Number of pregnant women in 40s on the increase
The number of middle-aged women getting pregnant has hit record figures.
Pregnancies amongst women in their forties are growing faster than any other age group, after fertility treatment has made it easier for older women to have a family.
The latest figures reveal that in 2006 there were 25,400 pregnancies in women over 40 – the highest yet.
However, doctors have warned that having children later in life increases the risks during pregnancy and birth and older mothers are more likely to develop diabetes and high blood pressure.
Babies born to older mothers are also at a greater risk of having Down’s syndrome or being stillborn. There is even an implication that daughters’ fertility could also be affected.
The new figures from the Office for National Statistics shows that the pregnancy rate across all age groups has increased by 3% but amongst women over 40, pregnancies have risen by 6% between 2005 and 2006.
The number of women in their late 30s getting pregnant is also on the rise with pregnancies up from 110,000 in 2005 to 115,000 in 2006.
Julie Bentley, the chief executive of the FPA, formerly the Family Planning Association, said: ‘Every woman has to make her own decision about the right time to have a baby.
‘As long as women are aware that their fertility naturally declines over the age of 35, and that it will probably take a bit longer to get pregnant, late motherhood is a valid choice.
She added: ‘These figures illustrate that the traditional approach of ‘get married young and have children’ isn’t the reality for many British women.’