12/08/2014 01:24 pm ET Updated Dec 08, 2014

There's No Shame In Being An Older First-Time Mom

For many women, the pressure to have a family before reaching “advanced maternal age” is all too familiar. But with more and more women reporting successful pregnancies later in life, is the rush to bear children really all that necessary?

As Dr. Catherine Herway told HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd, having children at an older age is very possible. The term “advanced maternal age” was first used to describe the age when women have an increased risk of fetal loss or chromosomal abnormalities for their children. But the term, which for some has a negative connotation, is slowly becoming obsolete.

With women looking to prioritize career-building and higher education, research shows that childbearing is happening later in life. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age of women at first birth has been on the rise for the last four decades, particularly due to the increase in first pregnancies for women over 35. In fact, the first birth rate for women between the ages of 40 and 44 more than doubled from 1990 to 2012.

Despite the stigma, Maria Guido, a mother of two, said she is happy with her choice to wait to have children.

“Honestly, I feel great about it. I feel great that I waited as long as I did,” Guido said about having a child at 38-years-old. “I feel great now being a mom to young children, and I don’t think there’s any problem with it.”

Herway echoed the optimistic tone and discussed the financial reasons to have children at a later age.

“[Some moms wait] longer for career purposes, and they’re able to support a family and have that financial stress removed, which for a younger family, financial stresses can be a huge burden, not just on trying to have a family but also on your relationship with your spouse,” Herway said.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation on advanced maternal age here.

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