Number of babies born to women over 50 doubles in four years in UK

Number of babies born to women over 50 doubles in four years in UK

 

The number of babies born to women over the age of 50 has more than doubled in four years, it is reported. There were 154 babies born to mothers in their 50s in 2012, a rise of a third in a year, the Daily Mail said. That figure was more than double the 69 births to over-50s in 2008, and around three-and-a-half times the 44 babies born to the over-50s in 2000. The steep increase in the number of older mothers was revealed by health ministers in response to a parliamentary question, the Mail said on Monday.

 

Health experts warned that having a baby when you are older increases the risk of complications, with a greater chance of miscarriage and the development of genetic abnormalities in the child. It also placed extra pressure on the NHS because of the need for increased care for older mothers and their children.

 

The number of women over 40 having children has risen by 13% – from 26,419 in 2008 to 29,994 in 2012 – with one in 25 births being to women over 40. About 20% of babies are born to mothers of 35 and over, the highest proportion since 1938, while the numbers of women having children when they are under 25 has plummeted, down to 23% in 2012 from around 50% in the early 1970s.

 

Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, told the newspaper that the increasing number of older women having babies tended to have more complications than younger women. "This is more pronounced as women have babies at increasingly greater ages," she said. "Older mothers are more likely to have increased rates of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies and genetic problems in the child and other issues such high blood pressure, diabetes and problems with the placenta." She warned that more midwives were needed to cope with the higher number of older women having children.

 

Advances in fertility treatment have allowed women to have children later in life.

 

Josephine Quintavalle, from Comment on Reproductive Ethics, told the Mail that the sharp rise in women over 50 giving birth was not something that would occur naturally, as there was no way that such a significant change in natural menopause could take place in the last five years.

 

By The Guardian,

 

 Monday the 31st of March 2014

 

View this article