Lifestyle Health

Monday 24 July 2017

Rise in mothers in 40s as women delay childbearing

The British health service has seen a boom in older mothers with official figures showing a 15pc rise in births to women in their 40s over the last five years.

It is thought women delaying motherhood for their careers and waiting to find the right partner is behind the rise, along with a continued increase in IVF treatments among older women.

The 15.6pc rise in births to women in their 40s since 2006/7 was the biggest in any age group, the figures show.

There were 25,600 women aged between 40 and 49 who gave birth last year, up from 22,200 five years ago.

Increases were seen in all age groups except in teenagers where there was a fall of a fifth over five years to 33,600 deliveries in 2011/12.

Overall the baby boom appears to be continuing with a 6.3pc increase in the total number of births since 2006/7 to reach 669,000 in England. The rise appears to be slowing though with only a 0.1pc rise in the last year.

The rise in births, particularly to older women has led to calls for more midwives to cope with the extra workload and more complicated deliveries that are more common among women in their 40s.

The figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre do not include home births.

The data shows that there are more teenage mothers in the North East and North West while there are more older mothers in London.

One in twenty of all births in London were to women in their 40s.

There has been a slight increase in the caesarean section rate to reach 25pc overall in 2011/12.

One in three mothers aged over 35 had a c-section last year compared to one in four women aged between 25 and 34 and one in six aged under 25.

The Royal College of Midwives called for more trained midwives to cope with the rise.

The College pointed out that births to older mothers have increased by more than three quarters in the decade up to 2011.

By Rebecca Smith

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