More women than ever having children over the age of 45

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Women are having children later in life. [Photo: Getty]

More women aged 45 or above are having children than ever recorded before.

This is according to new statistics published today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The body has recorded birth statistics for the past 80 years.

The number of women aged 45 and over having live births in 2018 was 2,366 – up slightly from the previous year’s figure, which was 2,357.

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The number of women having babies between 35 to 39 has dropped slightly, from 125,114 to 124,567, while the figure for those having children between the ages of 40 to 44 has also decreased marginally, from 26,959 to 26,499.

This statistic is reflective of changing modern day society.

There are a number of reasons why women might be having children later in life, including getting married or entering into serious relationships when older, focussing more on their careers and the option of IVF.

However, the longer you wait to have children, the greater the risk of complication.

In a statement, Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said this statistic highlights the “sustained and unrelenting pressures” on midwives and maternity services.

She’s called on the government to acknowledge the RCM’s “Midwive’s Manifesto” in their policies.

“Our maternity services need the resources to be able to meet this growing demand and to ensure women, babies and their families get the safest and best possible care,” she says.

“England is short of around 2,500 midwives yet our maternity services gained just 33 new midwives in the past year.

“This will do little to help this situation.”

Geriatric pregnancy

Women who have children aged 35 and over are considered to be having a “geriatric pregnancy”.

While being an older mother certainly isn’t uncommon, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recently highlighted that there are greater health risks associated with later pregnancy.

“Pregnancy in older age is associated with higher risk of miscarriage,” Mr Narendra Pisal, Consultant Gynaecologist at London Gynaecology tells Yahoo UK.

“This is possibly because of higher chance of chromosomal problems in embryo as the eggs get older.”

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“There is also a higher chance of having a baby with Down’s syndrome,” he continues.

“At 35, this is 1 in 250 and increases to 1 in 100 by 40 years of age.

“By 45, risk of miscarriage is nearly 50% and chance of Down’s syndrome baby is greater that 2%.

“A Noninvasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) is a blood test for mother to look at baby’s chromosomes and can be done from 10 weeks of gestation.”