Best time to have children?

Hey all!

I’m currently 34 and will be 35 by the time I start taking pre-med classes in the spring. My wife (same sex marriage, to clarify) is also returning to school soon for her Masters in Psychology. We know that we both definitely want at least one child and I am the only one who can get pregnant. I’m not getting any younger.

So, my question is - would it be better to have our first baby sooner rather than later? If we started soon and I got pregnant within six months, I’d be pregnant for most of my prereqs and could give birth during my glide year and be with the baby while I apply to med schools.

Or do I wait til M1? I obviously don’t want to be pregnant during M3/M4. I’m strongly leaning toward Pathology, and from what I understand, the hours aren’t nearly as bad for residents as most other specialties. I also don’t want to wait until my 40s to try to have a baby.

Anyone out there want to weigh in? Anyone have any experiences either being pregnant and having a newborn either through prereqs or M1?

tl;dr - When is the best time to have a baby if there are age considerations?



I’ve got two young kids; the first was one when I started my prereqs, and the second was born during finals week a few semesters later.

My perspective is this: There’s never an ideal time to have kids. If you and wait for that time, it will never come. There will always be something going on (school, work, shark week, whatever).

The most important thing is that you and your partner are dedicated to loving and caring for this baby. If that’s there, then you can make things work so that you can have the baby and accomplish what you want to as well.

Remember that you’ll have a minimum of 9 months to prepare for things, so that will help ensure things are lined up in terms of house, work, school, child care, etc.

Totally agree with bennard: there will never be a good time. I have two kids (4 and 7) and I am presently an MS1.

If you get pregnant, then you should do all possible to have your child prior to starting MED School. The sooner, the better!

If Your partner decides to get pregnant, then perhaps you would have a bit more flexibility, but a baby is demanding, nights are short and free time almost impossible to find it. It would not work too well with the amount of studying you have to do in years 1 and 2 in MD school (of course it would also depend on how much help you can get or afford).

So the bottom line is to do it now if you can. Good luck.

Agreed that there is never a “right time,” however pregnancy in M3 would likely mean delay in graduation so if you can plan around that, either before or after, you’ll probably be ok – exhausted, but ok. Just based on observation of both, it’s probably easier to start your family in residency vs in medical school if you want to wait that long. Residency programs, even surgery, seem to be more accepting of the fact that clocks are ticking. At any one time during the year, I have 1 or 2 residents either pregnant or out on maternity leave. We expect it and we adjust accordingly.

Technically, advanced maternal age starts at 35. I have delivered healthy babies to women in their early 40s, and not so healthy babies to women in their 20s. It’s very dependent on maternal health and weight.

Best of luck!


I agree with the comments above. There is never a good time to have children, but the earlier the better. I had my first and only child (for now) when I started my prerequisites and it was not so bad. I would like to have my second (and probably last) child before starting med school… and I’m applying this coming cycle. Yes I will have a newborn when I start med school, but I prefer things to be that way than waiting while in med school…you never know with these pregnancies.

One of my friends had a 3rd child during MS2. Her school wanted her to take a year off but she refused. “It was not easy at all” but she didn’t want to lose 1 year. Thanks God everything worked out all right. She had a healthy baby, got into MS 3, and passed step 1. But she suggested that I have my child before or after med school. She wouldn’t recommend what she did. She has a very supportive husband who spend more time with their children and take good care of them while she is in med school. Her graduation is this year and her last born is almost 2.

Soooo the time is now. Congrats in advance.

  • redo-it-all Said:
Totally agree with bennard: there will never be a good time.


time does not stop and neither does the time for you to be able to have babies.

I can tell you the babies during medical school and residency are very hard.

Thanks to everyone for all the helpful replies. I guess I should have said “what’s the least worst time” instead

I’m definitely constrained by time and the fact that my spouse isn’t physically able to get pregnant. So that leaves me, or adoption - which I’m not against, necessarily…I just know that it can also be a very long, expensive road too.

Does it make a difference if I say that I’m interested in Pathology? From what I understand, the hours during residency aren’t as demanding.

I actually am having this exact same discussion with my husband the past few weeks. The more I think about it the more I think having our first baby now, while I’m postbacc-premed makes way more sense then waiting 6+ years until residency and I am 34 (or older if I wait until after residency). Of course I know it will be difficult, but my biggest concern is taking the MCAT with a 6month (or older depending on when we get pregnant)

I am lucky in the fact that I have already been accepted to a postbacc/MD program where all I have to do is take the classes maintain a 3.5 and get over a 25 on the MCAT (I’m sure the scoring will be adjusted to reflect the new MCAT). I unfortunately will not be prepared enough to take the MCAT until spring of 2016 March–April

It comforts me knowing that there are people who have done it and have done well on the MCAT. Having a newborn in M4 or residency sounds way scarier than having one in premed, I just don’t want it to inhibit my MCAT.