Intended for healthcare professionals


Specialists recommend counselling women on risks of childbirth after 35

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 18 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2486
  1. Rebecca Coombes
  1. 1BMJ

    Doctors should be prepared to counsel women about the risks of delaying childbirth until after the age of 35, recommend leading obstetricians, responding to a study that shows that the average age at childbirth is continuing to increase. A study group convened by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists found that the average age at childbirth is rising throughout Europe, with no sign of the trend changing.

    Stijn Hooren, a policy analyst at the non-profit think tank RAND and a coauthor of the study, looked at population trends in 21st century. “Over the past decade, the mean age of motherhood [at time of first child] in Europe has increased by nearly 50 days per year, on average. This would imply that, by 2050, mothers would be, on average, around six years older.”

    In the United Kingdom, the proportion of maternities in women aged 35 years or more has increased from 8% in 1985 to 19% in 2005 and is continuing to rise, the report found.

    Anna Kenyon, lecturer in obstetrics at University College London, pointed to the many studies that …

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