The age you’re most fertile is probably a lot older than you thought

We wouldn't have guessed this.

Worried about holding off on getting pregnant? Well don’t be as, for the first time since 1947, the birth rate of women aged 40 and over has surpassed that of women aged 20 and under.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the older age category had the biggest percentage increase in fertility rates in 2015 after rising 3.4%.

As a result, the fertility rate amongst forty-somethings has more than trebled since 1981, reaching its highest point in almost 70 years.

Meanwhile, the category of women aged under-20 had the largest percentage decrease, falling 7.1% as the number of teenage pregnancies continued to decline.

So why the upwards age trend?

According to the report: ‘In most developed countries, women have been increasingly delaying childbearing to later in life, which has resulted in rising fertility rates among older women. This may be due to a number of factors such as increased female participation in higher education and the labour force, the increasing importance of a career, the rising costs of childbearing, labour market uncertainty and housing factors.

‘Rising fertility rates at older ages have affected the average age of mothers, which has been increasing since 1975, reaching 30.3 years in 2015.’

Despite this increase in older mothers, it is still women aged 30-34 who have the highest fertility rate of any group, notching up 111 births per 1000 women.

So while the chances of getting pregnant later are improving, you still have a better chance of conceiving under the age of 35.

According to the NHS: ‘The age at which women first become mothers in the UK is continuing to rise, but as women get older the number and quality of egg cells that are produced by the ovaries declines. [As a result] both mothers and babies face an increased risk of pregnancy-related complications and health problems.’

The message is simple: you’re better off getting pregnant before the age of 35 but if it doesn’t happen, don’t sweat it. Your chances of getting pregnant in your 40s is now better than ever.

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