'Giving birth after 40 to my fourth child, I knew from experience that it would all work out'
Siobhan Butler (42), from Dublin, runs a paediatric first-aid course with her husband Holger (40) and has four children, Emily (9), Hannah (7), Cian (5) and Fionn (2). She says:
"I had my first child at 32 and my last at 40 and I can honestly say the last one was an easier experience.
"When my husband and I started trying for children, I was 32. I'd already done a lot of travelling and had lived abroad, so I felt I was ready to start a family.
"I was quite anxious with my first but by the fourth, I'd been through it before and wasn't as stressed. I had no problems conceiving and the pregnancy was no different to the others -- except that with three small children to run around after, I was probably a bit less energetic!
"I had read a lot about the increased risks associated with pregnancies over the age of 40, and I suppose that played on my mind a bit, but I kept telling myself that it was just a case of mind over matter.
"As it turned out, there were no complications. I felt comfortable and confident enough to give birth naturally, whereas with my first I had had an epidural, and I wasn't as panicked by the sleepless nights because I knew from experience that it would all work out.
"I think sometimes people can be a bit precious about trying to create a perfect time to be pregnant. But I wouldn't have done it any other way."