In your 20s} The vigor of youth will mean less fatigue during pregnancy and an easier time chasing a toddler—provided you take care of yourself. “If you’re an overweight, smoking, cheeseburger-eating 20-year-old, you won’t have a lot of energy to run around after a kid,” Nachamie says.
In your 30s} Energy starts to wane a bit, so be sure to treat yourself to naps during your pregnancy and, if possible, stop working a while before your due date, especially if you have a physically demanding job.
In your 40s} Fatigue is a routine part of life, both while you’re pregnant and after. What you lack in energy, however, you may make up for in other ways. “In my experience, most older parents are more patient,” Nachamie says. “They also have more perspective—the little stuff doesn’t bother them like it used to.”
No matter how old you are, you can boost your chances of having a healthy baby and being a happy, energetic mother. “A lot of [older] women think they have no control over the risk factors [see box at right],” Lieberman says. “But there are many things you can do.” If you eat right, exercise, have good medical care and follow your doctor’s advice on avoiding high-risk situations, your chances soar. Says Lieberman: “A healthy woman of 35 is going to have better odds than an unhealthy woman in her early 20s.”