Work Now, Have Babies Later

Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood

Hey, you, eating pizza at your desk for the fourth night this week: There's good news from Elizabeth Gregory, author of Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood. She has found that it may actually be healthy to hold off on having kids. Why?

You cash in.

"I talked to 113 mothers. Among full-time workers between 40 and 45 with professional degrees, those who had their first child at 25 made an average of $46,000, while those who waited until 35 made $79,000. A woman's average long-term salary increases by 3 percent for each year she delays children."

You may live longer.

"Researchers have found that 34 is the optimum age to get pregnant in terms of health and longevity of the mother, and 32 is the optimum age for the baby. Women who give birth after 40 live longer, but they have more health issues — not bigger ones, just more. There are socioeconomic factors involved, of course."

You have more bargaining chips with the boss.

"Women who started their families later established clout at work. Their employers were more likely to give them the flexibility they needed and make deals they wouldn't make with less experienced employees."

Maybe you'll need in vitro. But maybe you won't.

"The old definition of infertility was trying for a year. But a recent study suggested that after 35, the definition should be extended to two years, having sex at least two days during your most fertile week. But people tend to have sex less often the longer they've been in a relationship." Message: Go at it like teenagers.