The Office of National Statistics figures show an increase in the number of births to older women in the UK during 2016.
The number of women aged 35-39 increased by 3.8% – the highest level recorded since records began in 1938, with the number of women giving birth over 40 years old also increasing by 1.7%.
There have been over 129,000 births per year to women within these age groups in the last 13 years. This is the first time this has happened since the 1940s.
Figures indicate that there are now more than twice the number of births in this age group in comparison to figures recorded in 1999.
Commenting on the latest birth rate statistics, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, Cathy Warwick, said: “The Government should be acting to end this shortage [of midwives] yet its actual actions are making it likely to persist. They have removed bursaries for student midwives and their pay policy has left many midwives financially worse off by many thousands of pounds.
“Mothers in these older age groups are more likely to have complications in pregnancy and will often need more support from midwives and maternity services. This needs resources and it needs the staff to provide that care.
“Added to this are rising levels of complications in pregnancy due to issues such as obesity.”
In other age groups, there was a decline in the number of births to women aged under 20 up to the age of 29 in 2016 in comparison to figures recorded in 2015.
The report also shows the number of births in 2016 gradually increased in women aged 30 and over.
The latest figures on births in the UK can be found on The Office of National Statistics here.
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