'Late' mothers

Women are waiting longer before having children. In recent years an increasing number of women around 30 became mothers for the first time. And there is also an increase among women in their late thirties and early forties.

Last year more than 4,000 women over 40 had a child, three times as many as in 1980. Among women in the 35 to 39 age bracket the increase was even more substantial: from nearly 8,000 in 1980 to 32,000 in 2000.

Because the number of women in these age groups has also increased since 1980 the development is also shown per thousand women of each age group. Here to there is a visible increase.

Births by older mothers, per 1000 women

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Motherhood at these ages increasingly concerns first born babies. Of the 8,000 babies in 1980 born to women in the 35-39 age bracket over 1000 were the first child. In 2000 over 8,000 out of the 32,000 babies born to women aged between 35 and 39 were first children.

Put in percentages: when a woman aged between 35 and 39 gave birth to a child in 1980, this child was her first in 15% of the cases. In 2000 the percentage had increased to 26%.

Among women aged between 40 and 44 the percentage nearly doubled in this 20-year period: from 12% in 1980 to 23% last year.

This means that almost a quarter of the babies of 'late' mothers is their firstborn.

First children among the total number of births by older mothers

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Jan Latten