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Women waiting longer to have their first child
May 9th, 2014
09:45 AM ET

Women waiting longer to have their first child

More women over 35 are giving birth for the first time, according to a government study released Friday.  The report, issued by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looked at data compiled over the past four decades.

Among the findings:

  • In 2012, there were more than nine times as many first births to women over age 35 than in the 1970s
  • From 2000 to 2012, first birth rates rose 35% for women aged 40 to 44, and 24% for women aged 35 to 39
  • The first birth rate for women aged 40–44 has more than doubled since 1990
  • In the past 20 years, first birth rates rose for older women across all races. The largest increases were seen for non-Hispanic white and black women, and Asian or Pacific Islander women

The study also looked at first birth rates state-by-state. Researchers found only Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arizona and Idaho had no significant birth rate change for older women.

The study authors point out that there are pros and cons for women waiting to have children.  Older moms typically have more resources, including higher incomes and better education than younger first-time moms.  But women who have their first children after 35 are more likely to have health problems, as are their children.

RELATED: The 'big lie' in putting off pregnancy

According to the Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine, a woman in her 20s has a 20 to 25% chance of conceiving naturally every time she menstruates. At that age, the rate of miscarriage is anywhere from 5 to 10%. By 34, the likelihood of a woman conceiving naturally drops to 15%, and the miscarriage rate is 20%. Women over 45 have a 1% chance of conception, and are five times as likely to miscarry as women in their 20s.

You can read the complete study on the CDC website.


soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. The US Dept Of Defense

    The US DOD announces a new weapon available if hostile aliens try to take over the Earth. The DOD will allow Palin voters to "mind meld" with the aliens. The aliens' heads will immediately implode caused by the huge vacuum.

    May 9, 2014 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eeyore

      Did you get tired of being "Timmy Suckle"?

      May 12, 2014 at 17:27 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      Good. I can click "report abuse" again.

      May 14, 2014 at 09:11 | Report abuse |
    • Eyesore can't handle the truth

      Truth hurts don't it Palin voter.

      May 14, 2014 at 10:53 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      Still waiting to see you post anything remotely resembling truth. All you do is repeat yourself. What is your goal? What is the purpose of posting the same inanity repeatedly?

      May 14, 2014 at 19:22 | Report abuse |
    • Eyesore is part of the Medical Cartel problem.

      The truth is a single payer system is the ONLY system that will allow us, as an entire nation, to negotiate better health care prices. But since you are a part of the Medical Cartel problem, that's spending billions to lobby against a single payer system, you ignore the truth. And you actually work hard to "delete" the truth because you don't want the truth spread.

      May 14, 2014 at 22:24 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      What point is there in posting this repeatedly? Congress was never going to go for a single-payer system. There isn't any point in fuming about it, because nothing's going to happen now.

      What color is the sky on your planet?

      May 15, 2014 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
    • Eyesore can't handle the truth

      To spread the truth. What's the point in deleting it? To cover up the truth.

      May 16, 2014 at 09:12 | Report abuse |
  2. Maggie P. Dixon

    "A woman in her 20s has a 20 to 25% chance of conceiving naturally every time she menstruates." Really? I guess men really have
    become obsolete.

    May 9, 2014 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dave

      "conceiving naturally" means with a man -- BTW, I would not outlaw abortions for any woman who created her own fetus

      June 6, 2014 at 08:16 | Report abuse |
  3. mdemartino1991

    There is actually an area of medicine studying as to whether the increase in Autism may be linked to the increase in people waiting longer to conceive (both men and women)

    It is hypothesized that waiting longer to have children means your eggs and sperm degrade along with your natural aging process. (people who have children in their 20s have healthier eggs and sperm which results in healthier pregnancies)

    People don't realize that just because your body makes eggs and sperm doesn't mean it is constantly renewed to full capacity.

    Just like your skin and your bones and everything else, your body regenerates everything. (about every 7 years your body completely replaces every cell of your body, except your brains neurons) and with this your cells degenerate which means you trade all of your cells for a lesser version. This is what causes aging in human beings, your body is constantly replacing it's cells with lesser versions.

    This includes your eggs and your sperm which degrade with your natural aging process. It is likely that because people are waiting longer to have children that we are increasing the amount of children born with diseases like autism and so on.

    Yes, younger people are less financially secure when having children, that being said the longer you wait the more at risk your future children might be.

    May 11, 2014 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eeyore

      Eggs aren't "regenerated."

