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updated: 4/4/2013 12:08 PM

What to know about having Children after 30

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Dr. Maggie Perlis

Age is a very commonly brought up concern when it comes to having children. Studies now show that more people are waiting until their 30s or later before they decide to have children of their own. There are many theories as to why couples are waiting longer to reproduce such as financially stable, higher maturity level, or more progressed in their careers.

Although choosing when to have children is ultimately a personal choice, there are still some risks and benefits you should be aware of when planning to have a baby. From ages 25 to age 35 there is a 50% drop in women's fertility rate. This means it can become much harder for a couple to become pregnant.

There are also increased chances of chromosomal abnormalities once a woman reaches 35. While a woman under 30 has a 1 in 1000 chance of having a child with Down's syndrome, a woman 35 years has a 1 in 400 chance. As a woman's age increases the risks increase.

Despite the drawbacks it is still very possible for a woman post 35 to conceive. With the medical advancements of today, there are far less risks to having a baby later in life then there were in the past. One of the ways women have been able to lower risks is by freezing their eggs. This way, when they decide to have the baby, might it be at an older age, the egg hasn't aged at all. This has allowed for women to have a baby when they are ready, and the risk of chromosomal abnormalities has not increased.

A mistake people make while planning for children is thinking age is the only factor that can influence a woman's pregnancy. A woman's lifestyle is extremely important and can help increase the chances of having a healthy baby. Ways women's lifestyle can help influence pregnancy are:

• Having a healthy diet

• Regular exercise

• Avoiding smoking, drinking, and drugs

• Family history

• Demographics

It is highly recommended that women past the age of 35 wanting to have a baby get proper medical counseling beforehand. Women are able to avoid many risks by talking to a doctor ahead of time and finding out the proper prenatal and postnatal care. Your doctor will be able to answer any questions and give you guidance in the planning process.

Dr. Maggie Perlis, MD, is located at Woman to Woman Obstetrics and Gynecology Group in Crystal Lake, IL. She has 21 years of experience and practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology.