Mothers Over 40 in Record Baby Boom: Number of Women Who Give Birth in Their Fifth Decade or Later Trebles
This article is from 2010. I could have sworn I already did a blog post on this, but I looked around my blog a little bit and don’t see it.
By Steve Doughty for the Daily Mail
A baby boom among older women has trebled the number giving birth after their 40th birthday.
Almost 27,000 babies were born to mothers over 40 last year, figures revealed yesterday.
The unprecedented level is nearly three times the total of 20 years ago and up by 50 per cent over the past decade.
Even during the post-war childbirth peak in the Sixties there were fewer children born to women in their fifth decade and beyond.
Britain now has one of the highest birth rates for older women in the world, with 3.8 per cent of all babies born to mothers over 40. Only Italy has a higher level in Europe.
But the trend has led medical experts to warn that older women face greater risks of miscarriages and complications – with calls for the NHS to spend more on specialised services for those expecting children as they approach middle age.
More and more Britons are delaying motherhood following the rise in women enjoying well-paid careers, as well as the growing need for both partners in a couple to have an income.
An increasing number of live-in relationships also means many young women are uncertain they have the stability they need to raise a child.
The waiting and uncertainty has also left a record number of women childless – latest estimates say that one in five is likely to go through life without having children.
Office for National Statistics figures yesterday revealed there were 26,976 babies born to mothers of 40 and over last year, compared with 9,336 in 1989. And 12.9 in every 1,000 women of 40 and over in England and Wales had a child in 2009, up from 8.1 in every 1,000 ten years earlier.
Because the ONS does not give a detailed breakdown of the figures, many mothers could be over 45, 50 or even older.
At the same time the number of children born to mothers in their 30s has dropped – almost certainly as a result of the impact of recession on incomes.
Numbers of children born to women aged between 35 and 39 fell for the first time in a decade, and babies for women aged 30 to 34 were down for the first time in five years.
The trend means Britain has the second highest birth rate among older women in Europe, behind Italy. That country’s prosperous northern cities, education and career opportunities are leading women to delay motherhood in the same way as in Britain, while in poorer rural areas a tradition of women who stay at home has also encouraged pregnancies later in life.
In America, births to mothers over 40 are running higher than at any time since the Sixties – but British over-40s are still a third more likely to have a child.
The average age of a new mother in the UK is now 29.4 years, a year older than the average in 1999.
Among married mothers, the typical age of childbirth is even older, and married mothers on average have their first child at 31.