Welcome to Mothers 35 Plus, the website for older mothers

Mothers 35 Plus is the UK's leading website devoted to 'late motherhood' and has been online since 1998. Whether you are about to have your first, second or tenth baby, if you are an older mother or want to be an older mother this is the place to be!

'Older motherhood' is now official, since the latest birth statistics published by the UK's Office for National Statistics show that more women than ever before are choosing to become mothers later in life.

The number of live births in England and Wales to mothers aged 40 and over has more than quadrupled over the last three decades from 6,519 in 1982 to 29,994 in 2012.

Births in the UK, 2012

The provisional number of live births in the UK in 2012 was 812,970. This is a rise of 0.6% compared with 2011 when there were 807,776 births.

In Scotland the number of live births decreased, from 58,590 in 2011 to 58,027 in 2012 (provisional figure), a fall of 1.0%.

Northern Ireland also recorded a slight fall in the number of live births, decreasing by less than 0.1% to 25,269 in 2012 (provisional figure), from 25,273 in 2011.

Births in England and Wales, 2012

There were 729,674 live births in England and Wales in 2012, increasing slightly (by 0.8%) from 723,913 in 2011. This small rise in live births in 2012 represents a continuation of the increasing numbers recorded since a low in 2001.

In 2012, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) increased slightly to 1.94 children per woman from 1.93 in 2011.

In 2012 the number of stillbirths fell to 3,558 from 3,811 in 2011 (a fall of 6.6%), with 4.9 per thousand total births, down from 5.2 in 2011.

In 2012, the average ageof mothers having live births increased to 29.8 years, compared with 29.7 years in 2011.** The rise in 2012 represents a continuation of the increasing age of mother recorded since 1976. 


Note: The total number of births recorded for 2012 includes births occurring in 2012 which were registered by 25 February 2013 and births occurring in 2011 which were registered between 26 February 2012 and 25 February 2013, that is births in the previous year which had not been tabulated previously.

Live births by age of mother, 20002012, England and Wales

Year All ages 30-34 35-39 40 and over

2012 729,674 216,242 114,797* 29,994
2011 723,913 207,151 115,444 29,350
2010 723,165 202,457 115,841 27,731
2009 706,248 191,600 114,288 26,976
2008 708,711 192,450 116,220 26,419
2007 690,013 191,124 115,380 25,350
2006 669,601 189,407 110,509 23,706
2005 645,835 188,153 104,113 22,246
2004 639,721 190,550 102,228 20,793
2003 621,469 187,214 97,386 19,080
2002 596,122 180,532 90,449 17,336
2001 594,634 178,920 86,495 16,260
2000 604,441 180,113 84,974 15,066

Notes: * For women aged 35–39 the decrease in the number of births was due to a decrease in the estimated female population in England and Wales at this age, since fertility levels increased.

** The 2012 standardised mean (average) age of mother has been calculated using the mid-2012 population estimates. The standardised mean age of mother is used in order to eliminate the impact of any changes in the distribution of the population by age and therefore enables trends over time to be analysed. Standardised means are calculated using rates per thousand female population by single year of age of mother.

Above data source: Office for National Statistics, UK


Birth statistics for Scotland (opens in a new window)
Birth statistics for Northern Ireland (opens in a new window)

Is there a "right" time to have a baby?

For some women the "right" time to have a baby may be in her twenties which, physically, is the optimum time for a woman to become pregnant. At this age she is fully-grown and sufficiently mature enough to cope with having a baby, being supple and flexible enough, with plenty of energy.

Until recently a woman over 30 having her first baby was referred to as an "elderly primigravida". However, more and more women are choosing to start their families later in life and feel no desperate rush to do so until well into their thirties. Apart from physical factors, older mothers often feel more settled and more ready in themselves to have a baby. This is possibly due to already having had career and leisure opportunities, so they may be more ready and willing than their younger counterparts to make the necessary sacrifices that having a baby inevitably means. Increasing maturity also means they are perhaps better able to cope with the emotional and financial aspects involved too.

Whatever you are seeking, whether it's researching health information or you simply want reassurance, hopefully you will find what you are looking for here. Or perhaps you just want to share your thoughts with other other older mums? Undoubtedly, there's someone, somewhere, who is experiencing the same things as you ...