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Age: Your body gets in on the baby decision

How does your age affect the health of a pregnancy and a future baby?
When is the best age to have a baby? There are many decisions that go into
planning a pregnancy:

  • Having a partner.
  • Finishing education.
  • Establishing a career.
  • Saving money for a future family.

With all those decisions it can be easy to forget that our bodies make some decisions for us. Between 18 and 35, women are considered to have a "childbearing" body.

At this time her body is usually fully mature and at the same time ready to begin and support a pregnancy.

Some women get pregnant when they are younger, and some when they are older. But the body has its limits. Just because you can become pregnant, that does not mean the pregnancy will be a healthy one.

  • Biological clock

    Most women and men at any age have healthy uncomplicated pregnancies and healthy babies. But you might want to
    think about the facts below before making your decision.
  • A pregnant woman in her teens, whose body is still growing and developing, might compete with a growing baby for food and energy.
  • Your chances of getting pregnant are higher before your mid-thirties. Between the 30's and 40's your reproductive system will naturally age and your chances to become pregnant will go down.
  • Both mothers and fathers over age 40 have an increased chance of having a child with Down Syndrome.
  • Problems during pregnancy like diabetes and high blood pressure happen more often with older women.

The test of time – or age
Check the word that makes the statement true for you.

  • Because of my age it may be difficult to become pregnant.
  • My age may increase the chance of problems with or during the pregnancy.
  • My body has not finished developing.
  • I have to consider other things in my life before I am ready to embark on a pregnancy.

How did you do? There are no right answers or wrong answers to the statements above. You and your pen will have helped you discover how close you are to making a decision about
building a family that is best for you.

Considering age

  • I understand how my age can affect my pregnancy.
  • I have a healthy lifestyle that will help prevent pregnancy problems related to age risks.
  • I will talk to a health care provider before making my final decision to try to conceive a baby.
  • I will read more about age and pregnancy, including information about being ready for parenting, finances, fertility, tobacco, drugs and beliefs about parenting.
  • I will talk to my partner about how a child might fit into our lives at different ages and
    stages of our personal and work life.
  • I understand that it may take longer to conceive if I am 35 or older.


Health care provider:

Local public health unit: Call 1-800-267-8097


Fertility clinic:

Waiting for baby: Pregnancy After age 35

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