SEE WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE BIRTH BEFORE AGE 30? (MUST READ)


{Photo/parents.com}
If you're trying to get pregnant in your 20s, time is on your side – and biology is, too. Your body is ready for pregnancy, and probably will be for a while if you decide to wait to start your family.

That said, pregnancy at any age has advantages and disadvantages. We checked in with fertility specialists, financial consultants, relationship gurus, and 20-something moms to get a realistic picture of what it's like to have a child in your 20s.

Pros
Experts say the average woman's fertility peaks in her early 20s. So from a strictly biological perspective, this is the best decade for conceiving and carrying a baby.

Like every woman, you're born with all the eggs you will ever have: about 1 to 2 million. By puberty, your eggs number about 300,000 to 500,000, but your ovaries release only about 300 during your reproductive years.

As you get older, your ovaries age along with the rest of your body and the quality of your eggs gradually deteriorates. That's why a younger woman's eggs are less likely than an older woman's to have genetic abnormalities that cause Down syndrome and other birth defects.

The risk of miscarriage is also far lower: It's about 10 percent for women in their 20s, 12 percent for women in their early 30s, and 18 percent for women in their mid to late 30s. Miscarriage risk jumps to about 34 percent for women in their early 40s, and 53 percent by age 45.

Pregnancy is often physically easier for women in their 20s because there's a lower risk of health complications like high blood pressure and diabetes. You're also less likely to have gynecological problems, like uterine fibroids, which often become more problematic over time.

Finally, younger women are less likely to have premature or low-birth-weight babies than women older than 35.

In terms of fertility, it doesn't matter if you start trying to get pregnant in your early 20s or your late 20s, according to Judith Albert, a reproductive endocrinologist and scientific director of Reproductive Health Specialists, a fertility center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "The difference in a woman's fertility in her early and late 20s is negligible," she says.

Once the baby comes, as a 20-something mom you're likely to have the resilience to wake up with the baby several times during night and still be able to function the next day. You'll also have a lot of company as you chase your little one around the playground: The average American woman has her first child around age 26. And when your own child has children of her own, odds are you'll still have the energy to be an actively involved grandparent.

Besides the physical advantages, there are other pluses: "You're more flexible in your 20s, which is good for your marriage and for the transition to parenthood," says Susan Heitler, a family and marriage therapist in Denver, Colorado. When people get married later in life, instead of "our way," there is often "my way" and "your way," which can make marriage and parenting difficult, she says.

Cons
When you're in your 20s, you may still be figuring out a career path and establishing yourself professionally. If you take time out to have a baby, it can be hard to get back on track.

In her book The Price of Motherhood, author Ann Crittenden coined the term "mommy tax" to describe the economic toll motherhood takes on a woman's earning potential over the course of a lifetime. Even if a woman goes right back to work after having children, statistically she'll earn significantly less than her childless counterparts.

That can be a powerful incentive for some women to delay pregnancy, Crittenden says: "Women who have their children later in life have higher lifetime earnings and a wider range of opportunities than younger mothers."

advertisement | page continues below
And having a child in your 20s may not be financially optimal. "My younger clients in their 20s and early 30s have a lot of debt," says financial adviser Elise Stevenson, president of Clearvue Advisors in Milton, Massachusetts. "College loan debt is such a problem for young people today – it's a noose around their necks. And as they struggle to pay it off, it's very easy to slide into credit card debt."

Having a child can also be tough on a young couple's marriage, according to Leah Seidler, a San Francisco-based psychotherapist who specializes in relationship issues.

"Young people often don't have the life experience to realize that the early period of life with a new baby is only temporary," Seidler observes. "The young mother is likely to feel depressed and overwhelmed, and the father may feel abandoned by his wife, who is suddenly preoccupied with the new little being in her life. Ideally, a couple will support each other through this transition and become even closer, but many couples grow distant and alienated from each other, which can seriously damage the marriage."

And many couples in their 20s are simply not ready to be parents, says Seidler. Raising children is emotionally and physically taxing, and many parents – especially young ones – aren’t completely prepared for the sacrifice and patience it requires.

Nicole Rogers, director of sales at the San Francisco Marriott, confirms that parenting ability evolves with age. Rogers had one child in her 20s, three in her 30s, and one at 41. As a 20-year-old mom, she says, she lacked some of the wisdom and perspective she has today. "When you have kids when you're older, you're more willing to accept the changes that come with having a child. You may miss out on traveling or shopping with your girlfriends, but I don't think you mind as much as you do in your 20s."

Credit : babycenter.com

@Clinicgists