While age is just a number, it’s an important factor to consider when you decide to have a baby. Age and pregnancy are closely linked, and women who wait longer may find it more difficult to have children. Understanding how age is related to pregnancy is an important step in your journey toward growing your family. 

At Western Fertility Institute, we understand that age can play a huge part in the ability to have a child. However, age is not the only factor. In this post, we’ll explore when people around the world are having children. We’ll also dive into what changes you can expect as you age if you wish to become pregnant. 

A Global Comparison: The Average Age of First-Time Mothers

The average age for a woman to have her first child in the U.S. is 26 years old. However, women who live in big cities like New York and Los Angeles tend to be older before starting their families, most waiting until their early 30s. In contrast, women in rural areas tend to start families younger, with many first-time moms being in their early 20s.

The main factors that influence when a woman decides to have children seem to be education, career and socioeconomic status. Women with higher socioeconomic status have more freedom to pursue grad school and a fulfilling career before settling down. Countries with more opportunities tend to see women waiting longer to have kids. This is reflected in the average ages of first-time mothers around the world. The mean age in Switzerland, Portugal, Japan and Ireland is 30 years old, while women in South Korea wait until they are 31. 

Those from more impoverished communities tend to have fewer opportunities. Thus, women often find fulfillment and their path to adulthood through motherhood. Some of the youngest global mothers come from poorer African nations such as Chad, where the average age of a first-time mother is 17, as well as Niger, Mozambique and Uganda, where the average age is 18. 

When Is the Best Time to Get Pregnant?

There is no “best time” to conceive. There are a lot of considerations that go into your decision to start a family. While age is a factor, it should not be the deciding factor. You should only pursue parenthood when you feel emotionally, mentally and financially ready to be a parent.

That being said, women are at their most fertile in their 20s. It’s during these years that you have the highest number of viable eggs and the risk of pregnancy complications are at their lowest. At the age of 25, your chances of conceiving after three months are just under 20%. This number decreases with each passing year. 

Does Pregnancy Become Harder With Age?

Waiting to have children in your 30s or 40s is possible, although advanced age can make it harder to conceive. Women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have — usually around one million. As you age, fertility tends to drop because of the decreasing quantity and quality of remaining eggs.

Having a baby later in life can also increase the risk of pregnancy complications, including:

  • Medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Pregnancy conditions like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia
  • Premature birth 
  • Low birth weight
  • C-section delivery
  • Miscarriage

However, even if you’re over 30 or even 40 years old, it’s still possible to have a healthy pregnancy and bring a new life into the world.

Contact Western Fertility Institute for Help on Your Path to Parenthood

No matter what age you choose to have a child, this decision brings both joy and unique challenges. If you’ve encountered difficulties on your path to parenthood, Western Fertility Institute is here to help. Our team is committed to helping women of any age overcome the obstacles preventing them from having children of their own. Make an appointment today to discover all the ways we can help you start the family you’ve been longing for.