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Myth Busting: Women Can Get Pregnant After 35

It’s finally crumbling: the myth that women can’t and shouldn’t get pregnant after 35. Not only are women able to get pregnant into their 40s, but there are several benefits to later motherhood. Read on for more information about how women can get pregnant after 35.

The Numbers

There are plenty of studies that are encouraging to women who are waiting until their late 30s to have children. A study from last year showed that women who had children later in life also lived longer. Women who had their last child at 33 or older lived longer than those who had their last child by age 29. Researchers said that the genes that allow women to have children later also make them more likely to have a longer life. While it’s not necessarily causal, it could just be that women who are healthy enough to get pregnant later in life also have more longevity, the numbers can give many hope.

What’s more, the often-cited statistic that one in three women between 35 and 39 will not get pregnant within a year of trying is based on outdated information. That number comes from a breakdown of French birth records from 1670 to 1830. Now that medicine has advanced and lifespan is much longer, this statistic is obsolete. More recent studies suggest that about 80 percent of women between ages 35 and 39 will attempt to get pregnant naturally and succeed within the first year of trying.  This is hardly a difference from the 85 percent of women younger than 35 who try to get pregnant naturally and success within the first year.

Later Motherhood

Today life’s timeline is changing for many. People are meeting their partners later in life. Some decide to go back to school or make several career changes in their 20s and early 30s, pushing back financial stability. Not everyone plans to wait until their late 30s to have children, it just happens. But there are benefits to later motherhood. For one, women tend to be more mature and established in their careers later in their 30s. With more financial stability, they can be more prepared for the many expenses of parenthood. One study found that every year a woman waits to have children, she gets a 10 percent increase in earnings.

Parents who wait until they are in their late 30s have also had more of a chance to experience life and grow. Partners raising a child together have likely had longer to get to know each other at this point, which creates a stronger foundation for a family. Older mothers also report to have more patience, which can lead them to making better parenting decisions.

For more information on getting pregnant after age 35, be sure to tune into the next Health Chat on May 4th with Dr. Mara Thur, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Abington Health. The chat will be moderated Lu Ann Cahn, director of Career Services at Temple University’s School of Media and Communications. Register and ask questions ahead of time here.