      May 18, 2014 at 22:49 | Report abuse |
  4. Xira

    Are you familiar with the term 'geriatric pregnancy'? This thing where women have kids at 35 is _NOT_ sustainable. Human genetics evolved for women to give birth between 14-23 or so. Going too far outside that range and you start polluting the gene pool with mutations.

    If a 14 year old has a baby it has X semi-random mutations. If that baby has a baby at 14 it has 2X semi-random mutations.
    If a 40 year old has a baby it has 4X semi-random mutations. If that baby has a baby at 40 it has 8X semi-random mutations.

    The 1st is sustainable when subject to natural selection and large family sizes. The children with weak mutations die or do not have children.
    The 2nd ends in a drooling mass of autism, ADHD, and psychosis. – As we are seeing today.

    May 11, 2014 at 23:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eeyore

      Cite your sources, please.

      May 12, 2014 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
    • Lojack

      (I think Xira is a mutation)

      May 12, 2014 at 19:32 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      Nah, more of a "drooling mass."

      May 13, 2014 at 06:24 | Report abuse |
    • SY

      Why the heck not? People are living longer, which means women are healthier longer and can take care of babies longer, so why shouldn't it be sustainable?

      May 19, 2014 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
  5. eli2003

    eggs are not reginerated, females are born with as many as they are going to have. I'm sure they do degrade a bit, but, only men "regenerate" their sex cells.

    May 12, 2014 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. eli2003

    Oh, and "I geus men have become obsolete"???? really??? It's always been like that. The stars have to align to concieve, it's a freakin wonder the world is overpopulated, that just shows how much sex our species is having!

    May 12, 2014 at 11:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SY

      That is my exact reaction when I read those stats! Heck, if the odds were better, women would be getting pregnant potentially with every monthly ovulatory cycle. That's too much!

      May 19, 2014 at 17:01 | Report abuse |
  7. RettasVegas

    Had my 1st child at 31, the 2nd at 35, both were concived the very 1st time I tried, with these stats, I feel vey lucky, I was getting old..
    I planned on being an over 30 mom since I was a teen, because I really needed to know who I was having children with.
    I was married for 10 yrs. before I had them, and was able to stay home with them that was very important to me.
    After my divorce I said to my divorced sister, men will come & go in womens lives, but children are forever, never put anyone before your children.
    I'm very close to my son & daughter they are now as they have been from the day they were born, my greatest purpose in life, family.
    No matter what age, those who have children with no thought, or no planning can make childhood a nightmare for the children AND the parents.

    May 14, 2014 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dave

      " Men will come and go" because your personal experience is the standard for everyone else

      June 6, 2014 at 08:18 | Report abuse |
  8. helenaconstantine

    Statistically speaking, I somehow became the "poster child" among my co-workers for older motherhood–first child at 34; second 36; third at 38. Thought I was done and then got a huge surprise at 44 years old, which was a fourth child. (No, I was not trying.) At that age, I considered myself lucky I didn't have a frog! All my children are healthy and all were trouble free pregnancies and deliveries.

    May 18, 2014 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. SY

    There are many many women in their 30s and 40s giving birth to healthy children. How the women do in part depends on the woman's individual health, and sure, as people get older health problems do start creeping up. However, the majority of 30 and 40 year old females should still be fairly healthy (common sense applies - eat right, be active, surround yourself with a psychologically healthy environment).

    The way I see it, people are living longer, so why shouldn't it make sense evolutionarily that women can be giving birth later? I think it makes perfect sense!

    May 19, 2014 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dave

      The way you see it is not important. Your opinion is not important. Medical decisions should be informed by doctors not talk show hosts. When it comes to babies biology is more important than money. 35 years old is a decade past prime

      June 6, 2014 at 08:20 | Report abuse |
  10. LastoftheZucchiniFlowers

    Not every woman is motherhood material just as every man is NOT fatherhood material. Must EVERYONE reproduce just to fit some preconceived notion of 'normal'? That would be a shame. Let's give the childless people a break?

    June 6, 2014 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. dave

    You can have whatever you want - it is your feelings that matter, not facts. Don't listen to doctors, listen to Madonna

    June 6, 2014 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mare

    Not every woman is cut out for motherhood. I knew at 13 I never wanted children. I would probably have been an abusive mother like mine was. My Mom had 4 girls and only 1 reproduced - what does that tell you? Instead you should congratulate us for making a wise choice. Leave us alone and stop asking questions why we don't have kids. It is our business and no one else's.

    June 6, 2014 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.