"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!"
"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.
Your marriage is new, you're starting a career, and many of your pals don't have kids.
"I've been married for four years, but I wanted to delay pregnancy so that I could focus on my career as an actress. Then one of my cousins, who was just 36 and had two children, died suddenly, and that spurred me on to have a baby, because it made me realize how short life can be. Now my husband, Richard, and I both feel ready to take that next step. I've always been very active, and I've continued to work out during my pregnancy, which gives me tons of energy. I even take kickboxing classes (though I've had to modify some of the moves!)."
You're at higher risk of developing certain complications. But the majority of healthy women still have uneventful pregnancies at this age. Here are the facts.
Many women in their 30s feel more psychologically ready for motherhood. Consider this.
"I spent most of my 30s getting a successful business off the ground and traveling. I didn't get married until I was 42. I guess I always thought I'd have a baby someday, but I never worried about it. When we found out I was pregnant, my husband, Troy, and I were thrilled. I think my parents were even more excited, since they had pretty much given up on me! At my age, I think I have lots of wisdom and stability to offer my baby, so for me it's the perfect time to become a mom. I feel really good, and my doctor says the baby is doing great."
Having a baby in your 40s is common these days, and the majority of older mothers have totally normal pregnancies. Still, the risk of complications rises after age 40.
You're definitely prepared to have a baby at this point in your life, particularly if you married late or if you've gone through years of fertility treatments. Here are some things you can expect.
Copyright? 2005. Reprinted with permission from the January 2005 issue of Parents magazine.