For as long as we can remember, society created an age limit for women to get pregnant in their 20s. This way a woman could bear as many as ten children by the time she turned 35-40. But in our world today, 40 is the new 20. So here, we will discuss the five differences having a baby at 40 vs. at 20.
If there were one in 100 women who chose to get pregnant at 40 in 1970, now that number has increased to seven. And the reasons are aplenty, aren’t they? The most common one being a career.
But, unfortunately, the biological clock of women often coincides with her successful career. And this results in choosing between having a kid and achieving professional success. Many women have tried managing the two at the same time, but with the utmost difficulty.
The second most common reason for not having a baby at 20 is finding a right partner. We all want to start a family only when we trust the person we’re involved with. Establishing a steady and stable relationship is not a piece of cake. It takes years for some people to create such a strong, healthy connection.
Nevertheless, it’s time to find out the most common five differences having a baby at 40 vs. at 20.
5 Differences Having a Baby at 40 vs. at 20
#1 Risks of Miscarriage
For every five pregnant women, one miscarriage is inevitable. And the chance of experiencing a miscarriage at the age of 40 is higher than 20. Younger women are 6% likely to suffer a miscarriage as opposed to 15% at 35 and 23% at 40.
So what’s the reason behind something like this? Well, the answer is quite evident. The aging process involves the aging of ovaries as well. When the eggs are older, they have a higher risk of developing chromosomal problems. And such issues often lead to miscarriages.
Typically, it doesn’t take more than two years for an older woman to conceive with medical guidance. At such times, your chances of getting pregnant at 41 are relatively higher than even 43. And that’s because the percentage of success reduces as you get older.
#2 Pregnancy Complications
With pregnancy complications, you don’t need to know five differences having a baby at 40 vs. at 20. Complications are a part of any pregnancy, right? But the chances of these complications being severe are higher when you’re 40.
Aging is a natural part of life, isn’t it? More often than not, aging is accompanied by conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Such diseases tend to pose a problem during pregnancy, which affects the baby.
Pre-eclampsia is a condition that arises in diabetic or hypertensive pregnant women. And it leads to pre-term babies.
Other common pregnancy complications in the 40s include breech baby and fetal distress. And they often result in C-section procedures. Ever heard of ectopic pregnancy? It is a condition that causes the embryo to get attached to the outer part of your uterus. Usually, this outer region is the fallopian tube.
Women also experience multiple pregnancies and develop placental abruption or gestational diabetes when pregnant at 40.
#3 Chances of Conceiving
In your 20s, deciding to get pregnant means finding out useful information like the good milk storage bags or baby nighttime diapers. But there’s a lot to think about when you choose to get pregnant in your 40s.
Younger women in their early 20s are 96% more likely to conceive in less than a year. But as you reach the age of 40, the chances reduce to 40 to 50%. And by the time you hit your late 40s, it comes down even lower (as low as 3 to 4%). That’s the reason why there seems to be an age limit for pregnancy.
#4 Health of the Newborn
Not that a woman at the age of 40 doesn’t give birth to a normal, healthy child. But the risks of delivering a baby with certain genetic defects heighten. And this is due to chromosomal abnormalities that are a part of your body when you turn 40 years old.
It’s not just chromosomal defects that affect the health of the newborn. There are other issues like hypertension and diabetes too. These types of conditions also tend to interfere with your baby’s health.
Conceiving a child with something known as Down Syndrome is rare in your 20s. But the chances increase as you climb the age ladder. More common conditions include underweight babies and stillbirth.
The heart of a baby whose mother is 40 is four times more likely to develop a defect than a child with a younger mother.
But let me state it once again that older women do give birth to healthy babies. But at that age, you need to follow a strict workout routine and consume healthy foods.
#5 Physical Fitness
Pregnancy at 20 years old means it’s easier for you to be on your feet once the baby comes in. Being mentally and physically energetic is necessary for raising a child. And when parents are young, their energy levels are high. This means running around all day, swimming, and playing football with your kid are not difficult tasks.
But here’s something else that younger parents also indulge in. Unhealthy habits such as alcohol consumption and smoking are quite common among the younger generation. Not so much when you’re 40 years old, right?
In fact, older moms exercise more regularly and have a healthier diet. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make up for the amount of energy you have in your 20s.
It’s not easy staying up all night, lifting toys off the floor, or even bending for too long when you’re older. But there are certain exceptions. Part of the process depends on how healthy you are, both mentally and physically.
So these are the five differences having a baby at 40 vs. at 20. Time to wrap it up!
The whole idea of postponing childbirth is not a dangerous or unhealthy one. Especially with advanced fertility methods now available to us. There’s no need to rush if you want to focus on your career or establish a stronger and more stable connection with your partner before having a child.
And always remember that when conception doesn’t work, there’s the option of adopting a child too. Both, conceiving a baby and adopting one are magical experiences that you will cherish for the rest of your life.
So did you go through the five differences having a baby at 40 vs. at 20? What are your thoughts on this particular topic? Do you have any useful insights to share with us here?
Please don’t hesitate to drop in your comments in the section below. Your feedback is always welcome and appreciated.
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About the author
Barbara Davis is an enthusiastic mom blogger who loves to write about pregnancy and motherhood. She shares her own life experiences so that readers can relate to her work in a more personal manner. Her articles consist of useful mother and baby care recommendations and valuable parenting tips that make the process easier and more convenient.
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Also published on Medium.