Is There a Perfect Age to Have a Baby?

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By Sasha Brown-Worsham | Published April 3, 2015 on Yahoo Parenting | Featuring Sheryl Ross

When I got pregnant with my first baby at 28, I didn’t think much about my age. We had no trouble getting pregnant and at that point, we’d been married for three years. However, I was at least five years younger than just about every other new mother in our hometown of Boston. Even among my friends, I was one of the first to have a baby.

My first years of motherhood were lonely and isolating. But then, my friends started having children. By the time I had my third child eight years later, all my friends were mothers and the experience was something else entirely. I had friends to borrow maternity clothes from and to commiserate with over weight gain and morning sickness. I also had people who understood how tired I was and told me they’d been there, too.

However, having a baby at 36 was far more taxing. I didn’t have any problems conceiving but it took a year to lose all the baby weight (the first two times, I was at my pre-pregnancy weight after four months), and everything from the birth recovery to the postpartum hemorrhoids were horrible. Being an older mom clearly had major disadvantages.

We all know the gloomy statistics about pregnancy: Our chances to conceive drop significantly with age. “As we get closer to 40, the ticking of the biological clock becomes louder and by 45, it can be deafening,” Sheryl Ross, M.D., OB/GYN and Women’s Health Specialist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, tells Yahoo Parenting. “Fertility decreases by as much as 95 percent in women between the ages of 40 and 45. And women older than 45 have a less than 1 percent chance of becoming pregnant each month.”

And yet, women are having children later than ever. In 1970, the average age for a first time mom was 21.4. By 2006, it was 25. And an “average age” is also relative — it can vary widely depending on the state. | | | Next → |

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