For First Time Ever, More Women Over 40 Giving Birth Than Teenagers

14/08/2014 16:58 | Updated 20 May 2015

Older mother and baby

For the first time since records began, more women over 40 are becoming pregnant than girls under 18.

New conception figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed there were 28,714 pregnancies among women over 40 in England and Wales in 2012, compared to 27,834 for girls under 18.

The way the ONS compiles these figures is to bring together records of birth registrations collected under the Births and Deaths Registration Act (1953) and abortion notifications received under the Abortion Act (197). The statistics do not include conceptions resulting in miscarriages or illegal abortions.

Perhaps not surprisingly, unlike teenagers, the majority of older women who conceive have planned to become pregnant.

Statistics also revealed that only 28 per cent of women over 40 terminated a pregnancy by abortion, compared to almost half, 49 per cent, of under-18s.

Pregnancy rates among over 40s are well over double those of 1990.

The ONS report said: "Reasons for an increased number of women conceiving at ages 30 and above included increased participation in higher education; increased female participation in the labour force; the increasing importance of a career; the rising opportunity costs of childbearing; labour market uncertainty, housing factors and the instability of partnerships."

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