How to Have a Healthy Pregnancy After 30

Women are most fertile in their 20s, with a decline in fertility at age 32

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Women in their 30s and beyond are having more babies than before, while their younger counterparts are experiencing a birth rate slow-down. This trend takes the 25- to 29-year-olds out of the top birth rate for the first time in over 30 years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that there have been steady increases in births to women ages 30 to 34 and 35 to 39. But birthrates have declined by an average of 4% per year since 2007 for women under 30.

If you're considering having a baby, here's what you need to know about getting pregnant after 30, including fertility, conception, pregnancy, labor, and birth.

Fertility Challenges

The longer you wait to try to have a baby, the more challenging it may be to get pregnant. Women are most fertile in their 20s, with a slight decline in fertility at the age of 32. The decline increases more steeply after age 37.

If you are over the age of 35 and have not been able to get pregnant after 6 months of well-timed intercourse without using contraception, fertility experts recommend seeking the help of an obstetrician or fertility specialist (reproductive endocrinologist).

About one-third of women over 35 will seek the help of a fertility specialist, and that number increases with age.

While age-related decreases in fertility can be caused by fewer eggs, less frequent ovulation, and poorer egg quality, age is not an automatic cause of infertility. A healthcare provider can order tests if they are concerned about ovulation, which is only one aspect of fertility testing.

An infertility treatment plan will depend on the cause or causes behind infertility. Treatment can range from simply monitoring ovulation to taking an oral medication to in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Miscarriage Risks

Every pregnancy carries the risk of miscarriage, and that risk goes up with age. Many miscarriages can be a result of chromosomal abnormalities, and the chance of a baby having these abnormalities also increases with age, particularly after age 35.

Chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and thyroid issues can also complicate pregnancy and increase the risk of miscarriage. Identifying or managing any chronic conditions before you are pregnant can minimize the risk of miscarriage. Meeting with your healthcare provider for a preconception work-up prior to trying to conceive is an important step.

Physical Changes

The older you are, the more challenging the physical changes of pregnancy may be on your body. Fortunately, many people in their 30s are used to being physically active and have a well-established fitness routine.

If you are already exercising, there is usually no reason to stop just because you are pregnant. Staying physically fit and active during pregnancy can help you feel strong and minimize pregnancy-related discomforts. Some studies show that people who stay active during pregnancy have easier and shorter labors.

If you have not been exercising, starting a gentle program of swimming, yoga, or walking under your provider's guidance can offer a lot of benefits throughout your pregnancy. Exercise also can help reduce stress and improve your physical condition.

At your first prenatal appointment, discuss your physical activity and determine if you need to make any changes to what you are currently doing.

Emotional Changes

The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can affect your emotions—which is true regardless of your age. If you're feeling alone or depressed or can't seem to get negative emotions under control, it's essential to reach out for help. Contact a healthcare provider and let them know how you're feeling.

If you have other friends in their 30s who are also having babies, consider sharing your feelings and experiences with them. You can also look for online pregnancy support groups and social events in your community to connect with others who are experiencing the highs and lows of pregnancy.

Genetic Issues

Genetic screening is great for some families because the procedure—which is just a simple blood test—doesn't pose any major risks to the parent or baby. Plus, the results can help you decide if further, more invasive genetic testing is more appropriate for your family.

Genetic Screening

Genetic screenings may be offered during your prenatal care appointments, especially if you are 35 or older (which is considered advanced maternal age). The test results tell you about the likelihood of your baby being born with a genetic problem.

According to the National Down Syndrome Society, a person at age 30 has a 1 in 940 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome. By age 35, the risk goes up to 1 in 353. As you enter your 40s, the risk approaches 1 in 85.

At 35, your screening might say that your blood tests indicate your risk of having a child with Down syndrome is 1 in 500 for this pregnancy. This would be considered a negative screening because the actual risk determined by the screening was better than your statistical risk (1 in 353 for a woman at 35).

If your test indicated a 1 in 147 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome, this is considered a positive screening. This means that your actual risk of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome is higher than your statistical risk.

Genetic screening does not say with certainty that your baby has a genetic problem, it merely calculates the risks compared to your age group.

Genetic Testing

Unlike genetic screening, genetic testing actually provides you with an accurate picture of your baby's genetics and a diagnosis. The trade-off is that the genetic testing procedures—amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS)—do pose a potential risk to your baby.

When you are pregnant after 30, depending on if you are 35 or older, genetic screening and testing may be suggested. This type of testing requires thoughtful consideration and discussion with a healthcare provider.

Twins and Multiples

The chances of having twins increase with age due to natural hormonal fluctuations as you age. The chance of having multiples isn't really something that becomes a significant increase until after 35. The increase observed in older mothers can also be caused by an increase in the use of fertility treatments.

Labor and Birth

Pregnancy after 30 has the potential to be more complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Discussing any possible health risks with your healthcare provider and keeping up with consistent prenatal care can help you to remain healthy and quickly identify and treat any potential complications.

Potential Complications

In your later 30s, you might be at an increased risk of:

Just because there is an increased risk of having a complication does not mean that you will absolutely have one. Most pregnancies for people in their 30s proceed without any difficulties. If this is not your first baby, the risk of preterm labor and birth is less than a person having their first baby over 40.

A Word From Verywell

While there may be some challenges getting pregnant after you turn 30, managing your physical and emotional health, receiving proper prenatal care, and seeking support from peers can help increase the likelihood of having a healthy, happy pregnancy and baby.

If you are over age 35 and have been trying to conceive for 6 months, talk to a healthcare provider about the next steps. Although there may be nothing you need to do other than monitor ovulation, it is important to talk about potential next steps if you are tying to have a baby after age 35.

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5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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