Pregnancy in Your 20s, 30s or 40s

Whether you're having a baby in your 20s or your 40s, here's what to expect with pregnancy at each decade


 

Women today have more ways to manage their fertility than ever before, and that means women have more choices about when they have children. You might decide to have children in your 20s or wait until your 40s – or you might opt for a large family with children born over two decades!  Here’s what to expect during pregnancy at each of these life stages:

 

 

 

In your 20s:

  • Fertility is highest and you are more likely to conceive
  • Risks of birth defects such as Down Syndrome are low (1 in 1250 at age 25)
  • Risks of pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure are low
  • May need to pay attention to diet and nutrition if didn’t eat well previously
  • May feel concerned about changing body (body image)
  • May have concerns about financial situation and the effects of motherhood on career

 

In your 30s:

  • Fertility begins to decrease and it becomes harder to conceive
  • Increased likelihood of twins or multiples, even without fertility treatments
  • Risk of birth defects such as Down Syndrome increases (1 in 385 at age 35)
  • Risks of pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes increase
  • May feel more settled financially and eager to have a baby
  • May find pregnancy more tiring and uncomfortable than younger mothers do
  • Higher risk of Cesarean section

 

In your 40s:

  • Fertility continues to decrease and conception is less likely; increased need for fertility treatments leading to an increase in multiples
  • Increased likelihood of twins or multiples (one in every five pregnancies at age 45) even if fertility treatments are not used
  • Risk of Down Syndrome is 1 in 30 at age 45
  • Risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes is now double what it was in your 20s
  • One out of every two births to a mother over 40 is a C-section
  • Higher risk of giving birth prematurely
  • Likely to be financially and emotionally stable and secure

While carrying a baby at any age can have its challenges, with appropriate prenatal care mothers in their 20s, 30s and 40s all have a good chance of having a positive pregnancy experience and giving birth to a healthy baby. 

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