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. And it goes without saying that many women, either older or younger than 35, need reproductive assistance to get pregnant.
However, 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, which is what she calls perfect timing. “When you turn 40, it’s a lot 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 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.
Jennifer Love Hewitt
In September 2021, 42-year-old Jennifer Love Hewitt gave birth to her third child, a son named Aiden, with husband Brian Hallisay. The couple also share daughter Autumn (who was born in 2013) and son Atticus (born in 2015). Of the third pregnancy, the actress told People, “We had always been open to a third, but definitely didn’t think in the crazy year that the entire world was having that it would necessarily be this moment…This has been such a pleasant, beautiful, surprising gift in this time to be able to get to do all that again with another little human. We weren’t closed off to the idea, it just wasn’t something that we were actively thinking about.”
HGTV’s Joanna and Chip Gaines welcomed their fifth child, a boy named Crew, in 2018 when Joanna was 40. “I kid with people, ‘If you ever want to feel young again, have a baby at 40,’” she told People. “It’s brought this whole new thing for me where I’m a lot more laid-back…” The couple also share daughter Emmie (born in 2010), son Duke (born in 2008), daughter Ella (born in 2006), and son Drake (born in 2005).
Not only did actress Geena Davis give birth to her daughter Alizeh when she was 46, she had welcomed twins Kian and Kaiis two years later.
“I felt 100% that I would be such a better parent than I would have been even five years earlier and certainly 10 or 20 years earlier,” she told Good Housekeeping in 2006. “If I’d had kids earlier, I could easily have become one of those mothers who overinvolve themselves and try to live life through their kids. I’m sure there are younger people who have figured things out long before I did, but in my case, I became a parent with exactly the right person, at exactly the right time.”
The American Horror Story actress welcomed her first child in 2020 at age 45 with boyfriend Sinisa Mačković.
“Welcome to the world,” Sevigny wrote on Instagram after the birth. “Vanja Sevigny Mačković, Born May 2nd New York City. Thank you to all the staff at Mt. Sinai East for your bravery, perseverance and kindness, especially the nurses for being so gentle and patient. Blessings to all the other families giving birth during this time.”
Janet Jackson gave birth to her first child, a son named Eissa, in early 2017 at the age of 50. And, in classic Jackson fashion, she’s looking more amazing than ever.
Television anchor Tamron Hall welcomed her first child, Moses, in April 2019, when she was 48. Hall kept the news secret until her 32nd week of pregnancy — then, on the same day, she revealed she had married film producer Steve Greener.
In 2018 and at age 48, Rachel Weisz gave birth to her second child, her first with husband Daniel Craig. The couple typically stay mum about their private lives, but during the pregnancy Weisz couldn’t contain her excitement, telling US Weekly, “I’ll be showing soon. Daniel and I are so happy. We’re going to have a little human. We can’t wait to meet him or her. It’s all such a mystery.”
Weisz also has a son named Henry Aronofsky (born in 2006), with director Darren Aronofsky.
While Savannah Guthrie always wanted to be a mom, the Today anchor wasn’t sure parenthood was in the cards. Guthrie previously told People she thought “it was too late” for her and hubby, Michael Feldman. “[I thought] we’d lost our chance.” But Guthrie became pregnant with their first child at 42 and gave birth to their second when she was 45.
After undergoing several IVF treatments, actor and model Brigitte Nielsen proudly gave birth to her fifth child in the summer of 2018. She was 54 years young!
Helen Hunt was 40 when she gave birth to her daughter, Makena Lei in 2004 whom she shares with ex-partner Matthew Carnahan. In 2019, Hunt stepped back from the spotlight, in part to focus on motherhood. “It’s so funny when people ask: ‘What happened to you?’ Well, I had a baby – I made a whole person – and I co-wrote, directed and produced two entire films so it didn’t seem so quiet to me,” she told the Guardian. “There’s a difference between working hard and being famous.”
Meryl Streep has four children — Henry, Mamie, Grace and Louisa — and the youngest, Louisa, was born in 1991, days before Streep’s 42nd birthday.
Madonna, has four adopted children (David Banda, 16, Mercy James, 15, and twins Stella and Estere, 9) and two biological children, Lourdes, whom Madonna birthed at age 38 and Rocco at age 41.
Game of Thrones star Lena Headey welcomed her second child at age 41. “…Just fallen in unconditional heartbreaking divine love for the second time,” she tweeted upon daughter Teddy’s arrival in 2015. Headley and her ex-husband Peter Loughran share son Wylie, who was born in 2010.
Before the birth of her second child, Headley wrote in a Planusa.org guest blog, “My daughter will have freedom of choice. She will be free to dance, to sing, to be educated in the fields that spark her passion, to marry if she wants, to marry WHO she wants, to remain single, or to fall in love with another woman. She’ll be able to wear what she wants, put on lipstick, and read books that spark debate and expand her mind.” Spoken like a true queen!
