From Our 2009 Archives
Age of First-Time Moms Is Going Up
CDC Study Shows Average Age for Having First Child Is 25 in U.S.
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
Aug. 12, 2009 -- Women in the U.S. and other developed countries are waiting significantly longer before having their first children than new moms of a generation ago, shows a study by the CDC.
The average age of first-time mothers in the U.S. jumped from 21.4 in 1970 to 25 in 2006, an increase of 3.6 years, according to a report in the August edition of NCHS Data Brief, a publication of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
By comparison, the average age at first birth in Switzerland is 29.4 and in Japan is 29.2.
One explanation of the change in average age of first-time mothers is that the proportion of first births to women 35 and older has increased nearly eight times since 1970, the researchers say.
Researchers T.J. Mathews, MS, and Brady E. Hamilton, PhD, both of the National Center for Health Statistics, say average age at first birth is important because it influences the total number of children a woman might have as well as the population's size and future growth. A mother's age is also a factor in birth outcomes such as birth weight and birth defects.
The study also shows:
SOURCES: News release, CDC. Mathews, T. DCHS Data Brief, August 2009, No. 21.
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