More women over 40s in the United Kingdom are having babies compared to their under 20s counterparts. Based on the numbers from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the increased fertility rates among women aged 40 and above is the first since 1947.
In 2015, this group of older women had the highest fertility rates surge of 3.4 percent. On the other hand, women under 20s had the highest fertility rates decrease at 7.1 percent. And this reduction in the younger age group has been spiraling down since 1999.
The report found that in a majority of developed countries, more women have been delaying having a child. These deferred plans result in increased fertility rates among the older women group. The trend has also affected the mothers' average age, which reached 30.3 years in 2015 since it started rising in 1975.
The ONS data showed that the fertility rates across all age groups under 25 years of age have dropped, but it has increased in all age groups 30 and above. The study found that women between the ages of 30 and 34 had the highest fertility among all the age groups. This older age group has 111 births for every 1,000 women.
Increased participation of women in the workplace and higher education are two of the contributing factors behind the trend. There are also the increasing costs of childbearing, focusing more on career, housing factors and the uncertainties of the labor market.
"So it might be that women are realistically assessing that having a child younger is more likely to have a detrimental impact on their experiences at work and so delaying it for those reasons," said Jemima Olchawski, equality group Fawcett Society's head of policy.
British Fertility Society's Chairman, Professor Adam Balen stressed that fertility rates in women start its gradual decline from the late 20s, while rapid decline begins from mid-30s.
"While the risks should never be overplayed, men and women should be aware that reproductive outcomes are poorer in older women," said Balen.
Delayed maternity also carries other risks such as greater miscarriage risk, complicated labor and longer time to get pregnant, to name a few.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service recognized that the older motherhood trend is here to stay as well as the many reasonable factors that lead many women to delay childbearing. The group advised that instead of complaining about this new development, people should pursue to understand and offer support for the maternity reasons women make.
These could be in the form of improved maternity rights and affordable childcare services that will make childbearing easier for many women, enabling them to start families earlier, or as they wish. The agency also advised the need to ensure that there are "high quality" reproductive health care services capable of meeting the women's needs regardless of which age they decide to start a family.