If she could do it all over again, Naomi Watts, who gave birth to son Kai when she was 40 (following the birth of son Sasha when she was 39) might have started her family sooner. The actress once told More “I should have had more kids, started younger.” Watts shares her children with ex-partner Liev Schreiber.
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban welcomed daughter Sunday Rose in 2008 when Kidman was 41 (their second daughter Maragaret was born via surrogacy two years later). Kidman also shares two adopted children, Connor and Isabella, with ex-husband Tom Cruise.
In 2014, Alyssa Milano gave birth to her second child Elizabella, when she was 41. (She welcomed her first child, son Milo in 2011). “My daughter! My daughter! My daughter!” she tweeted after the birth. “Elizabella has made my heart swell and ache with love. Thank you for your sweet messages.”
Halle Berry gave birth to daughter Nahla at age 41 with ex-partner and model Gabriel Aubry, then son Maceo with actor Olivier Martinez, at age 47.
As Berry told Ellen DeGeneres, “I mean, I didn’t think it was possible to have another baby, and I thought for sure I had a need never to get married again. So, I’ve learned never to say never.”
Alanis Morissette and husband Soul Eye welcomed their third child in 2019, a son named Winter. The “Ironic” singer and her rapper beau also share son Ever, who was born in 2010, and daughter Onyx in 2016.
Susan Sarandon welcomed her sons Jack Henry Robbins at age 42 and Miles Guthrie at age 45. The Thelma & Louise star gave birth to her first child, daughter Eva when she was 39.
Tina Fey welcomed her second child, Penelope Athena, when she was 41 years old (an older sister to Fey’s daughter Alice). The actor and comedian said she “agonized” over whether to have a second child — but, obviously, she decided to go for it.
Rachel Zoe was 42 when she gave birth to her second child Kaius in 2013. Two years prior, she welcomed her first son Skyler. The fashion guru shares both children with husband Rodger Berman.
Mariah Carey welcomed twins Monroe and Moroccan, with ex-husband Nick Cannon, at age 41.
In 2014, Gwen Stefani and her ex-husband Gavin Rossdale welcomed their third baby, a boy named Apollo, when Stafani was 44. The former couple also share sons Kingston (born in 2006) and Zuma (born in 2008).
Actress Julianne Moore gave birth to her daughter (and mini-me) Liv in 2002 when she was 41. Moore’s first child, a son named Caleb, was born five years prior.
30 Rock star Jane Krakowski gave birth to her first child, Bennett Robert Godley, in 2011 when she was 42. According to People, after the birth Krakowski remarked, “Bennett is an amazing, healthy sweet boy and we are both just crazy in love with him.”
Salma Hayek gave birth to her first and only child, daughter Valentina, when she was 41. “I had my child so late in life, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to,” the actress told People. “It was such an important thing to me.”
Céline Dion didn’t just give birth to one baby at 42 years old; she gave birth to two. Dion and her late husband René Angélil welcomed twins Eddy and Nelson in 2010 after six treatments of in vitro fertilization.
At 42, Uma Thurman gave birth to her third child, Luna Thurman-Busson, with her ex- fiancé, Arpad Busson. Although she was already a seasoned mom — the Pulp Fiction star also shares kids Maya and Levon with her ex-husband Ethan Hawke — she told Yahoo of parenthood the third time around, “Everything feels new.”
In 2014, Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling welcomed their first daughter Esmeralda when Mendes was 40. Two years later, the Hitch actress gave birth to the couple’s second daughter Amada.
Funny lady Maya Rudolph welcomed her fourth child with husband Paul Thomas Anderson in 2013 when she was 41 years old.
In 1998, Christie Brinkley welcomed daughter Sailor at age 44 with husband Peter Cook. Sailor, also a model, became a little sister to the couple’s son Jack, who was born three years prior and daughter Alexa Ray Joel, born in 1985, whose father is Brinkley’s ex-husband Billy Joel.
In 2009, film star Molly Ringwald and her husband welcomed fraternal twins Adele and Roman when Ringwald was 41. Their daughter Mathilda was born in 2003.
Brooke Shields gave birth to daughter Grier in 2006 when the model was 40 (her first daughter Rowan was born in 2003). Although Shields did not use IVF for her second pregnancy, she did so to conceive her first child.
Jennifer Connelly welcomed her third baby, Agnes Lark, with husband Paul Bettany in May of 2011 when she was 40 years old, reportedly via water birth at home. The couple share son Stellan, born in 2003, and Connelly has a son named Kai, born in 1997, whom she shares with former partner David Dugan.
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