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Number of mums over 40 trebles

Over the past two decades, the number of mums aged 40 and up has tripled

Posted: 26 May 2010
by Kimberley Smith
The ranks of older mums have doubled in 10 years

The number of mums having babies in their 40s has doubled since 1997 and trebled in the last 20 years, new figures show. Over 26,000 older women gave birth last year, compared to 13,000 in 1997. Of those 26,000 babies, more than 1,000 were born to mums over the age of 45.

The number of older mums has risen as more well-educated women choose to pursue careers in their 20s and 30s. They feel, with medical advances, they can wait until their 40s to start a family.

The cost of children and the rising cost of living has also forced women to remain in work rather than start a family.

“There is less opportunity for women in their 20s and 30s to have families because of the pressure on households for couples both to work,” said Jill Kirby, from the centre right think-tank Centre for Policy Studies.

Labour’s incentives of tax breaks and subsidised childcare appear not to have reversed this trend toward older mums and there will be many mums bringing up teenagers when they’re pensioners.

When is the best time to have a baby and did you wait? Let us know below. If you’re trying to decide the right time, read our guide to trying to conceive before and after 30.

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