Mums now older than ever as average age for women to give birth hits record high

The average age of a mum giving birth has reached a record high in England and Wales, data from the Office of National Statistics has shown.

New figures detailing birth and parental characteristics released this morning show the average age of a mother rose to 30.7 years in 2019.

The standardised mean age of dads remained unchanged from 2018 at 33.6 years.

Overall, the average ages of mothers and fathers has risen consistently since they were at their lowest points in the 1970s.

Since records began in 1964, the age difference between mums and dads has remained consistent over time at about three years.

In 2019, the age difference between the average age of mothers and fathers was 2.9 years.

The data also looked at the stillbirth rate in England and Wales, which hit a record low of 3.9 stillbirths per 1,000 total births in 2019.

A comment by a statistician said: “Stillbirth rates varied by age with the youngest and oldest mothers generally seeing the highest risk of stillbirth since the beginning of the century.

“In 2019, the percentage of preterm live births in England and Wales decreased slightly which indicates a potential change in this trend which we will continue to monitor.”

In England, the government has been aiming to halve the rate of stillbirths between 2010 and 2025.

Understanding the variation in rates for different characteristics, such as age or region, is important to fully monitoring progress.

The data released on Monday also looked at birthweight.

Low birthweight is a known risk factor of infant mortality and morbidity, the ONS says.

It is classified as babies born weighing less than 2,500g.

In England and Wales, the percentage of live births classified as being of low birthweight has remained stable over the course of the decade, with a slight decrease being seen in recent years.

In 2019, 6.8% of live births were classified as being of low birthweight.

Across the English regions and Wales, the West Midlands saw the highest percentage of low birthweights throughout the decade, with 8.2% in 2019.

The South West had the lowest percentage of low birthweight live births with 5.5% in 2019.

The North East, East of England, South East and South West all had lower percentages of low birthweights compared with England and Wales in 2019, whilst all other English regions were higher than the England and Wales average.

In 2019, 97.5% of live births occurred in an NHS establishment and 2.1% occurred at home, a trend that has remained consistent over the decade.