Desire to have children getting pregnant in a healthy way – does age play a role?

Many women wonder when is the right time to have a child and whether age is an important factor to consider when planning a family. Find out more about this much-discussed topic here.

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The right time for pregnancy depends on many factors

When to get pregnant? Is there the right time to have a child? And what role does my age play in getting pregnant? These questions are on the minds of millions of women every day. The right time depends on various factors. Each woman can only get pregnant a maximum of six days per month. So the probability is quite low: it is about 20 to 30 percent per cycle. Another influential factor is actually age. The risk of a malformation of the still unborn child is also lowest now. Fertility decreases from the age of 30 and has only reached an average value of about 25 percent by the age of 35.

Getting pregnant – the age of expectant mothers is increasing

Nevertheless, many women today make a conscious decision for a late pregnancy for a variety of reasons. Often this decision is due to the fact that a suitable partner has not yet been found. Increasingly, career has an influence on family planning, as does financial situation and personal maturity. According to the Gender Data Report, there is a correlation between school-leaving qualifications and motherhood among German women: the higher the school-leaving qualification, the greater the proportion of childless women between 35 and 39 years of age.

Man lying on baby bump - man's anticipation of birth

Having a baby between the ages of 35 and 40 is no longer an exception – even though pregnancy then is known to be a high-risk pregnancy. Celebrity moms lead the way: Actress Julia Roberts gave birth to healthy twins at age 37. Madonna had her first child at 38.

The fact that women continue to postpone their family planning is also confirmed by a study conducted by the Fertility Disorders Research Association: While 20-year-olds stated in the survey that they wanted to become pregnant at the age of 26, the planned date shifted back by three years among 21- to 30-year-olds. 30-year-olds reported wanting to have a child at age 36. With the chronological postponement of family planning, there is a growing demand for fertility treatments. Reproductive medicine today offers a variety of promising treatment methods. Many women ignore a decisive factor in their precise planning: unfortunately, there is never a guarantee that they will become pregnant – regardless of their age.

Age and effects on pregnancy

To the question of when it is possible to become pregnant, the answer is simply: as soon as a woman has had her first menstrual cycle, she is of childbearing age. If a woman is 35 years old, she is usually considered to be in late pregnancy. The probability of a chromosomal defect in the unborn child increases from this age onwards. For this reason, statutory health insurers pay for examinations that go beyond normal prenatal care. Amniocentesis or a chorionic villus sampling provide information about a possible genetic defect in the child. One of the most common disorders is trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome. Most babies born late are born healthy, despite the risks. In addition, there is no further evidence that children of mature mothers are more likely to suffer from other health conditions than the offspring of younger mothers.

Pregnancy complications – a question of age?

Pregnancy complications affect all age groups. However, the risk of conditions such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes increases from 10.5 to 19 percent after age 35. These disorders are temporary and depend on the pregnancy. Monitoring by the gynecologist is required. More mature women often give birth by cesarean section. They decide this either deliberately or because of medical dysfunction. This can be bleeding due to a low-lying placenta, complaints of the nervous system or benign growths in the uterus. These complications cannot be ruled out even in younger pregnant women.

When best to get pregnant?

Age is therefore a decisive factor. If you have decided to have a child, a healthy and conscious way of life is important regardless of this. A diet rich in vitamins and balanced promotes your health. A useful dietary supplement is folic acid, because it reduces the risk of malformation in your baby. According to the German Society for Nutrition (DGE), women should take a preparation with synthetic folic acid in addition to a folate-rich diet to prevent neural tube defects. The supplement should be taken a month before trying to have a baby, so that adequate folic acid levels can build up in your blood before having unprotected sex. Zinc can also have a positive effect on fertility. The mineral promotes the development of a fertilizable egg cell. Very important: avoid stress and stop smoking if necessary. The desire to have children should by no means dominate your everyday life. Give yourself and your body the time you need. A relaxed attitude is essential for getting pregnant – no matter how young or old you are. Also during pregnancy and breastfeeding, in addition to a healthy and balanced diet, you should take a micronutrient complex for support. It provides you with increased need for vitamins and minerals.

Pregnant at 35, 40 or even 50: What are the limits??

