Pregnancy in Your 20s, 30s, and 40s

There's no 'right time' to have a baby -- but there are simple steps you can take to stay happy and healthy at every age.

Pregnancy in Your 20s

Monika Bogumil, 23

"My husband, Marcin, and I have been married for two years, and we thought we'd hold off on getting pregnant because we're both still in school -- I'm studying to be a labor and delivery nurse. But we finally decided we couldn't wait. My mother was 20 years old when she had me, and I love how close we are. She really understood me growing up because she was such a young mom, and I want to have the same kind of relationship with my child. I've had a healthy pregnancy so far, although my whole body's gotten more swollen than I expected!"

Your Body Now:

"Physically, the 20s are the ideal time for pregnancy," says Peter Bernstein, M.D., an ob-gyn at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City. That's because your body is primed to handle the demands of carrying a baby.

  • You're at the lowest risk for pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, chronic hypertension, and preeclampsia.
  • You're also less likely to have a baby with Down syndrome or with spina bifida. (At 25, your risk of having a baby with Down syndrome is one in 1,250. At 35, it's one in 378.)
  • Once your baby's born, caring for and keeping up with her may not be as taxing for a younger mother. "I definitely had more energy in my 20s than in my 30s and 40s," says Diane Ross Glazer, Ph.D., a psychotherapist in Woodland Hills, California, who speaks from experience, having had a baby in each decade.

Your Mind Now:

Your marriage is new, you're starting a career, and many of your pals don't have kids.

  • "Get emotional support from other moms-to-be," says Shellie Fidell, a therapist at Women's Healthcare Partnership, in St. Louis.
  • You're faced with how to juggle work and family before you've had time to get established. Do you forge ahead and try to do both, or delay your career or education?
  • A new baby can be stressful on a new marriage. Once he or she is born, make time for each other.

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