Older mums on the rise

The number of women over 40 having babies in NHS hospitals has risen by almost 16% in the past five years, according to a report by the NHS Information Centre.

The NHS Maternity Statistics, England: 2011-12 shows that hospital deliveries for mothers aged 13 to 19 have fallen by just over a fifth in five years while for all other age groups the figure has risen, with the biggest percentage rise among those aged 40 to 49 at 15.6 per cent, up from 22,200 to 25,600.

Women aged 30 to 34 accounted for the greatest percentage of deliveries in both 2011/12 (28.8 per cent, or 190,900) and 2006/07 (28.0 per cent, or 175,700).

The highest number of young mothers as a proportion of the population was in the North East and North West and there were more older mothers in London. One in twenty of all deliveries (5.1 per cent) in London were to mothers aged 40 to 49 – the highest percentage of any region.

The figures also show a slight in crease in caesarean births, with mothers over 35 more likely to have them.

The highest overall caesarean rate was in London at 28.5 per cent and the lowest was in Yorkshire and the Humber at 22.6 per cent.

The centre’s chief executive Tim Straughan said: “While the number of hospital deliveries in England has broadly risen – albeit relatively slowly – in recent years, almost 10,000 fewer hospital deliveries last year were to teen mums compared to five years previously.

“This drop in hospital teen deliveries has occurred in all regions of the country, although the North East still has the highest rate of deliveries among 13 to 19-year-olds according to its population size. In contrast, Londoners have the lowest rate for teen mums, but the highest rate for older mothers.”

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