The number of Irish women over 40 having babies has increased by more than 150% in the past four decades, new figures show.
n The increase in assisted procreation among women in their forties, as well as career and cost of living considerations, are believed to be factors in this increase.
New figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CSO) show that the incidence of Irish mothers over 40 jumped 159% in absolute terms between 1990 and 2020, while the number of teenage mothers fell 69 pc over the same period.
Statistics show that women over 40 accounted for 3.3% of births in 1990, up from 8.4% of births last year.
During the same period, 1.4%, or 830 young mothers under the age of 20, gave birth in Ireland in 2020, compared with 2,668 teenage mothers, or just over 5%, in 1990.
Michael Turner, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UCD Center for Human Reproduction at the Coombe in Dublin, sees a changing landscape in obstetrics.
“There are strong trends showing that women in Ireland are postponing childbirth into their 30s and 40s, especially since the 2008 recession,” said Prof Turner.
“This is partly because they stay in higher education longer and want to advance their careers before having children.”
However, he said studies have shown that there are increased risks of giving birth later in life.
“The downside is that postponing childbirth after age 35 increases the risk of late pregnancy loss and, in particular, increases the risk of early pregnancy loss and infertility,” he said.
In Ireland last year, just under two-thirds of mothers gave birth in their 30s – with a slightly higher number in their early 30s compared to those in their late 30s – while women in their 20s made up just under a quarter of new mothers.
Women between 30 and 34 made up the largest percentage of mothers last year, with 19,239 mothers in that age group, or 34 percent of the total number.
In 1990, women in their late twenties gave birth in greater numbers, but in 2000 and 2010, women in their thirties made up the highest number..
New CSO figures show number of women with babies in their late 20s almost halved – from 17,132 mothers between 25 and 29 years old in 1990 to 9,396 mothers of the same age group in 2020.
At the same time, the number of mothers between 40 and 44 is steadily increasing every year.
A recent study of over 400,000 Norwegian women found that the risk of miscarriage was lowest in women aged 25-29 at 10%, and increased rapidly after age 30, reaching 53% in women aged 25-29. 45 years and over.
In Ireland, a study of pregnancies in one of the country’s largest maternity hospitals recently looked at how trends in maternity services have changed over six decades.
The study examined the annual clinical reports of Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital over a 60-year period from 1960 to 2020.
The Dublin Hospital Childbirth article revealed dramatic changes in maternity services during the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st century. Since the 1960s, the hospital’s total number of births per year has increased from 3,050 per year to 8,362 births.
Doctors have found that teenage pregnancies are less common, dropping from 4.7% of pregnancies to 2% since the 1960s, while multiple pregnancies during the same period have fallen from 1.8% to 4%. , 1%.
The number of women over 40 booking in the Coombe nearly tripled from 2.6 to 6.4, while the number with more than five viable pregnancies, they fell from just over 10% to 1.3% during the same period.
Regarding arterial hypertension disorders, eclampsia is less common, with a slight decrease in the rate of pre-eclampsia, while induction of labor has increased significantly from 8.8 pc to 32 pc.
The rate of caesarean section increased sharply from 5.9% to 29.7%, while vaginal deliveries after caesarean section increased from 90% to 28%.