When should I start having kids?
Am I too old to have a baby?
What is the best time to start a family?
Confident, successful and amazing 20- to 40-something women can all that agree when it comes to having babies, we're all wondering the same things. Having babies earlier, or waiting a bit later -- what's best?
Many recent articles have noted that the maternal age has been increasing steadily every year. As of 2011, Stats Canada reports that the average age of first time moms was 28. Maclean's magazine reported that there are now more babies born to women over 40 than teenagers every year. The idea that most women are in their early 20s having their first child is long gone.
I had my first baby at 27, and in my social circles this means I was considered to be a pretty young mom. Many of my close friends had yet to start families, or even start thinking about them. I'm not friends with a bunch of 23 year olds, by the way. I'm talking about women in their early to mid 30s who are in serious relationships and who one day to plan to have kids. Just not right now.
Women aren't spending their 20s trying to find a husband and planning their table settings. Instead they're trying to find themselves and planning their next adventure or career move.
Choosing to wait until you've bought a home, started a career you love and making sure you've got all your ducks in a row before starting a family is so common. Financial stability is a major bonus, as is having spent a good period of time traveling or continuing your education, not to mention the period of sowing one's wild oats.The downside if that you may be more worried about your health or that of your future baby.
"Advanced maternal age", which is usually considered 40 by most Montreal Obstetricians, is the name given to a woman carrying a baby at, you guessed it, a later age.
Testing and monitoring is done more routinely and the pregnancy can carry higher risks, especially if someone conceives via IVF or other methods. In fact, many women I work with are carrying their first child between the ages of 35 and 40 and many of those women have had challenges conceiving or conceived through IVF.
This doesn't mean that the pregnancy won't be considered "normal" and most women go on to have quite straightforward births.
On the other hand, having a baby earlier can mean being less financially prepared, and might mean delaying career advancement in order to start a family.
Someone having a baby in their early to mid 20's may not have had time to travel or experience years of single life or even many years in a partnership. But, this also means that they won't have teenagers in the house in their 50s and can relive or recapture their youth later on. Their pregnancy will be considered low-risk and there will likely be much less testing or intervention involved unless medically needed.
So, when's the best time to start a family? Whenever you're ready, of course!
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