For the first time ever, more women are getting pregnant after 30 than in their twenties. According to data obtained by the Office for National Statistics, more women in England and Wales are waiting until their thirties to have children. Since records began, most women have previously been pregnant at twenty-something.
Since 1990 (when age-specific data for women started to be recorded regularly) the long-term rise in older pregnancies – especially for women over 40 – has been attributed to women spending more time in education, work and accounting for the rising cost of childbearing. The Duchess of Sussex, Kirsten Dunst and Rachel McAdams are public figures that have chosen to become mothers in their thirties.
According to the ONS, there were 395,856 among women in their twenties and 398,284 for women aged 30 and over in 2017. “[The figures] could show that women are waiting longer to have children, which might be due to a number of reasons, including but not limited to: higher costs of living, fewer young people able to afford mortgages, or perhaps feeling less pressure or desire to start a family,” Natika H Halil, the chief executive of the sexual health charity FPA, told the Guardian.
The data also showed the highest number of pregnancies outside of marriage or civil partnerships ever recorded in England and Wales, at 58.7 per cent.