Remember a few years ago, when the rise in teenage pregnancies was being portrayed as an unstoppable blight on UK society? Well fear no more, because for the first time in 70 years there are now more new mums over 40 than there are under 20. Stop the press!
Despite the fact that teenage pregnancies have been dropping steadily since 1990 (the number is half what it was then), the figure for women over 40 and pregnant hasn’t been higher since the end of World War II. Coupled with the drop in women under 20 having babies, the rise in fertility treatment and the decision to put off having kids for longer can also be credited with the news.
As the Office for National Statistics shows, the average age for having kids is now 30.3 – and has been on the up since 1975. Another reason for this shift in fertility figures is the ever-increasing cost of raising kids – parents are simply waiting until they’re more financially secure before committing to this, uh…rather costly endeavour.
Reacting to the news, Prof Adam Balen, the chairman of the British Fertility Society, said: “We know that female fertility starts to decline gradually from the late 20s and more rapidly from the mid-30s onwards. While the risks should never be overplayed, men and women should be aware that reproductive outcomes are poorer in older women. As well as it potentially taking longer to get pregnant, later maternity can involve a greater risk of miscarriage, a more complicated labour, and medical intervention at the birth.”
But the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said: “The trend towards older motherhood is here to stay, and there are many understandable reasons why women today are waiting longer to start or expand their families than those in previous decades. Rather than bemoaning this development, we should seek to understand and support the decisions women make.”
What do you think of the news?