New figures on mothers over forty
The number of women becoming pregnant at 40 and over has more than doubled in the past two decades. This article appeared in the Sunday Express and guess who was interviewed for it?
Baby boom for older mothers
THE NUMBER of women becoming pregnant at 40 and over has more than doubled in the past two decades, new figures reveal.
Teenage pregnancies dropped by a quarter over the same period, the lowest number of conceptions in this age group since 1969. Abortions among women of 40-plus have risen.
Experts say the trend reflects growing numbers delaying motherhood and pursuing further education and careers.
They also believe there has been increased sexual activity among older women and higher numbers of singles and divorcees, who are far more likely than previous generations to have casual sex or short-term relationships.
The head of Britain’s biggest abortion provider explained women in their 40s were inclined to take chances with contraception, only to be shocked when they became pregnant.
Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said: “I think women are generally remaining sexually active for longer, and women in their 40s increasingly see themselves as sexual players, whether or not they are in relationships, in a way that they didn’t even a decade ago.”
Figures revealed in the magazine Reproductive Review, and drawn from government statistics, show that in 1990 the estimated number of pregnancies among women aged 40 and over in England and Wales was 12,032. In 2011 the figure had risen to 28,747.
By contrast the number of under-18s becoming pregnant dropped from 40,100 in 1990 to 31,000 in 2011. In total, 8,327 women of 40 and over terminated pregnancies last year, including more than 660 women over 45 and 23 aged 50-plus.
Figures include women who tried to get pregnant in their 40s but opted for termination when screening disclosed a high chance of abnormalities.
However, most abortions among older women were before 12 weeks, when the first ante-natal screening takes place.
Author and former BBC journalist Claudia Spahr, 44, now pregnant with her third child, believes later motherhood is beneficial.
Mrs Spahr, from Yorkshire, who has written Right Time Baby on older motherhood, said: “My early 30s were dominated by high-powered TV work. I had no time for a family and I had boyfriends but did not want to commit.
“I always wanted children, and had a fear of not being able to conceive. I met my husband in India in 2006 which is when I could start a family.”
Mrs Spahr, who now lives in Spain, added: “If I had had my family at a younger age I wouldn’t have been able to do all the things I did. I don’t feel I have missed out. I don’t have a need to go to parties or establish a career. I have done that. I can focus on my children.”