Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton and her husband, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander, announced Saturday they are expecting their first child. Upton announced her pregnancy in an Instagram post with a hashtag and photo of herself showing a tiny baby bump. It’s unclear how far along Upton is, but the 26 year-old beauty told E! News that she had been keeping the news on the “down low” and was “excited to finally be able to share it with the world!”
Even though studies have confirmed women are more likely to have their first child in their early 30s rather than in their 20s, Upton is onto something. There’s no wrong time to bear children — babies truly are a blessing — but research and anecdotes show women may want to consider having babies when they’re younger if they can. Here are five reasons why.
1. Your Biological Clock
Though statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show women are waiting longer to have babies — many start around age 28 and later — scientific findings show a woman’s biological clock is a real thing, and it ticks well before she hits her 30s.
Dr Charanjit Kaur is a senior consultant, obstetrician and gynecologist, in the Sukhda Hospital in South Delhi. He believes the biological clock is a reality and procrastinating isn’t a good idea. “The best time to have babies is of course between 20s and 30s. A woman is young and has the vigour to have babies,” he told the Hindustan Times. “Sadly, the scary trend I have been noticing is that women are opting for their first pregnancy at around 32-33 years.”
Scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina and the University of Padua in Italy studied 872 healthy couples. The Daily Mail reports: “They say 19 to 26-year-olds have a 50 percent chance of conceiving two days before ovulation – a woman’s most fertile time. That drops to 40 per cent for those aged 27 to 34. … Their research is the first to indicate that female fertility declines before the age of 30.”
2. Birth, Recovery And Raising Children Is Easier And Healthier
Some women really struggle during their pregnancies — they find them painful, nauseating, or exhausting. But in general, a woman often finds pregnancy easier in her 20s rather than in her 30s. Here, youth is not wasted on the young, and it truly can help a woman enjoy pregnancy. Dr. Kaur added: “Having a baby after 35 is fraught with problems — fertility count goes down, lifestyle diseases like diabetes and blood pressure have to be factored in and the risk of abnormal births is high.”
Perhaps more importantly, women tend to recover much easier from pregnancies they experience in their 20s. The dreaded “fourth trimester” is hard on everyone. But everything from sleepless nights to losing the baby weight is easier with a faster metabolism. The only downside to having babies younger in this area is young moms, in my anecdotal experience, tend to be more anxious, fearful, tightly wound, or unsure of what to do. Older moms, having experienced life more, tend to be a bit more relaxed and calm.
3. It’s Easier To Have A Large Family
This should go without saying, yet a lot of families don’t seem to consider this when thinking about having a baby. If you want a large family, you need to start having babies when you’re most fertile. This way you can not only have several children before fertility starts to decline — around age 25 — but also space the babies somewhat apart if you like.
Having big families is starting to make a comeback, even in Kate Upton’s world. Actor James Van Deer Beek, of “Dawson’s Creek,” and his wife of eight years Kimberley, just celebrated the birth of their fifth child. She is only 36. If you think you want a big family but aren’t sure how you’ll manage, there are hundreds of moms to follow on Instagram; their feeds offer laughs, encouragement, and advice. This Mama has nine kids under thirteen, homeschools them all, and looks like she’s having a great time doing it.
4. You Can Work Later, But You Can’t Have Babies Later
One of the main reasons millennial women are putting off having babies is because they either want to work or feel they must work for various reasons. In many cases, women have to work — period. But I’d still argue that even so, it’s better to take advantage of being young and fertile, and have babies while that comes naturally and balance work and family as much as possible, rather than delay having babies just to fill a quota at a law firm or secure another graduate degree.
For example, I know many women who put off having babies in favor of pursuing a Ph.D., or running their own businesses. I did not do this — I had my first child at 25 — and I dabbled in work when I could. While I admired my friends, and truth be told, was often jealous of these intellectual or entrepreneurial pursuits, an honest conversation often revealed they wished they had done what I did. Not only did their body “tell them” they wanted babies, but when they waited until they were 30 or 35, they either had trouble getting pregnant, or then had a baby and realized they had to put the career they worked so hard for on hold. Many of them felt they had put forth so much effort to grow their career path, only to have it stagnate or slip away, because they finally chose to have children before it was absolutely too late.
While it might go against what our culture is saying, if women have babies earlier, dip their toes into work, graduate school, or starting a business as much as possible, then pursue it again later, when the kids are all older, they might find themselves less frustrated with both.
5. Being a Young Parent And Grandparent Helps You Enjoy More
I asked a few friends of mine who had babies at a young age like I did what they liked about being young moms, and why they too would suggest it. One of them brought up a point I hadn’t even found myself considering: Being a young parent and grandparent. Let’s face it — having children is a lot of work. Parenting is physically demanding when you’re younger and emotionally taxing when they’re older. If they’re not up all night crying or vomiting, they’re whining all day about wanting a cell phone (I jest, kind of).
Still, being a young parent has probably helped me be able to handle some long, strenuous, days fraught with a marathon of flu, lengthy road trips, long hours in an ER, or just the emotional consistency and persistence parenting requires. Because I’m young, I can go tubing with my kids, teach my boys how to play catch — like all good Midwestern Mamas do — and do my best to stay in shape (that’s always a work in progress).
My parents had me at a really young age, and now they’re delightfully young grandparents. This means they get on the floor and play with my kids, can take them out on their boat, and generally keep up with the amount of energy my four-year-old seems to always exude.
Of course, there are downsides to having babies earlier, but I think the pros outweigh the cons. In any case, Kate Upton will likely be the sexiest Mama around and I hope she enjoys her first pregnancy.