One of our favorite myths is the idea that all mid-life pregnancies are extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. But, spoiler: That isn’t necessarily true. (By the way, same goes for those other pregnancy myths: Sweets will hurt the baby! Eating a whole pineapple will make you give birth! That half glass of wine you just drank in your third trimester means you’re a terrible mom! Don’t exercise! Stay away from coffee! The list goes on.)
While a pregnant person older than 35 is considered “advanced maternal age,” according to the Mayo Clinic, other factors such as lifestyle choices (using alcohol or cigarettes), health conditions (high blood pressure, obesity), or carrying multiple babies also contribute to a high-risk pregnancy. The point is, being of a certain age doesn’t always mean that you can’t give birth a perfectly healthy baby. And there are advantages to delaying motherhood — just ask Salma Hayek, who gave birth to her daughter Valentina at age 41, what she calls perfect timing.
“When you turn 40, it’s a lost easier than 30,” Hayek told USA Today in 2009. “They lied when they said you get old when you’re 40. The best is the 40s.”
Hayek and the other fabulous celebrities ahead are proof positive that you can give birth over the age of 40. So the next time some relative of yours takes an interest in your biological clock or you start feeling down about your future plans, take heart — and remind yourself how pregnancy worked out for Janet Jackson.
A version of this story was originally published in January 2016.
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