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Ask a room full of mothers of different ages when the best time is to have a baby and you will likely hear several different answers. The truth is, there is no absolute “perfect” age to start your family.
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of having children at different stages:

The Twenties

Women in their twenties are in their prime physically. They carry babies easily, have boundless energy, enjoy easier deliveries and tolerate sleepless nights better than women who are older. Best of all, their bodies bounce back from pregnancy much more quickly.

There is a downside to having children at a young age, however. Starting a family while you are still very young may cut down on the opportunity to enjoy quality time with a partner before having to “grow up” and act like adults. In addition, younger couples are often not as financially stable as older couples and careers may still be in their infancy. Student loans may still be a burden and the ability to afford a home may not yet be in the cards.

The Thirties

Couples in their thirties may be more financially ready to have children. Their careers may be firmly established and couples have had ample opportunity to grow together as a couple before taking on the responsibility of raising a family.

Women in their thirties are still able to conceive easily, for the most part, and still have plenty of energy reserves. As the thirties wear on, however, women may find themselves more tired during their pregnancy and less able to tolerate sleepless nights. As women age, their risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery increase, as does the risk of certain birth defects.

The twenties and thirties are absolutely better than the forties

Women in their forties may be exhausted during pregnancy. They may have had greater difficulty in conceiving and may have needed “help” to become pregnant. They are at higher risk for complications during pregnancy and birth, and the risk of having a baby with a birth defect is even higher than for women in their thirties. Women in their forties are monitored carefully throughout their pregnancy and most go on to develop perfectly healthy children. Older women may find it more difficult to shed the baby weight and regain their energy.

There are many positives to having children in your forties to counteract the negatives. Most women in their forties are financially secure. They are mature and know exactly what they want. Their relationships have withstood the tests of time and survived. They may own their own home and are able to afford to hire help. Older women may have had more difficulty conceiving, but they have no ambivalent feelings about their pregnancy- they know what they want!

There is no perfect age to have kids- the perfect time for you may seem an inopportune time to the next woman. What is important is that you know what is right for you and that you are financially, physically and emotionally ready, whatever age you may be.