Is There An Ideal Age To Have A Baby?

Should you take advantage of the vibrant, prime-of-life decade and start a family in your 20s? Are the more settled circumstances of the 30s, along with a still-young heart and body, the ideal years to start a family? Do parents in their 40s know secrets that give them ‘the edge’? There are advantages and disadvantages to all possible ages, and deciding when to have a baby is a very personal decision for each couple.

Of course, each family’s circumstances are different, and people do learn to adapt to the realities of parenthood. Here are a few things to consider about when to start a family.

Babies in your 20s

The 20s span 10 years of major life change for most people. You’re often still trying to find your feet, and settle down, while attempting to find a balance between work and play. While it may seem crazy to have a baby at 20 or 21 years, by the age of 27 or 28, you’ll be able to tap into most of the benefits while avoiding many of the disadvantages of having babies in your 20s.


  • You’re still in touch with your playfulness.
  • Your health is usually better.
  • Fertility is at a peak.
  • You’re likely to recover from birth quicker.
  • When your babies are all grown up, you’re mostly still healthy and have the energy to enjoy life.


  • Many relationships break under the strain of raising children. This risk is even greater when partners are very young and their personalities are still maturing.
  • It’s difficult to build a career with small babies in the home.
  • Finances are one of the most hampering factors when starting a family in your 20s, because usually you haven’t built up your resources yet (although having said that, many of the material things we want for our children aren’t necessary for their happiness or health, and children could benefit by learning the true value of things).
  • Younger people tend to be less willing to make far-reaching sacrifices for their child.

Babies in your 30s

Often the debate about the best age to have a baby centres on the relative safety in pregnancy at an older age. Not so long ago, a woman having her first baby after 30 years was called an ‘elderly primup’ – this has now changed to 35 years, because women are choosing to have their children at an older age.

  • You’re likely more financially stable, even if pennies still need to be counted.
  • Research shows that when first pregnancies occur in the 30s, both the pregnancy and Baby are often healthier.
  • Emotionally, you’re more mature and able to deal with the ups and downs of parenting.


  • You’re likely still building your career, and may need to put it on hold for your baby.
  • You may not have the energy you had when you were in your 20s.
  • There may be a lot of pressure to have a baby, either coming from family members or even from yourself – and that may hamper the process.

Babies in your 40s

Many couples prefer to live their younger years unencumbered by the demands of parenthood. Sometimes, it takes a while before finding a good partner, and by the time you’re in your 40s, divorce and re-marriage are common, and you may want a child with your new partner. Women who choose not to marry, but who still want a child, often embark on parenthood in their 30s or 40s.


  • You’re more likely to understand the need for a balanced life.
  • Your relationship is likely cemented in confidence and caring, and the inevitable stress of having a baby is less likely to rock the boat.
  • Usually, you’re more willing to prioritise the baby phase, and are less upset by the demands on your personal space.
  • Financially, you’re most likely far more established.


  • The biggest concern about having a child at this age is the possibility the child will have genetic defects. However, although there are risks, they’re not as huge as people make them out to be.
  • Pregnancy niggles generally affect women in their 40s more.
  • Babies born to older mothers are often smaller, which could make their start to life a bit more difficult, but if the mother lives healthily before and during pregnancy, these problems can be minimised.
  • You may be so used to your independence by the time you’re 40, that being on 24-hour call and responding to a baby’s unpredictable patters may be difficult to adjust to.
  • Physical stamina may have declined over the years, but if you live healthily, this needn’t be a problem