Number of women having babies in their forties trebles in two decades

New figures have revealed more women are giving birth later in life

The number of women giving birth in their 40s has trebled in the past twenty years according to new figures.

Various factors, including getting on the housing ladder and ensuring financial stability, are believed to be behind the trend for delaying childbirth.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), last year 29,350 women aged 40 or over had a baby, compared with just 9,835 in 1991.

There were more older mothers last year too, with the number of women aged 35 to 39 who gave birth in 2011 over three per cent higher than in 2010.

The figures also suggest that almost half of children are born to unmarried parents.

In 2011, 47.2 per cent of the 723,913 babies born in England and Wales were born to parents who were not married or in a civil partnership, the ONS said.

Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, says: ‘There are lots of different reasons why parents are getting older – some want to live a bit before having their career wings clipped by motherhood, others are just saving up to be able to afford it.’

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