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My fiancee and I were talking last night about when to have kids. I'm turning 33 next month and said I'd like to wait until I'm about 35 for the first one and then maybe 37-38 for the second one. He responded, "Is that safe?". My initial reaction was "Of course it is!". I know a lot of people who have had children in their late 30s, my mom had my sister when she was 42 and my aunt had a baby at 40.

Anyways, regardless of who I know, he made me a little nervous. I want kids AND I'm scared about giving up freedom/money/time/the periods when they hate you/not sleeping/etc. etc. I guess those are 2 separate issues but any thoughts on either will be much appreciated.

Thank you and Happy New Year!!!

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Several of my friends had their first child in their late 30s/early -mid 40s (most of those conceptions were "natural"). My husband's mother had him when she was 39 and that was 42 years ago! From the research and vicarious experience I have (i am 42) my advice is that if you can have children before age 37-38 do it because the risks of genetic defects are lower and thereforee there is less emotional stress on the expecting parents (assuming that would be a source of stress). With all the great early screening tests out there I don't think it is "dangerous" in the least, just a fact of life that as a woman's eggs age, the risks of chromosomal defects rises. Also there is a greater risk of early menopause or trouble conceiving as a woman ages.

 

Having said all that not being ready to be a parent should trump the higher risks associated with aging, in my opinion.

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i agree with batya. and if you are 33, well, if you start trying right now, you may not get pregnant right away, and plus you will be pregnant for 40 weeks, so you may as well hop into bed right now! my mom had me when she was 36 and i came out ok, no defects or whatever. you can go to the doctor if you have concerns about getting pregnant and all that.

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I think it's fine to wait- knowing that as a general rule there are increased risks over age 35 simply because your eggs are older, but also knowing that women over 35 may be perfectly healthy and in even better shape than some women who are 25. Your chances of conceiving do drop the older you get so do consider this as well.

 

Having said that my mom had my 'baby' sister when she was 40 and everything turned out fine.

 

Good luck!

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While it can be more difficult to get pregnant and the pregnancy can be riskier - with proper health care there should be no issues. My best friend recently had her first baby just before her 36th birthday and I have another friend who had twins at 44 a couple of years ago. Good Luck!! Kids are awesome.

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Medically, women having their first babies at 35 or older are classified as 'elderly prima gravida', or advanced age for a first pregnancy. Anytime you are 35 or older, you are automatically plopped into the 'high risk pregnancy' category as well, regardless of your physical state.

 

Fertility starts to drop off after 30, and drops off sharply after 35. Yes, plenty of people have babies over 35, but many who do can't have them without expensive fertility treatments or significant health risks to mother or baby such as toxemia, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes etc.

 

So if you are lucky and your genetics are 'good' you may have no trouble at all having babies later, but many women are surprised and have a very hard time getting and staying pregnant after 35. Many women do get pregnant, but there is a higher risk of miscarriage after 35 as well due to genetic defects and other structural problems such as more advanced endometriosis, larger fibroids etc.

 

So my advice is that if you want a baby, start now rather than waiting. Having a baby isn't as easy as making as decision of when is a good time to buy a house or car, since a baby is a medical event that relies on your own genetics and physical condition to orchestrate, and the older you get the less likely it gets that you can get pregnant and successfully carry to term. There is lots of medical help for that available these days, but it is not always successful, and very expensive.

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I think most babies born of women 35-40 turn out ok, although as everyone else has said there is a greater risk for problems during pregnancy & birth defects. I think the chance of Down's Syndrome increases quite a lot, though I don't think it increases to an overwhelming number. Plenty of people here have said they had friends/relatives that had a baby at between 35-40 & the baby turned out fine.

 

My stepmom was 38 when she got pregnant with my brothers. She HAD to take fertility drugs because she couldn't get pregnant without them (then she ended up pregnant with twins!) BUT 6 months into it she had to go on bedrest to prevent early labor. They were both born with jaundice, asthma (had to use a nibulizer), eczema, one had a flat side on his head & premature. Oh, and they also thought one might have been deaf because he didn't respond well to the hearing test immediately after birth.

