What's the Best Age to Have a Baby? The Answer Is...

More than 5,000 adults polled said parents this age are the best prepared for pregnancy and parenthood

When is the right time to have a baby? Of course, it depends on your own set of health, career and relationship circumstances. But if you ask people who know nothing about you, they'll say that 25 years old or younger is the ideal age for a woman to have a child.

A new Gallup poll of more than 5,000 adults found that 58 percent of Americans believe a young mom (25 or younger) is the best mom. Men, on the other hand, are considered ideal fatherhood material slightly later, at age 26 or older. More black and Hispanic respondents thought under 25 was the best age for both men and women, while those higher education levels tended to see later parenthood as more desirable.

While it's often said that a woman's fertility peaks in her 20s, recent research suggests that window is longer than we thought -- and that the biggest drop-off in fertility may be after age 40. Which means that there's still time to get an advanced degree, build a career or just get life experience. So don't let anyone rush you. 

Mom of two Sasha Emmons is a writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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