In numbers: The increasing age of Scotish mothers

Scottish mothers are having babies later in life  than ever before.

Scottish mothers are having babies later in life than ever before.

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SCOTTISH women continue to have children later in life, but how much has changed in the last 40 years?

In 2014 half of Scottish mothers were over the age of 30 when they gave birth.

Age-specific Birth rates, per 1,000 female population, Scotland, 2014 Picture: National Records Scotland

Age-specific Birth rates, per 1,000 female population, Scotland, 2014 Picture: National Records Scotland

According to data from the Information Services Division of the Scottish Government there has been a steady increase in births to mothers over 30 years of age since 1975 and a decrease to mothers in younger age categories.

There are a multitude of reasons that have contributed to this trend perhaps the most important of these are the greater opportunities availiable to women who wish to have a career. The days where women were expected by society to stay at home and raise the children are long past, now many Scottish women choose to hold off having children in favour of progressing in the workplace.

Speaking to the Scotsman in 2013, Belinda Phipps, then chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, said: “You can’t always have babies to order. If you want to have a partner and a secure place to live you don’t necessarily get that all done by the time you are 32. The right man doesn’t always just come along.”

Ms Phipps believed that many women were aware of reduced fertility rates after they turned 35 but chose to postpone pregnancy anyway, adding: “If you are well and look after yourself, so long as you’re fertile, it really makes no difference,”

So how much has changed in 40 years?

Data from National Records Scotland highlights the rising age of Scots mothers from 1973 where the average age was 26-years-old to 2014 where we can now see that women in Scotland now give birth on average aged 30.1 .

The ISD found significant variances between women from the most deprived areas of Scotland and other sections of society. In 2012/13 Women from the poorest areas of Scotland had their first child on average at 20-years-old, 10 years less than the national average.

The ISD highlighted the increased medical consequences of having children later in life and pointed to the fact that caesarean rates have risen from 4.7% of all births to 12% of all births in 2012- 2013.

Despite the difficulties that can arise when trying to get pregnant at a later age the miscarriage rate across Scotland has continued to fall from 7,546 in 1997/98 to 4,815 in 2012/13.

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