Pregnancy, Older or Younger?

20 May

First, let me tell you that I am never having children, so all of this information is irrelevant to me.

Now that thats out of the way…

People are getting pregnant at older ages. Historically, you could be married and pregnant by the ripe old age of 14 (not that the pregnant thing has really changed), but now it looks like the age for first time mothers is about 25. That’s 4 years older than 40 years ago. Its not too big of an issue if you have a child at age 25 – you are in the prime reproductive years – but because this is an average, it means the entire scale of women’s first pregnancies has shifted to higher ages. An example of this is that between the ages of 15 and 44, births have declined (births total have declined, so this is expected), but for women over 45, births have increased.

My reasoning behind this is that its taking people on average longer to finish school and settle down to a place which is conducive to having children. I also think that women don’t have to make as many attempts to have children who survive to adulthood, as they did centuries ago, so women don’t have to have children as early to maximize the number of years they can reproduce. There is also the increase in life expectancy; you have the option to have children later.

All of this brings me to my main point: having children at an older age can pose some serious problems, but it also has its benefits.

Benefits

  • You have more resources. Children are expensive, so its important to have plenty of money to pay for all of their needs like healthcare, food, clothing, and enrichment. Having a stable living situation is also important.
  • You’re more mature. Mentality is a big deal with anything – it can make or break you. As you get older, you’ve learned how to deal with stress better. You’re also more likely to be comfortable staying at home every night with your small child (instead of having that inner desire to party it up).
  • Personal lives are stable. As you get older, you are more likely to have a single, steady partner to help raise your child with. You are also more likely to understand that your child takes precedence over your love life (if you happen to not have a single steady partner).

Detriments

  • Less energy. As you grow older, you naturally have less energy than you do when you are younger – say your early 20’s. Babies and toddlers require a lot of keeping up with, and you might find yourself falling short.  You might also find yourself out of touch with whatever age your child might be as he/she grows older.
  • Higher health risks for you. Risk of things like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, miscarriage, and multiple babies all go up and the risk can even be twice as high as someone in their 20’s.
  • Higher health risks for your baby. With increase prevalence of mom’s health risks, cause an increase risk in problems for baby. For example, if mom gets diabetes while she is pregnant, baby is a lot more likely to get it too, or have a high birth weight. Chromosomal disorders, like Down’s Syndrome (and others), dramatically increase with age also. There may be other long-term consequences as well. If you are an older mother and are having trouble with fertility, its likely that your child with have problems with fertility also.

What age do you want to/did you get pregnant (for the first time) at? Which has more weight, the pros or the cons? 

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