When it comes to pregnancy, thirty might be the new twenty. For the first time ever, American women in their 30’s are having more babies than women in their 20’s, with the average age of first-time mothers now sitting at about 28 . This is according to new 2017 figures from the Centre’s for disease control (CDC) 1.
Having a baby when you’re older has plenty of benefits. You’re much more likely to be settled in your finances, your personal relationships and in your career. All of this bodes well for having a baby when you’re more secure in all aspects of your life.
However you might be wondering if there are any special health concerns that women in their 30’s should pay attention to when considering pregnancy at this age. The short answer is ‘No’ but there are some things you should be mindful of. Here are just a few of them:
1. Don’t wait too long
In your early 30s, your chances of getting pregnant are only slightly lower than in your late 20s but at 35, that decline in fertility begins to accelerate .
When you’re 25 and trying to get pregnant, it might take 2 to 3 months. For someone who’s 35, it might take 6 to 9 months2.
Over the age of 35, it’s recommend that if you try for 6 months to get pregnant without success, then speak to your doctor about a possible referral to a reproductive endocrinologist 2.
2. Common health concerns for older mothers
Research shows that older moms are at an increased risk for developing certain medical conditions like miscarriage, birth defects, and pregnancy complications 3. Additionally, complications like gestational diabetes, prematurity and a higher number of cesarean sections are all experienced in greater numbers by older mothers 3.
However, don’t let this scare you. Every single pregnancy is unique. Your body will have its own fertility timeline and your personal health and biology will determine your own circumstances. So although there is an increased risk of certain medical conditions in older moms, this is a general risk that applies to the entire female population. Your own case will be unique to you.
3. You have a higher chance of carrying multiples
This can be good news or bad news depending on your perspective. The odds of having twins or triplets goes up as a woman ages  and if you’re using fertility treatments to become pregnant, the chance of conceiving multiples increases even more.
4. Be sure to have get a pre-pregnancy check
Once you’re ready to start trying to conceive be sure to have a pre-pregnancy checkup with your doctor. This appointment is a great opportunity for you to sit down with your doctor, undergo a general health check and possibly identify any issues that could affect your pregnancy. If so you can potentially take steps to avoid some potential health problems.
5. Things you can do to give yourself the best chance of a successful pregnancy–at any age
There is no way to guarantee a healthy pregnancy but taking good care of yourself prior to becoming pregnant is a good place to start. Here are some things you can do:
- Aim for a healthy weight. You may have an easier time conceiving if you’re at a healthy weight. Having a low or high body mass index (BMI) makes it harder for some women to become pregnant.
- Clean up your diet. Stick to well-balanced diet that is full of fruits, veggies, carbohydrates and proteins.
- Exercise. For those not yet exercising, consider starting a new exercise regime with activities like walking, running or swimming.
- Try to give up things like excess alcohol, smoking or recreational drugs.
- Make sure you book that pre-pregnancy appointment.
Lastly, if you have any concerns about your fertility or any genetic problems that run in your family, speak to your doctor sooner rather than later. Your doctor is the best source of information and if any tests are needed beforehand, they’ll be able to help you with that.
1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. General Fertility Rates. Page last reviewed: May 15, 2018. Page last updated: May 15, 2018.
2) WebMD. Getting Pregnant After 35: What Are My Chances? Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on February 02, 2018
3) Pregnancy Over Age 30. University of Rochester Medical Center. Burd, Irina, MD, PhD
4) Pregnancy Over Age 35: Are You Considered High-Risk? Healthline.