Deciding the right time to have a baby is overwhelming and difficult for most couples, but the truth is there is no perfect time to a baby — all women have different bodies and circumstances. Unfortunately, the “biological clock” is always ticking, and we’re not fertile forever.
According to research, the best age to have a baby: your 20s.
At birth, a female has anywhere from one to two million eggs, which is all she’ll ever have. The number of eggs decline with age. A woman’s fertility starts to decline at age 32 and declines more rapidly after age 37.
Your body is technically ready to have children once menstruation begins. However, just because the body can have children doesn’t mean it should. Emotional maturity is still rapidly developing in the teenage years, not to mention the financial costs of a baby. By a woman’s twenties, she’s likely to have more financial security and preparedness for a child, without fertility decreasing much from her teens. Because the eggs are young and more likely to be healthy, it’s generally easy to conceive as well. Age may also affect the delivery experience: according to studies, 80 percent of women in their 20s have vaginal births, compared with 40 percent of women in their 30s.
Having a baby in your 30s
American women are trending toward waiting longer to have children, so you’re in good company if you think this might be the right age for you. In your early thirties there’s not much to worry about — it is very much like being pregnant in your twenties. Unfortunately, the risk of losing a pregnancy is higher in your mid thirties: by ages 35 to 39, the odds hover at about 20 percent due to declining egg quality. The risk of birth defects rises at 35 — the odds your baby will have Down syndrome is now 1 in 400. Because the concern of complications, a pregnancy at 35 years or older is more closely monitored.
Having a baby in your 40s
Unfortunately, about one-third of all pregnancies in women ages 40 to 44 end in miscarriage.
How well you carry and deliver a baby in your 40s depends on several factors, including your fitness, overall health habits, and whether this is your first baby. The risk of chromosomal birth defects rise steadily in your forties: the baby has a 1 in 106 chance of being born with Down syndrome.
In the end, the right time to have a baby is what fits your life and individual circumstances best. Technically, as long as you are still ovulating and haven’t gone through menopause—which happens around age 51—it’s possible to conceive a child naturally.