New figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that for the first time conception rates (the proportion of women who become pregnant) are increasing for women who are over 40 in England and Wales.

While overall conception rates in 2016 were the lowest since 2005, and rates decreased for all other age groups, the rate for women over 40 years old increased. 

The trend for women to have children later in life is relevant to stillbirth. It is not clear what the reasons are, but older women are at higher risk of some pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes. Some experts also think that for some women the older body is less able to support the pregnancy in the final weeks.

Sands’ Safer Pregnancy website provides advice for all pregnant women, and has specific information for older mothers.

The website was developed by Sands to let women know what they can do to help themselves to stay safe in pregnancy and signposts to evidence-based information about keeping healthy.  

Janet Scott, Research and Prevention Lead at Sands, said: “It’s important that older mums have access to information which can help them make decisions about their health and make choices about maternity care. Our Safer Pregnancy website has straight-forward information that women can rely on. Pregnant women who have any concerns, for instance about a change in their baby’s movements, should always contact their maternity unit straight away.”

For further information visit the Safer Pregnancy website