The number of women who have given birth for the first time between the ages of 30 and 39 years has more than doubled in the last 15 years. In the same 15-year period the number of women over 40, giving birth for the first time, increased by 50 percent.
Ten years ago a woman’s biological clock began to sound when she was 30. Today, it is much later, somewhere between 35 and 40 depending on your circumstances. However, the general consensus among the medical profession is that there is a sharp decline in fertility from age 35.
Medical research and screening advances have made women feel safer about having babies later in life. Prenatal research and screening has reduced the risk for women over 40 giving birth to babies with genetic defects and chromosomal abnormalities.
Progress in modern medicine has helped women suffering from chronic disease, infertility or possible complications during pregnancy give birth to normal, healthy babies.
Many women believe that they can delay giving birth to a baby without any risk until they meet their life goals such as completing their education, finding career success, strengthening their financial situation and finding an appropriate partner. Often this is the case, but research has shown that this is not always the case. For further information on infertility, click here.
Medically speaking, the best age for giving birth is between 20 and 24 years, though many women feel that they are not ready for children at this young age. A woman’s fertility declines sharply at age 35, in line with a rising risk of birth defects such as Downs Syndrome. Women over 35 are also more likely to suffer from complications during pregnancy and delivery.
However, these possible risks can be mitigated if a woman plans her pregnancy carefully, prepares herself physically for an optimum pregnancy, and is under the care of a GP, obstetrician or midwife. Every woman is different, and it is very much a case of waiting to see, knowing that modern medicine is on your side.