Getting Pregnant in Your 30s: What to Expect

Getting Pregnant in Your 30s: What to Expect

Since the 1990s, the number of women who start families in their 30s has steadily risen according to data from the CDC. But between ages 30-39 there are large differences in the rates at which women are getting pregnant for the first time. This data, combined with later marriages and more focus on careers, helps to explain why more women are choosing to have children in their 30s than before. But what can you expect from your body when you’re trying to conceive after 29? We have some family planning and health statistics that give a realistic view of what getting pregnant in your 30s will be like if you’re ready to have a baby.

If you’re in your 30s when you try to conceive, your body is not as response as it was in your 20s. Experts report that fertility begins to decline at age 30, but don’t fear—this is a gradual change, not a sudden one. We’ve all heard the phrase “your biological clock is ticking” but that does not mean that a healthy, full-term pregnancy is out of the question in your 30s. Once pregnant, you will have a higher risk for hypertension and high blood pressure, and developing gestational diabetes is more common for women in your age range than younger moms-to-be. Taking supplements, focusing on healthy eating, and regular exercise are lifestyle habits that will keep you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy.

Some couples will seek a doctor’s help for infertility treatment if they do not have success getting pregnant. Doctors will usually recommend that a couple have unprotected sex for a full year before seeking In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment if the woman is under 35; after 35, your doctor might send you to a specialist after 6 months of consistent unprotected sex. At the tail end of your 30s, your eggs have aged to the point where fertilization is more difficult than before. Again, being open and honest with your doctor about your family planning experience will help you find more success getting pregnant. If you feel as though you need to seek infertility treatment, don’t delay—some clinics do not accept patients after 40.

Having a baby in your 30s will most likely not cause the same kinds of emotional or financial stress on you or your relationship the way it might on a younger couple. You and your partner are probably entrenched in a job and enjoy financial security that many younger couples do not have right out of school. Also, a woman in her 30s is less likely to feel body-conscious while gaining pregnancy weight than a younger woman. If you’ve been married for a number of years, you might feel more prepared to start a family because you’ve had the luxury of unhindered alone time with your partner. Talk to your partner, begin to talk about whether or not you’ll return to work and if so when that may happen (especially if financials are concerned), and enjoy the process of starting a family.

Even though you’ve passed your most fertile years, many older couples have found success with treatments and you should not let your fears about getting pregnant eclipse the family planning journey. Doctors are much more knowledgeable about infertility options than past years and will help you find the right method if you should need some help. Pregnancy at any age is a beautiful experience, and focusing on creating a happy, healthy baby is the first priority for parents-to-be.