Many women feel more emotionally mature and ready for a baby in their thirties. By the time I was ready, I was totally ready, and took my time decorating nurseries and having fun with my pregnancies.
And going along with being ready for a baby, women in their 30's may be more likely to look after their health and pregnancy.
Cons to having a baby later in life
The main con is that you are older. Your OB may term a pregnancy after 35 as advanced maternal age or geriatric. Sounds great right?
Along with older age comes some risks and declines in fertility. I have linked out to an article with these risks, because this is common information and can be found easily. Your OB/GYN is a good source of information too if you have any concerns.
While it is said fertility does begin to decline in your mid thirties, I had no issue getting pregnant all three times.
The odds of getting pregnant each month may be a little lower over 35 than for women in their twenties. The chances of easily getting pregnant can go down as we age since our ovarian reserve of eggs declines as we get older.
Once pregnant the risk of miscarriage and other pregnancy complications is slightly higher.
For me personally I had pretty healthy pregnancies each time around although I did have some small risks.
I had Placenta Previa with my first pregnancy but it moved before birth.
I have no idea if this was because of my age but anything is possible.
My OB did not seem concerned with my age at all until my last pregnancy at 40. This is the pregnancy where I got special monitoring, and was watched much more closely and considered high risk.
Our older bodies do not bounce back as easily from pregnancy as a younger one. I felt this for sure especially after my third baby when I ended up needing physical therapy for lingering issues after birth.
Another con that has concerned me was being an older mom. While I do not feel this is an issue right now at all, I do wonder how it will affect my children when I am much older and they are getting married and having their own children. I want to be around for it all.
Being an older mom could also be an issue if you are surrounded by younger moms. Again, this has not been issue for me since I live in an area with many mothers in my age range, but I know some women feel awkward about it depending on where they live.
While it may feel daunting to have a baby after 35 most women will have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and baby at 35 and even beyond. While getting pregnant can be slightly harder than for someone younger, there are many solutions for helping fertility available. The risks of an older pregnancy may be slightly higher but the odds are that you will have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
The pros and cons aside, sometimes you cannot help how life turns out. If you are having a baby after 35 the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is follow your doctor's advice and stay healthy during pregnancy.
Please let me know if you have any questions about an older pregnancy. If you are looking for advice on getting pregnant check it out here!