More women than ever are waiting until after 30 to start a family. Recent statistics show that women are increasingly putting off having children through their twenties, choosing to both marry and raise children after the big three O.
Data published by the Office for National Statistics showed that in 2016 the average age of mothers rose to 30.4 years, a slight increase on 2015. In 1997, the average age for mothers was just 27. The fertility rate for women over 40 also showed a rise of 4.6% and has now trebled since 1990. Having children after 30 and even 40 is rapidly becoming the norm.
But what’s driving the trend? We looked at the reasons why some women are choosing to wait when it comes to kids, below.
Women Have More Stability in Their 30s
Having children is a messy, expensive and complicated undertaking. Waiting until after 30 to have kids often means an increase in financial and career stability that can make having a family easier. For many women, emotional stability is also a factor, they know themselves better in their 30s, feel surer of their partnerships and feel more prepared to become mothers.
Traditional Values Have Changed
Marrying early and choosing to stay at home to raise a large family and keep home has lost much of the appeal it once held. The numbers of women choosing to be homemakers is now relatively low. Many women want to build a career, gain an education and even see the world before they settle down with a family. This process takes time, so it makes sense that women are choosing to delay pregnancy.
Pre and Post Natal Care Has Improved
Many of the risks associated with delaying pregnancy until after 30 and even 40 have been reduced by advances in medical science. The last few decades have seen significant scientific advances that mean women feel safer when choosing to have kids later in their life.
Women Are Not Meeting Their Partners Until Later
Most women are not having children alone and many are living busy, full, independent lives. It’s now much less likely that they will marry the university sweetheart they met at 18 and many won’t meet their long-term partner until after their 30th birthday. The average age for marriage in the UK is now 34, suggesting that many women are starting on the road to family and motherhood much later.
Childcare Is Expensive
People are having fewer children and a significant reason is the rising cost of childcare. Waiting until after 30 generally means having a higher level of disposable income available to spend on this punishing cost.
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