Pregnancy

What's the right age to have a baby?

July 10, 2013 at 11:23 AM ET

When it comes to having a child, there’s so much for women to consider: Biological clocks, suitable partners, career ambitions and fertility factors.

What's the right age to have a baby?
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Some say they’re glad they became pregnant in their 20s. Alicia Harper, a dean of students at a charter school in New York City, found herself staring at a positive pregnancy test at 23.

“Being a graduate student while being a single mother was a challenge,” Harper wrote in The New York Times this week in a column titled, "I’m a Young Mom With No Regrets."

“But there’s something about the situation that makes me smile. My son saw me grow into a professional. He was able to see me start from the bottom and work my way up. I’m able to grow with him, and I’m able to work my life and my career around motherhood, as opposed to trying to shove motherhood into my career.”

But Harper is not exactly typical these days. While the mean age at first birth in the U.S. is just over 25, according to the CDC, many women can’t imagine having a baby that young – just a few years after graduating from college, with dreams of exploring the world and at the start of their career.

So with many delaying motherhood for work and other reasons, and with couples able to conceive later in life with the help of modern medicine, it’s commonplace to see first-time moms in their 30s and even 40s.

A recent article in The Atlantic suggests women's fears about waiting to have a baby are overblown and many would argue it’s better to wait until you are mature and financially stable to expand your family.

Meanwhile, the U.S. fertility rate has fallen sharply since the nation went into recession in 2007, hitting the lowest rate ever reported in 2011 and staying there in 2012. Some of the sharpest drops have been among women in their 20s.

We want to know: How old were you when you gave birth? Would you have done it differently if given the chance to do it over. Share your comments on our TODAY Moms Facebook page.



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