Access to education and more career opportunities is the reason behind the shift in the age women conceive their first child.
According to Pew Research, in 1990, 13 percent of all births were by teen moms while women women 35 and older gave birth at a rate of only 9 percent.
In 2008, that number flipped where teen birth rate was 10 percent to 14 percent for women over 35.
Stats suggest education can account for the shift. Now, 71 percent of mothers ages 35 and older had some college education, compared to 41 percent in 1990 (for all mothers). The U.S. Department of Education, data show that less than 20 percent of women went to college in 1967, but in 2012, that number has more than doubled (44.5%).
Currently, women receive 60 percent of the bachelor’s degrees. With more education comes access to more work opportunities and the delay in starting a family.
“Advanced maternal age is becoming more common as women are living different lifestyles than before,” said Dr. Vivian Romero of the Spectrum Health Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic.
Dr. Romero adds that in her office, she sees many patients that have delayed childbearing due to the demands of their education and opportunities to have a career.
She offers these tips for women who decided to have children later in life.
Before trying to conceive:
Start or continue to exercise regularly.
Eat healthy foods and get the nutrients you need.
Start taking prenatal vitamins.
If you have a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes or hypertension, optimize your health.
Lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
While trying to conceive:
Your menstrual calendar is not same as those under age 35.
Don’t wait too long to call your doctor.
If you have been trying for more than six months, you may need a reproductive specialist.
“Age is nothing to be concerned about, but the more information and knowledge that you have, the more prepared you will be for a healthy pregnancy,” Dr. Romero said.
The availability of more fertility treatment and options also is encouraging women to delay starting a family. Technology is helping women extend that proverbial biological clock.