22/10/2010 14:22 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

One In Five Babies Born To 'Middle Aged' Mums

One in five new mums in the UK is aged 35 or over, new figures have revealed.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the proportion of babies with mothers in their late 30s and older has multiplied by one-third in ten years, as more women delay having families.

Dads are now increasingly likely to be close to middle age when they start a family, too.

The new figures are raising more questions about the impact on the health and upbringing of children. Medical experts say there are greater risks for mothers and babies when mothers are over 35, and older parents also face a greater chance of ill health or disability while their children are still young.Numbers of older mums have been rapidly increasing in recent years for a number of reasons.

Firstly, women are now more likely to pursue careers or further education than marry young and start a family. But the rise is also due to the fact that many couples now reach their thirties weighed down by high mortgages, debt and living costs, making the expense of having children too much of a burden.

The ONS figures show that 141,246 babies were born to mums over 35 last year. This is one fifth of overall births, which totalled 706,248 in England and Wales. Of these, nearly 1,500 mothers were over 45, and 89 to women over the age of 50.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, researcher Patricia Morgan said: 'What is happening is that sharp-elbowed middle class women are having fewer children or none atall.

'People are under economic pressure, they have heavy costs and debts, they delay having children and their biological clocks tick on.'

See also: One in five teenagers become pregnant by age 13

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