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The ‘Ideal’ Age to Have a Baby

By Meredith Carroll |


The ideal time for pregnancy is in the belly of the beholder, but 59 percent of women agree on the same age

When I was in middle school and high school, I knew I wanted to be a young mom. I figured I’d meet my husband on the first day of college and we’d get married a couple of years after graduation. After having a few kids in our mid twenties, we’d work for a while and then retire early in order to travel the world (returning occasionally to play with grandchildren). Call it my version of Disney’s happily ever after.

Of course the best laid plans of teen girls often go awry. Like, I didn’t meet my husband until I was 30. We got married a few years later and struggled to keep a pregnancy after learning I have a genetic clotting disorder. So while I would have liked to be a much younger mom, it is what it is.

I’m guessing that’s the case for a lot of women. But that doesn’t mean they don’t believe there’s an ideal age to have kids. A new survey says 59 percent say there is, in fact, an ideal age, and 29 is that magic number.

Twenty-nine is the age most women feel they’ll be in the best possible position financially to rear a child, according to a new survey. They also believe it’s when they’ll feel most secure in their relationship.

The research also examined to what women attribute their success in becoming pregnant. Seventy percent felt it was a healthy diet that improved their odds of conceiving. Two thirds of women tipped their hats to regular sex, and 42 percent said abstaining from alcohol contributed to a plus sign on the home pregnancy test.

A third of women polled said losing weight and abstaining from cigarettes boosted their chances for conception. Others cited more exercise and less caffeine in helping them get pregnant.

I had a few friends marry young — in their early to mid 20s — and start families, and I can see the upside to have kids early: more energy, more time after the kids are grown to enjoy life with your husband. But I also see the benefit of waiting later: gaining a more seasoned outlook on life, being more financially stable.

The funny thing is when I look back now at what I was doing when I originally thought would have been the ideal time for me to be married and have a baby, I wasn’t in a stable relationship and I was in no position financially to take care of myself, never mind a growing family. But it’s still interesting to hear when other women think the ideal time is to become a mom.

What do you think is the ideal age to become a mom?

Image: Creative Commons

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About Meredith Carroll


Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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11 thoughts on “The ‘Ideal’ Age to Have a Baby

  1. Regina says:

    I too thought the best age was about 28-29. But POCS and blocked tubes changed my plans as well as infertility and three miscarriages.. then finally i had my daughter.. after my daughter four years later and secondary infertility and invitro.. I had my son. count ahead six years later.. no help no treatments and a new man in my life and I spontaniously concieve.. the perfect time doesnt exist.. you make plans and God laughs at you. My daughter was at 30.. my first son at thirty five and now my second son at fourty.. just the way it worked out.. every child is a blessing..

  2. Jessica says:

    I always knew I’d be a young mother. I just didn’t know it would happen at 19 only 3 months after our wedding.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Im 29, and Im having my first baby in December. I agree with you I was in no position to have a child before now. Its funny how things have a way of working out. I was also one who thought growing up that I would be married with kids by the time I was 25.

  4. Sarah says:

    I think the right age is effected by one’s environment. I live in San Francisco and at 29 having kids was the furthest thing from my mind and I didn’t have any local friends having kids either. Everyone I knew in SF was traveling, in school, still going out and dating. I find that in SF and other cities, mid-thirties is when most people start being mentally ready for kids, unfortunately biology is not always on our side.

  5. wendi says:

    in your 20′s but but i know there are things that stop that from happening. i met my husband in highschool and i knew i wanted to marry him someday. i am lucky to find him. i had my numbers planed out.. thought i would get married at 25 then have kids a year later. i got married when i was 22. we were together for 4 years before so we thought it was time to finally be married. we thought we would have kids a couple years after. But we got surprised 7 months later that we were expecting.. we were nervous yet excited of course. we had our daughter in july. i knew i wanted another one just after giving birth. THere was this instant crazy love there. its so funny. the things i thought after giving birth. so as our daughter got older , maybe when she was 4 or 5 mths i knew i wanted the next one close in age with her. i wanted then at least 2 years apart. my husband and i were talking and thought we would try for baby #2 when our daughter was a year and a half. little did we know we got a surprise that we were pregnant again when our daughter was 11 mths old. god has other plans for us i guess. it may be some work but our girls will so much fun playing together. it will be so worth it.

  6. wendi says:

    the age think depends on what you are refering to. medicaly it is best to have kids in your 20s because of less complications.

  7. wendi says:

    im am glad you were able to have kids regina.

  8. wendi says:

    i always knew id be a young mom too. i didn’t think i would have my daughter at 22 though.

  9. Chesty LeRoux says:

    I am blessed to be a young mother and my husband feels the same about being a young father. We got pregnant when I was 19 and he was 20. Fortunately, we were also blessed with stable careers and had financial security taking away the burden that so many young parents bare. I was physically fit and more than capable of nothing short of a perfect pregnancy and water birth and delivery at home. I had plenty of energy bounced back to even less than my pre-Pregnancy weight easily. Now 7 years later, I am still finding aside from a few differences, I still have the stamina I did back then. People ask about the age gap, but my 6 year old 1st grader could not be more excited to help Mom and Dad take care of a little one. We always wanted to wait a few years in between kids anyway (less kids in diapers lol). I believe any time during ones 20′s to early 30′s is a wonderful time to conceive. Sure, the economy is not what is used to be, but if you wait until you can afford to have children, you may never ge the chance to have children! No matter what age, however, children are definitely an experience I believe everyone should be lucky to have.

  10. Anne says:

    I was a young mother by accident, having my first child when I was 17 and I would not trade my son for anything but I have regrets over everything that I missed in life. I then turned around and got married to a man that had a very stable career and we had two more children when I was 19 and 21. I like the fact that I had the energy to keep up with them and that we will share so much time together as adults but I felt that I missed my alone time. After seven years of marriage my husband went off the deep end with drugs during the fall of the economy and we divorced. Now I am getting ready to marry my second husband and we have decided to have another child, one of his own and I am very happy. I am 28 years old and I feel that I am mentally, emotionally and spiritually ready. I agree that this age is a great age for having children but then again so is almost any other age.

  11. KateandTrevorsmom says:

    I always knew I wanted to be a young mom. I got married at 23 and within 4 months I was pregnant with our son at age 23. I had a little girl 4 years later. I have always loved being a young mom. We both went to college, we owned a home and my husbands job pays enough that I have been a stay at home mom for 6 years, ever since my son was born. I personally could not imagine waiting until 30 or longer. I am so glad I get to spend my 20s raising my babies, there is seriously nothing I would rather be doing.

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