The “younger moms vs older moms” debate have been going on for a long time. While both sides argue about maturity, ability and parenting techniques, a question that is often left unanswered is if there is a “right” age to have a baby?
Does Age Really Matter When Having A Baby?
While there may be many around you talking about the health risks of a delayed pregnancy, a few may actually encourage you to take your time before venturing into parenthood. That being said, pregnancy at any age comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
What Experts Say
Fertility undergoes a steady and gradual decline in the early 30s. Experts say that women in the age group of 40 to 45 have 95 percent fewer chances of becoming pregnant each month, while those above that have less than one percent probability.
Dr. John S Rinehart MD, Ph.D., a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility (REI) specialist, says, “The real question that couples face is whether there is a perfect time to have a baby, given our life’s situations? On an average, a woman’s fertility peaks in her 20s, which are considered to be the peak childbearing years.”
However, every woman has her own calculation of the right time to have a baby. “Women have a complicated formula of emotional and personal factors when it comes to deciding a right time to have a baby. Fertility, financial stability, career, personal development and romantic status all come into the picture,” says Dr. Georgianna Donadio, a relationship expert and founder and director of the National Institute of Whole Health in Boston.
Why Age Matters
But while all these talks make sense, it may be hard to play with biology. Neither can you escape poor sperm quality nor the fewer number of eggs your ovaries are producing. As you get older, so do your ovaries and that greatly impacts the quality of your eggs.
“Young healthy eggs increase chances of conception while also reducing the risk of miscarriage and birth-related defects,” says Rinehart.
Age may also play a big part in your labor experience. According to a recent study, 80 percent of women in their 20s gave natural birth as opposed to older women who mostly opted for a C-section.
Advantages and Disadvantages
While physiological and biological considerations do play a part in deciding the best time to get ‘preggers’, some social pressures also come into play. When many argue over the maturity and financial stability of younger parents, there’s a silver lining to this, too. “It may be smart to have kids in your early 20s when you have all the energy in the world to keep up with them,” advises Dr. Donadio.
Yet again, an early motherhood may interfere with your education and career aspirations. It is not uncommon to see young mothers giving preference to their careers over their babies to pursue their dreams.
In her book The Price of Motherhood, author Ann Crittenden coined the term “mommy tax” to describe the economic toll motherhood takes on a woman’s earning potential over the course of a lifetime. This could potentially work to encourage young women into delaying pregnancy.
Ann describes, “Women who have their children later in life have higher lifetime earnings and a wider range of opportunities than younger mothers.”
Turns out, the perfect age to have a baby is more of a myth just like the ‘perfect mom’. No matter what considerations align you to either side, the decision to become a mom involves trade-offs.