Is age just a number when it comes to pregnancy?
It’s true – your fertility declines as you age. But CDC statistics show more women are waiting longer to have children.
The current national average age at first delivery is 27.
In 2020, 30- to 34-year-old women had a higher birth rate than 25- to 29-year-old women for the fifth straight year. So, why the wait? “Often women in their late 30s are more established in their careers,” said Maggie Kuhlmann, MD, CHI Health Maternal Fetal Medicine and High Risk Pregnancy Specialist. “They feel more prepared to deal with the complexities of parenthood.”
Most women assume they will be able to have babies as soon as they’re ready. It’s not always that simple. It’s a common misconception that only women over age 40 can have issues getting pregnant.
“We know that fertility really starts to decline in a woman’s late 30s, but that decline can happen earlier,” Dr. Kuhlmann said. “Most women in their 20s and early 30s don’t have much trouble, but there are exceptions.”
Factors include low ovarian reserve, chronic medical conditions like diabetes or hypertension, and male infertility.
“There’s no perfect time,” she said. “You have to make a decision that balances your goals for starting a family with the other things going on in your life.”