The changing face of Queensland mums

A growing number of Queensland women are waiting until later in life to start a family.

Queensland women are waiting until they are older to enjoy motherhood, with the latest peri-natal data showing there were almost twice as many mothers aged 35 or over in 2015 than in 1997.

Medically referred to as ‘geriatric’ in their child birthing years, the data from Queensland Health shows mothers aged over 34 increased by 86%, with 11,852 recorded in 2015 compared with 6338 in 1997.

Adversely, the number of teenage mothers over the 18-year period dropped by 26%, while the number of single mothers grew by 46%.

Obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Gino Pecoraro said women giving birth later in life were fast becoming the new norm.

“We have noticed the change right across the nation,” he said.

“It’s not just because women are choosing to have children later in life but because they’re enjoying their careers, and finding ‘Mr Right’ doesn’t always happen when you want it to.”

Dr Pecoraro said just because women are outside the “magical” birthing age group of 18-25 doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a baby, but they should be aware of the risk.

“People need to be aware of chromosomal problems, like the increased risk of Down syndrome, which is directly related to their age,” he said.

“Once pregnant, there is also an increased risk of multiple pregnancy – many women don’t know the likelihood of twins and triplets is increased with age.”

Susan Furze, 46, had her only child, Thomas, at 39 and said it was “more out of necessity than choice.”

“I met my husband later in life and we got married in 2007 and had Thomas in 2010,” she said.

“I’d hoped to have the luxury of a few years as newlyweds and we wanted to travel, build a home and settle down first.”

Mrs Furze said it was the advice from a close friend that pushed her into having a child before it was too late.

“As an older mum I went through my pregnancy with this little niggling fear and I don’t think I would have if I was 25,” she said.

“In saying that, it was the best and most beautiful thing I have ever done and I wouldn’t trade my perfect little bundle of joy for anything.”