New Orleans seeing more older first-time moms

More women in their 30s having their first babies

Don Ames
May 23, 2019 - 10:08 am

New Orleans is now seeing more women over 30 than under 30 having their first babies. 

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows indicates that it's a national trend.

It had never been seen in the country until two years ago. But, Dr. Joseph Biggio, Associate System Chair of Womens' Service Line and Section Head for Maternal Fetal Medicine at Ochsner, says he sees it quite frequently now.

"It's really been driven by the fact that women are delaying childbirth to pursue carriers and education," says Dr. Bigio.

In fact, he says first-time births among women over 40 have been on the rise, as well.

He says older women who are giving birth for the first time face different risks than women in their 20s. "But the majority of women who are in their 30s, and into their 40s, who are pregnant will have successful and uncomplicated pregnancies."

"Regardless of age, the biggest determinant of how the pregnancy is going to progress is going to be he overall health status at the time she gets pregnant," says Biggio.

He admits, however, that age can be a concern

"Even a healthy woman at 40 has a greater risk of pregnancy complications than a healthy woman at 25. But, certainly, the greater risk is in those women who have other underlying health conditions."

Some theories for the fall include a decline in sexual activity among teenagers and a rise in the use of birth control, including methods such as intrauterine devices. The abortion rate has also fallen in the U.S.

According to the CDC, the overall U.S. birth rate fell to a record low in 2017, with the teen birth rate falling dramatically. But, the continued rise of older moms may reflect a long-term shift to delayed childbearing.

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