Emotionally, many women find that their thirties and beyond are a perfect time to get pregnant. "I feel blessed to have experienced college, travel, a rewarding career, and now motherhood," says Belinda King, of Tampa, Florida. "I am a much better mom at 41 than I would have ever been at 21."
Mary LaRosa experienced pregnancy for the first time at 24 and had her fourth child at 44. "My pregnancies were all great," says the Boston, Massachusetts, mom. "My first was special because I really wanted to be a mom. Being pregnant at an older age was special, too. I generally knew what to expect. There were still a few surprises, but I enjoyed the pregnancy immensely."
Improvements in treatment for infertility and the fact that more women over 40 are in excellent health have enabled women in their forties and even fifties to get pregnant. However, many women still face conflicting medical opinions. Although some doctors think pregnancy over 40 is reasonably safe, many physicians believe that it is not ideal, and having an easy pregnancy at age 50 or older is rare. According to the CDC, in 2000, there were 255 births to women ages 50 to 54, a substantial increase over the 174 births reported for 1999. And that number continues to rise.
Whether you are 25 or 55, the key to having a healthy baby is being in good health before becoming pregnant. Taking care of yourself early on may facilitate your getting pregnant, staying pregnant, and giving birth to a healthy baby. Eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and receive appropriate prenatal care. Other recommendations include getting enough folic acid in your diet, limiting caffeine consumption, exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol, and not smoking.