Pregnancy in Your 20s, 30s, and 40s
Age-by-age pregnancy advice
Your Body Now: 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:
- Your risk of preeclampsia is higher now, as are the chances of having a baby with Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities. “By age 35, the risk of chromosomal abnormalities is about one in 200, which is roughly the same risk as having a miscarriage from an amniocentesis,” says Dr. Lorraine Chrisomalis, MD, maternal fetal medicine specialist at Columbia-Presbyterian Eastside in New York City. That’s why many doctors only offer amniocentesis to women over 35.
- Women in their thirties are more likely than younger women to conceive multiples spontaneously. If you used fertility treatments, you’re more likely to have multiples than women who conceived naturally.
- You’re also more likely to have a C-section. Why? One theory: “When a woman is in her twenties, doctors tend to be more patient with a vaginal delivery and less inclined to do surgery,” says Dr. Bernstein.
Your Mind Now: Many women in their thirties feel more psychologically ready for motherhood.
- If it’s your first baby, you’ve had time for yourself and your marriage, and you’ve accomplished some professional goals. This may give you peace of mind if you want to take a break to spend time with your baby.
- You’re likely to know other pregnant women, so finding a support system shouldn’t be a problem.
- Your marriage is probably on solid footing since you’re older and more confident in yourself and in your relationship, says Dr. Margaret Howard, PhD, a psychologist at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.
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