The Pro’s and Con’s of Having a Baby in Your 40s
These days more and more women are having babies in their 40’s than ever before. In the 1970’s only 1 out of every 100 women gave birth over the age 35, now days one out of every seven women having a baby aged 35 or over.
There are a variety of reasons why we are having babies later in life including spending more time travelling or focusing on a successful career, not finding a suitable partner or issues with getting pregnant. Whatever the reason no longer is having a child in your 40’s an ‘after thought’ or an ‘accident’ for many it is a deliberate life choice.
Of course there are benefits and drawbacks to having children at any age but here are few of the pros and cons to having a baby in your 40’s.
Getting pregnant is harder: A woman’s fertility reduces to 20% at aged 40 and is just 5% at 45, making it rare to fall pregnant naturally after 45. However new advances in Fertility treatments have given women peace of mind that they will be able to conceive in later years. If you do fall pregnant naturally in your mid 40’s your chances of having twins increases to 1 in 2. If you have assisted fertility the chances of conceiving more than one baby also increases significantly.
Increased health risks for Mum and baby: Once pregnant there are increased risks of various complications including a higher chance of chromosomal abnormalities causing miscarriage and birth defects. The chances of other issues such as Gestational diabetes, Pre-eclampsia, Miscarriage, Preterm delivery, and problems with the placenta also double. Birth can be tougher for older women too with higher chances of early labour, low birth weight, and increased need for a caesarean.
While all this may sound worrying many women in their 40’s do have completely normal problem free pregnancies and births.
The Older Mother Stigma: Becoming a Mum later on may be worrying for other reasons, you may be concerned that you will be mistaken for the grandparents or that people will say it’s unfair on your child to have older parents, but these days with 40 being the new 30 age is far less of a concern to doing anything- in fact with the rate the average age of becoming a parent is changing majority of your children’s friends parents are likely to be closer to own age than those that had babies in their early 20’s. Health issues from being older reducing your ability to enjoy your children is also a consideration but some studies have actually shown that women who have babies later in life are healthier and live longer than women who have their babies young.
You’re more set in your ways: If you have your first child in your 40’s you will likely be used to your own set routines and flexibility in your days, making having a first child in your 40’s a bit of a shock, your morning latte on the way to work is replaced by 2 sips of a cold coffee in between breastfeeding and changing nappies which may be a bit of a culture shock and harder to adjust after so many years of being in control.
There are many great things about having a baby in your 40’s!
Financial and career stability– By your 40’s you and your partner are more likely to have increased financial stability and be more likely own to your own home and have the ability to cope with the reduction in income. You are also more likely to have reached your career goals and have secure job to return to.
You’re done partying– By your 40’s you are most likely over the partying phase so you won’t feel like you’re missing out when everyone is heading out to bars or parties in fact when bubs arrives you will likely be more than happy to stay home and cuddle up in bed and won’t be tempted to hit the town for a big night like you were in your 20’s.
You can handle the body changes: By your 40’s you have probably started to see the signs of aging and are well aware of the direction things are heading, this means you are less likely to get too stressed out about a little weight gain, stretch marks, saggy boobs and other things pregnancy and motherhood can do to your physical appearance. That said many women in their 40’s are able to maintain and improve their bodies post baby from the increase in activity.
Your older children will love it: If you have older children there are lots of benefits to introducing a new family member, older kids are likely to be really excited and understanding about the new addition to the family and unlike a toddler instead of getting jealous and competing for your attention they may actually be keen to help you out -plus you have built in babysitters when they get that age too!
Having older children also gives the benefit of hindsight, you know the sleepless nights, temper tantrums and teething troubles are all temporary and that they won’t still be sucking their thumbs at 18. This experience is likely to make you more relaxed about the whole process and able to enjoy each phase focusing more on the lovely bits in the knowledge that the hard bits won’t last!
Even if you don’t have other children, chances are you have watched friends experience pregnancies and parenting challenges already, giving you the benefit of learning from their experiences and seeing what works and what doesn’t!
All things considered having a baby in your 40’s can be just as rewarding if not more than when you are in your 20’s or 30’s. Whatever the reason you waited, age is far less of a concern these days and if you feel like now is the right time to bring a new person into your family then go for it!
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.
‘Alexandra is a freelance writer and Mother of 2 girls aged 9 and 14, she enjoys writing about N.Z. family life and her own parenting experiences. Both her daughters have chronic health conditions which has led to a unique perspective on parenting which she writes about along with many other topics in her blog:http://www.justmesayingblog.wordpress.com