In 1970, more than 60% of women in developed nations gave birth to their first child before the age of 25. Since then first time maternal age has been increasing.Factors which contribute to later childbirth include:
- A desire for financial security
- Incresed completion of Post-Secondary education by women
- A greater proportion of women wanting to establish a career.
The proportion of multiple births has also increased. This trend is likely to continue as multiple births are more common among older mothers and those using IVF treatments. Delayed motherhood is also linked to higher rates of breast, endometrium and ovarian cancer. Delayed parenthood also affects the population demographics by reducing the overall population growth rate and reducing the proportion of working age people in the total population.
Early first childbirth has been linked to future low incomes as the needs of the child and the birth of subsequent children often prevents the mother from improving her level of education.
The full long term effects of this trend are not known although current research indicates there may be a greater demand for IVF treatments in the future. As older women are more likely to experience complications during childbirth, the rate of Caesarean sections is also likely to increase.