Rise in mothers age 40+ as women delay childbearing

by Natasha Wynarczyk

Mother holding a baby REX

Official NHS figures have shown a 'boom' in women over 40 giving birth over the past five years.

Last year 25,600 women aged 40+ gave birth, up from 22,200 five years ago. This is a rise of 15 per cent.

It is believed this shows women are delaying motherhood in order to focus on their careers and finding the right partner, as well as an increase in IVF treatments among older women.

There has also been a general rise in births, except among teenagers, which has led to calls for more midwives to be trained in order to cope with the extra workload. Deliveries among women aged 40+ are also more complicated.

Louise Silverton, the RCM’s director for midwifery, said: 'This data also shows that the age profile of pregnant women is getting older.

'The baby boom, combined with the increasing age of mothers, means greater demands on maternity services, as pregnancies for older women can give rise to increased complications and a need for medical interventions, which demands more of midwives and others in the maternity team.

'As we are in the midst of a baby boom, these factors together with the increasing social complexity of care needs for all mothers, have a dramatic effect on the workload heaped on already overstretched midwives.'

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