For more and more couples, it is not unusual for the woman to become pregnant at 40 or even 45. Even 50 is no longer a problem medically. But for older women, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Where is the limit


A desire to have children and become pregnant at 40 or 45 is no longer something special for many women today. In fact, women of this age are far more physically fit today than in previous generations. However, Mother Nature cannot be outwitted: if women become pregnant at over 35, they belong to the group of "late conceivers", for whom pregnancy is associated with particular risks.
From the age of 30. After the age of 40, the natural aging of the body begins, which also affects the reproductive organs. In addition, the number of eggs in the female body is limited: A young girl has about 400 eggs at the time of her first menstruation.000 oocytes, but by mid-35 only 35 of them remain.000 left, and cycles without ovulation occur more frequently. Pregnancy at 45 or 50 without additional fertility treatment is biologically only rarely possible – but it can happen.
Women who become pregnant at 40 risk complications throughout the pregnancy. In addition, the risk of chromosomal disorders in the fetus increases, because the aged eggs are no longer as "fresh are the same as for a woman of 20 or 25 years of age. For example, the risk of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome is 1 in 1500 for 25-year-old mothers and 1 in 400 for 35-year-old mothers. Those who become pregnant at 40 have a risk of 1:109, and those who become pregnant at 45 have a risk of 1:32. The risk of premature births and malformations continues to increase.

Pregnant over 40: health precautions

The health insurance companies speak of a high-risk pregnancy from the age of 35. From this point on, they will cover the cost of additional check-ups, even if the mother is perfectly well. Basically: Even if the term "high-risk pregnancy" sounds threatening, you should not worry if you are healthy. The risk is purely theoretical, but leads to the assumption of costs by the health insurance for the following services:

  • Additional preventive examinations if required
  • Additional ultrasound examinations
  • Chorionic villus sampling (examination for genetic peculiarities and metabolic diseases)
  • If necessary amniocentesis (amniocentesis)
  • If needed. Neck measurement (examination for genetic peculiarities as well as heart and skeletal defects)
  • Cardiotocography (labor recorder, records heart sounds of the unborn baby from the 25. Week of pregnancy on)

The additional preventive examinations are not obligatory, but can be useful to check whether mother and child are doing well.
Women who become pregnant at 40 have a much greater risk of pregnancy complications. These include, for example:

  • High blood pressure (gestational hypertension)
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Bleeding
  • Anemia
  • Gestosis

The more often you attend screenings, the greater the likelihood that potential complications will be detected and treated early. This is important to prevent serious complications such as preeclampsia. Characteristics of gestosis are increased blood pressure, water retention and increased protein excretion in the urine, and if preeclampsia is suspected, close monitoring by the gynecologist is necessary to ensure the health of mother and baby.

If gestational diabetes occurs, in which the mother’s blood sugar level is elevated, this can have serious consequences for the child. Malformations, developmental problems, or even stillbirth may occur. The earlier gestational diabetes is detected, the sooner countermeasures can be taken to lower blood glucose levels. Gestational diabetes is favored by a carbohydrate-rich, unhealthy diet.

Pregnancy at 50: yes or no?

Pregnant at 40 is widely socially accepted today. Many women have no other choice if they want to study and build a career first, or if the right partner is a long time coming. Getting pregnant at the age of 50, on the other hand, is controversial. Of course, there are also coincidences, for example, when a woman stops using contraceptives at the onset of menopause, believing that nothing more can happen.

However, there are also women who may decide to have a baby at the "last minute" still wish to have a child. Perhaps she is burdened by loneliness because the adult offspring has moved out, perhaps she wants to take the last chance to have a child or wishes to have a family together with a new man in her life.

For a healthy woman, pregnancy is not a problem physically if well cared for. The risk of complications, miscarriages and genetic defects tends to increase in pregnant women over 45, but even at this age most women give birth to healthy children.

Whether pregnancy should still be attempted at 50 is controversial. Many older women are more confident, financially better off, and able to pay more attention to their children than younger women. However, in their mid-60s they will usually find it harder to go through the storms of puberty again. Also, you should remember that even if women today reach the average age of 82, the child often loses its mother at around 30 years of age.

Pregnant at 40: the advantages

Despite all the prophecies of doom, every woman must decide for herself whether and when she wants to have a child and become pregnant. Especially if you get pregnant naturally at 40 or even 45, you should congratulate yourself and look forward to the child, because Mother Nature has given you a late gift. Take care of your health, eat a balanced diet, get plenty of exercise and attend all preventive checkups. Then you have a good chance of a healthy pregnancy.

Late pregnancy offers some advantages: Older mothers are usually established in their careers and can more easily take a longer maternity break. You are also more likely to have the financial means of good childcare if you want to return to work quickly. Single, well-off women who have never found a suitable partner are increasingly opting for a late pregnancy in order to fulfill their own long-cherished desire to have children. Couples who decide to have a child after many years of togetherness "before it’s too late", can also rely on a more stable relationship framework and provide a harmonious family life for the child as it grows up.

All this contributes to older mothers being more relaxed and optimistic about their pregnancies and suffering less stress. This in turn benefits the child in the womb.

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