Researchers tell us that the average age couples are waiting to have their first child is rising quickly. Today, the average is 26 years old. Just a century ago, the average age a woman conceived her first child was around 19.
Much of the reason for this is cultural; we’re extending childhood farther and farther as our life expectancy and quality of life increases. Today’s children don’t often leave home until well into their 20s, so it’s no surprise they’re waiting until later to have kids.
If you’re in your 30s and trying to get pregnant, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Your eggs are aging. You start out with around 500,000 eggs. Some are higher quality than others. You start releasing those that are the most sensitive to ripening first. That means your slower eggs are the ones that are waiting when you get older. Even if you conceived in one to two months back in your 20s, realize it could take six months or so in your 30s – even if there aren’t any medical problems that can impact your fertility.
- Pregnancy in your 30s can boost your energy. If you’re in shape and lead a healthy lifestyle, you’re probably going to have the amount of energy you had as a younger woman. Your energy level during pregnancy depends more on who you are, rather than how many candles were on your last birthday cake.
- This is the decade for new health problems. Chronic health problems like high blood pressure or diabetes are likely to first start rearing their ugly heads in your 30s. These health problems can sometimes complicate pregnancy.
- If you’ve put on weight over the years, you may be at higher risk for some problems. Those chronic health problems tend to afflict women in the obese category more than those in a normal weight range.
- Age alone adds risk for certain pregnancy complications. The age of 35 seems to be a cut-off for certain conditions relative to pregnancy. For example, you are more prone to gestational diabetes. Your odds of having a baby with Down syndrome or another chromosomal problem start to increase. Placenta previa – a condition where your placenta grows near your cervix and can cause bleeding – is more common after 35. If you have that condition, you’re likely to require a C-section.
- Nutrition and safety are more important than ever. Once you hit 35, you’re in the ‘high risk pregnancy’ category, medically speaking. Now’s the time to make sure you’ve got all of your health ducks in a row. Learn about pregnancy nutrition. Know what to eat and what to avoid. Make sure you’re taking that prenatal vitamin every day. Look into other helps for pregnancy, such as herbal remedies that can help ease the symptoms of pregnancy, too.
There’s no reason you can’t have a happy, healthy pregnancy after 30, assuming you have no medical issues that cause a problem with fertility. Make sure you understand the risks associated with a pregnancy in your 30s, and be prepared to make choices that encourage a happy, healthy pregnancy.