Older mothers

Older mothers are those who gave birth aged 40 or more. This section looks at key topics in relation to older mothers including, onset of labour and method of birth, smoking status and timing and number of antenatal care visits.

The number of older mothers has fluctuated over time, although the trend shows an overall increase. 

Most older mothers access antenatal care in the first trimester (7 in 10) and almost all older mothers have more than 5 antenatal visits (more than 9 in 10). 

Over time, the most common onset of labour type for older mothers has become ‘no labour’, with a corresponding caesarean section rate of around 1 in 2 older mothers who gave birth. 

Older mothers are unlikely to smoke during pregnancy, with less than 1 in 15 older mothers reporting that they smoke. This rate has fallen over time.