Over 40 without a child? Cheer up as women aged 45 and over having record number of births
London, Dec. 7, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Are you age 40 and above, bothered that you may never have a child of your own? Cheer up because a new statistic shows that all hope may not be lost. Why? Births to women aged 45 or above are at their highest level since records began eighty years ago, according to new figure.
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. 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, according to the Office for National Statistics in UK
Experts believed the figures reflected modern society with several reasons why women might be having children later in life, including getting married or entering into serious relationships when older, focusing more on their careers and the option of IVF. However, the longer women wait to have children, the greater the risk of complication.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recently highlighted that there are greater health risks associated with later pregnancy.
Narendra Pisal, consultant gynaecologist at London Gynaecology, said: “Pregnancy in older age is associated with higher risk of miscarriage. This is possibly because of higher chance of chromosomal problems in embryo as the eggs get older.
“There is also a higher chance of having a baby with Down’s syndrome. At 35, this is 1 in 250 and increases to 1 in 100 by 40 years of age. But by 45, risk of miscarriage is nearly 50 per cent and chance of Down’s syndrome baby is greater that 2 per cent.”
Meanwhile, babies born by Caesarean section are no more likely to become obese in later life than those born naturally, a study suggests. Instead, researchers say a child’s risk of obesity depends on the mother’s pre-pregnancy weight along with other factors such as genetics and environment.
The team from Sweden believe their findings, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, debunk the notion that being born by the surgical procedure increases risk of obesity in later life.
Gill Walton, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said the statistics highlights “the sustained and unrelenting pressures on our midwives, maternity support workers and maternity services”.
She said: “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.
“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. The Government’s own policy changes – which we support – to tackle issues such as the entrenched inequalities in health particularly in BAME communities will also need additional investment.
“I repeat the call in our recently published election manifesto for a root and branch review of maternity services funding and resources. It is needed and it is long overdue. The government have lofty ambitions which we are behind, but they need to ensure the service has what it needs to achieve them.”