 

Granted, the flat side of the head & being premature was probably due to being twins (one's head was pushed against mom's hip during pregnancy). And the other one's hearing turned out to be fine. And my dad has eczema so maybe that has more to do with genetics, though I don't have it & both of them do.

 

You will probably be fine. My brothers turned out ok after a rough start. But unless you have a specific reason for waiting until you are in the high-risk category, why not avoid that & do it sooner.

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The early screening tests for down's (not amnio or anything else invasive) reduce the risks for having a baby with down's or a similar genetic defect. and, even though amnio and cvs do come with some risk of miscarriage, that too reduces the risk (although of course the person has to be comfortable terminating if something wrong is found).

 

Out of my 8 or so friends who had their first babies in their late 30s/early 40s in the last two years, only one needed IVF - the rest got pregnant naturally. The person I know having the most trouble is 28 (husband is the same age).

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I had my son at 32, very healthy so far (he's 20). My mom had me at 36 and I'm fine. My brother and sister she had when she was much younger and they've both had major health problems for the time they were about 40. They are always in the hospital or at the doctor's office with one thing or another. I'm the healthiest of all the kids by far!

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The early screening tests for down's (not amnio or anything else invasive) reduce the risks for having a baby with down's or a similar genetic defect. and, even though amnio and cvs do come with some risk of miscarriage, that too reduces the risk (although of course the person has to be comfortable terminating if something wrong is found).

 

 

Just to clarify, the screening tests (triple screen, amnio, CVS, AFP, nuchal scan) done to rule out Downs Syndrome, or rule in the possibility do not decrease the risk of having a child with Downs. They only arm you with information to help you make a decision if you want to terminate the pregnancy. Most of those tests are only a preliminary indicator of the possibility of Downs, not a a definitive diagnosis. And many can have false positive results.

 

When the fetus is developing you cannot change the course of that development (in the case of Down's and Trisomy disorders an extra chromosome causes the defects). The screening tests are only meant to provide information about the fetus, and not 100% accurate info at that.

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Just to clarify, the screening tests (triple screen, amnio, CVS, AFP, nuchal scan) done to rule out Downs Syndrome, or rule in the possibility do not decrease the risk of having a child with Downs. They only arm you with information to help you make a decision if you want to terminate the pregnancy. Most of those tests are only a preliminary indicator of the possibility of Downs, not a a definitive diagnosis. And many can have false positive results.

 

When the fetus is developing you cannot change the course of that development (in the case of Down's and Trisomy disorders an extra chromosome causes the defects). The screening tests are only meant to provide information about the fetus, and not 100% accurate info at that.

 

Yes that is true as far as there is no way to do anything about a down's diagnosis in utero- by screening I meant other than amnio or CVS, which are diagnostic tests, not screening. Aminio is 99% effective in diagnosing down's and I believe CVS is as well. I suppose what I meant is that because people can terminate a pregnancy given certain information, it reduces the risk of unwittingly having a baby with down's or trisomy.

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My biggest worry with having children older is providing for them. Think of this - if you have a child at 40, your child will just be graduated from college when you retire (if you retire at 65. If you plan on working another 5-10 years, this is less of a problem). They will likely not have the financial means to support you if something goes wrong, and you will end up spending a lot of money that could go toward your retirement to support them through college, unless you expect them to do it all on their own.

 

Not to mention that as parents you will have less energy to care for a child and especially a teenager during your 40's and 50's than you would at 20. It's a trade-off in terms of having a more stable wealth base, etc and being "ready" (I don't think anyone is ever fully prepared for the joy and terror a child brings into your life), vs. having a probably easier pregnancy and more life to live after your kids graduate and move out, plus more time to save/recover from the financial stress of kids before retirement.

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