The "Ideal Age" to Have Babies Vs. When We Actually Have Them

Get PregnantGet PregnantWhen I was little, I used to daydream about growing up and having a family of my own. Back then I thought 20-year-olds were old and anyone over 30 was ancient. I mean, I thought 13 was so much older (and cooler) than my 6-year-old self. And having babies before I was "too old" made perfect sense.

Of course, as I've grown up I've learned that 30 really isn't so old and I look back at my 20-year-old self shaking my head and tsking at how young and immature I was (even though I thought I was very mature). Yet, it really wasn't that long ago when I thought getting married and having a baby at 25 sounded ideal... until I got closer to 25.

Related: What Kind Of Mother Would You Be At 25-Years-Old?

At 25, I was still figuring out my own life. I had just graduated from college at 23, gotten engaged and wasn't sure if I was heading to graduate school or not. At 25, we got married then waited a year before really discussing when to start trying for a baby. I thought I felt ready at 27, but I mostly felt pressure to race against the clock before age 30. However, it took a few years of trying to conceive before we got pregnant, putting me at 29 as a first-time mother and 31 with my second.

Despite the increased chances for infertility problems after 30, the number of pregnancies among 30-year-olds has continued to rise each year. According to a new government report from The National Center for Health Statistics, pregnancy rates have been declining in every category since 1990, except for women in their 30s.

Since 1990, the report said, pregnancy rates are down in almost every category. The only exception is among women over 30, whose pregnancy rate has increased steadily with every passing year. But the rate is declining among women in their 20s, who form the single largest group of pregnant women, and among teenagers of all races and ethnicities. So why do we think other women should have babies at 25, based on a poll, when most of us are (increasingly) having babies later?

Maybe it's because we think our 25-year-old bodies are better equipped to handle the rigors of pregnancy or that fertility peaks around then. Perhaps it's because many of our parents started their families much younger, straight out of high school. I think 25 sounds good on paper, but there are a variety of reasons why couples are waiting or unable to start their families until later--much later, in some cases. College, finances, employment stability, and fertility issues may are delay motherhood until 30.

What do you think?

-By Darcy Zalewski

For 16 celebrities who gave birth after 40, visit BabyZone!

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