I feel torn about taking time off from dance to have a child. I'm married and my biological clock is ticking. I just don't know what age to take the leap for the health of the child.

—Would-Be Mother, San Francisco, CA


In addition to the baby's health, there's also your health to consider when contemplating motherhood. For example, the risks of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and cesarean sections are higher for women who get pregnant after 35. Your baby's chance of having Down syndrome or another chromosomal disorder begins to rise significantly starting in your mid-30s, so your doctor may recommend prenatal screening. You can reduce chromosomal risks by freezing your eggs in your 20s or early 30s. Doing so could also help you avoid problems with fertility that develop with age. The timing is up to you, but it's easier to get back in shape for dance if you don't wait too long. For example, New York City Ballet principal dancer Ashley Bouder had a baby at 32 and returned to performing in less than five months.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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