In 2009 the number of babies born to women aged at least 40 years was 26,976, compared to 14,252 in 1999, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for England and Wales reveals. In 2009 114,288 aged 35 to 39 gave birth, compared to 81,281 in 1999. The ONS also revealed that overall there was a 0.3% drop in the total number of births between 1999 and 2009.
The typical age for first-time mothers in 2009 was 29.4, compared to 28.4 in 1999.
Between 2008 and 2009 the birth rate for females aged less than 35 years fell. In 2008 there were 26 births per 1,000 women under 20, compared to 25.4 births per 1,000 women of the same age in 2009.
The ONS also revealed the following statistics:
- Rates for females aged 20 to 24 years dropped by 1.6% from 2008 to 2009
- Rates for females aged 25 to 29 dropped by 1.4% from 2008 to 2009
- Rates for females aged 35 to 39 rose by 1.2% from 2008 to 2009
- Rates for females aged 40 to 44 rose by 2.4% from 2008 to 2009
- In 2009 women had an average of 1.95 children each
- In 2008 women had an average of 1.97 children each
- 24.7% of births were to mothers born outside Great Britain 2009
- 24.1% of births were to mothers born outside Great Britain 2008
- 14.3% of births were to mothers born outside Great Britain 1999
News is no excuse to drop number of midwivesLouise Silverton, Deputy General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said:
These figures are a tiny morsel of good news for midwives who have been working harder and harder as midwife numbers fall increasingly behind the rising birthrate.
However, midwife numbers have been playing catch-up for many years and these figures need to be viewed against the massive birthrate rise of the previous decade. The birthrate has gone up by 19% since 2001 yet the number of midwives has risen by only 11% over the same period. The figures also mask the fact that an increasing number of births are becoming more complicated, requiring more of midwives' time.
This very small decrease in the birthrate should not be used as an excuse to stop or reduce the promised rise in the number of midwives. Even with this fall there are still not enough midwives to provide the quality of service for women and babies that we want to see.
In those regions where births have increased - such as London - we will be looking for these and all regions to ensure that they invest in maternity services to meet the demands they are facing.
We will also be pressing the new government on the need to invest in midwives and maternity services, as both of the coalition partners promised to do before the election.
Sources: Royal College of Midwives, BBC, ONS
Written by Christian Nordqvist