More than half of mothers giving birth are now aged 30 or over as women wait longer to have babies, new figures reveal
- Average age of mothers has been climbing for decades, official figures show
- Women waiting to establish their careers and find Mr Right before having babies
- Average age of dads has also been rising, the Office for National Statistics said
Over half of mothers who gave birth last year were aged 30 or over as women wait longer to have babies, figures out today reveal.
Some 55 per cent of mums going into labour in 2017 had celebrated the milestone birthday – up from 48 per cent a decade ago.
While the number of women aged 40 and over giving birth was higher than the number of teenagers going into labour – at 29,313 to 20,358. This continues a trend which was first established in 2013.
Experts at the Office for National Statistics said the numbers show the impact of women delaying starting a family.
The average age of a first-time mother was 28.8 years-old in 2017 – up from 27.5 a decade ago, but unchanged on the year before.
But the average age of mothers going into labour last year – regardless of what number child it was – was its highest ever at 30.5 years.
Over half of mothers who gave birth last year were aged 30 or over as women wait longer to have babies, figures out today reveal (pictured,graph of the average age of mothers in 2017)
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The ONS said: ‘A long-term rise has been recorded since 1975 in the average ages of mothers and fathers reflecting trends to delay childbearing to later ages.’
Many women are waiting to establish their careers before they choose to settle down and have babies.
While others spend longer searching for ‘Mr Right’ before they want to commit to having a child with their other half.
Last year, some 329 women aged 49 or over had a baby, while 1,876 women aged between 45 and 48 gave birth.
The average age of fathers has also gone up, with 69 per cent of dads aged 30 or over – up from 65 per cent a decade ago and 60 per cent in 1997.
Older mothers are the most likely to have a stillbirth at 6.1 per thousand – lower than the 7.7 a decade ago and the rate of 10.3 in 1997.
The ONS said: ‘The stillbirth rate was significantly higher in the most deprived areas (based on mothers’ usual residence) compared with the least deprived areas in England in 2017.
‘In England, the stillbirth rate in the most deprived areas was 5.5 per 1,000 total births, compared with 3.0 per 1,000 total births in the least deprived areas.’
The annual figures also reveal the most popular days to be born – with September the busiest month.
The ONS said: ‘A peak in births in late September shows that more babies are conceived in the weeks leading up to and the days after Christmas than at any other time of the year.
‘Eight of the top ten dates of birth were towards the end of September, with 26 September being the most popular over the period 1995 to 2017.’
The least popular date of birth from 1995 to 2017 was Boxing Day, followed by Christmas Day, with, on average, 1,357 and 1,425 live births respectively.
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