For the first time in nearly 70 years, there are now more new mothers in their 40s than those in their teens. Data from The Office for National Statistics recorded 697,852 live births in 2015 and found that there were 15.2 births per 1,000 women aged over 40, compared with just 14.5 per 1,000 women in their teens.
These interesting new stats highlight two key trends in terms of when women are choosing to have families.
Firstly, the decline in teenage pregnancy (rates of which have halved since 1990), and secondly, the steep increase in pregnancies amongst older women. The average age of having a child is now 30.3 – a figure that has been steadily increasing since 1975.
The report suggested a number of reasons behind the shift. The increase in educational opportunities coupled with financial factors has seen many women choosing to delay motherhood, whereas the advances in fertility treatment have given women more freedom start a family at an older age.
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.”
We couldn’t agree more.