As long as you’re of childbearing age you can conceive, but what age is best?

Women are often able to conceive from the time they get their first period well into their older years, but not all baby-making ages are alike. The body changes drastically over the span of decades and during that time, your ability to have a child change with it.

The best age to have kids varies greatly on what you would define as best. It could be biologically or whether or not your ability to look after a tiny human is at its peak. So, what’s the ideal age to have kids? Well, it depends.

Your biological clock is ticking

Every woman has probably gotten asked the question “When are you going to start having kids?” at least once in her lifetime. The societal pressures on women to have children is always a little heavy, especially if your parents are the type that expects grandchildren in the near future.

It’s easy to brush those people off and tell yourself you’ve got plenty of time to have a baby, especially if you’re still in your twenties, but the biologically ideal age to have kids comes and goes faster than you think. According to a sociologist out of Texas University, the years that are best biologically are the late teens to the early twenties.

This is because the body is young and spry and it’s far more likely to be healthy when you’re still at such a young age. Certain risks involved in pregnancy such as ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, and infertility are also at their lowest the younger you are.

Science weighs in

“The late teens and early twenties were ideal based solely on the biological age and how many oocytes a woman of that age produces.”

Scientific studies have put the whole “best age to have a baby” adage to the test, and the results are pretty scattered. According to the study mentioned above, the late teens and early twenties were ideal based solely on the biological age and how many oocytes a woman of that age produces.

However, that isn’t the only study out there. Another study that was based on data taken from all over the country penned the best age at 32 based on certain factors like infant mortality rates and other factors in terms of the baby’s overall health.

Other studies also take into account the mother’s health, as opposed to just birth defects and risks of spontaneous abortion, among others. In terms of a mother’s house, 34 is the best age because the mother is at her most optimal overall health.

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The economical aspect

A discussion about the best age to have a baby wouldn’t be complete without touching on the financial aspect of parenthood. Babies come with a lot of responsibility, both economical and personal, and that tends to play a huge role in how healthy the mother will be while raising a child.

The cost to raise a child is upwards of $200,000 if you stop spending money on your child at age 17, which isn’t likely. Over the course of their lifetime, that’s a lot of cake. This means having a child without the financial stability needed will end up causing stress, which in turn will lead to health problems.

In your early 20s, you are much less likely to have a stable income than you are in your 30s, making raising a child at that early point in your professional career that much harder. A study out of Washington State University also showed that women who have babies earlier tended to make less over the course of their lifetime than those who waited.

The sweet spot

Taking into account all the factors that are put into having a baby and then raising the child, the best age to have kids isn’t exactly cut and dry. A phone survey showed that women who waited until at least 29 years old were less likely to have long-term health problems and those who waited until even later, at 34, reported less chronic diseases.

“A woman who had her first child at 34 is likely to be, in health terms, 14 years younger than a woman who gave birth at 18.”

Putting all of this into account, the studies pinned the best age to have kids at 34, which is much older than a lot of people will have you believe. The studies also accounted for women who wanted to have more than one child. It showed that the best age to have the first child is 34, but the best age to finish having children was 35, so the timeline of start and stop doesn’t exactly leave a lot of wiggle room.

The final word

Although the biological clock is a real thing, it doesn’t have to scare you into having children before you’re ready on all levels. Making the choice to have a child at any age can be a difficult one and you don’t have to rush into things when you’re not ready.

Suffice it to say, having a baby is a very personal decision and should be looked at from all angles — biological, economical, societal — before jumping into parenting. The good news is, though, if anyone hounds you for not having a child yet, you can let them know that you have well into your 30s to make that leap.

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