Older mothers on the rise as over40s become the only group with

first_imgOver-40s are the only age group with a growing pregnancy rate for the first time ever, new figures show. The Office for National Statistics said younger women were putting off having children, with many choosing to prioritise their careers. There were 28,744 conceptions to women in their 40s in 2016, a rise from just 12,032 in 1990. While every other group saw pregnancy levels fall, there was a rise in conceptions among over-40s from 2015 to 2016. The conception rate per 1,000 women has grown from 15.1 in 2015 to 15.4 in 2016, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show. Among all younger women conception rates dropped, with the biggest drops seen in the youngest age groups. Teen pregnancies have fallen by more than half in just under 30 years, with just 56,111 girls under 20 getting pregnant in 2016, compared to 113,330 in 1990.Fewer women in their early twenties are getting pregnant than at any point since the year 2000, while among women in their late twenties and thirties conception rates have dropped for the first time in a decade.  Nicola Haines, of the organisation’s vital statistics outputs branch, said: “Conception rates in England and Wales, for women aged under 18, declined by 8 per cent in 2015. Similar decreases were recorded for both maternities and abortions in this age group. “Under 18 conception rates have declined by 55 per cent since 1998, whilst for women aged 30 and over conception rates have increased by 34 per cent.”Some experts have suggested that teen pregnancy rates are dropping because young people are now more likely to be communicating remotely on social media.  The ONS said that “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 and housing factors” were behind the shift.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img A governmental teenage pregnancy strategy, launched in 2000, focused on halving the under-18 conception rate, has also been credited with the successful reduction in teen motherhood. Millennials and younger generations are also considered less reckless than previous generations, with rates of smoking and drinking both falling among young people. However, the UK still has one of the highest teenage birth rates in western Europe, with 6.4 live births to every 1,000 women aged 15 to 17 in 2015, compared to 4.1 in France, 3.6 in Germany, and 2.1 in Italy, according to sexual health charity FPA.Natika H Halil, its chief executive, said: “Teenage pregnancy can be a result of many different factors, but we know it can be reduced by investing the right time, resources and expertise into services and education.  “This investment not only saves money in the long term, but also helps prevent the range of negative long-term educational, health and social outcomes that young parents and their children are more likely to experience.”Most conceptions are now happening to women who are not married or in a civil partnership, with just 42 per cent of pregnancies in 2016 happening within a marriage. Almost one in three pregnancies to unmarried women end in abortion, compared to eight per cent of those to married women. The abortion rate among women over 40 has also dropped, from 43.2 per cent in 1990 to 28 per cent last year. last_img

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