Birth statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that more women than ever before become mothers later in life. The trend is also backed up by figures from other countries around the world. In developed countries there is an upsurge in the age of mothers giving birth for the first time, and in the UK alone there are now more first-time mothers giving birth in the 30-34 age group than in the 25-29 age group. There is also a 50% increase from 10 years ago in the number of women aged 40 - 44 who are having a baby. Women over 35 (or even younger) expecting a first baby are automatically assigned to a "high risk" category, at risk for problems such as hypertension, pre-eclampsia, diabetes, difficult labour, and caesarean section. Research, however, suggests that the mother's overall health is more important than age per se. This updated version of Birth Over 35 (Sheldon Press 1994, Birth Over 30, Sheldon Press 1982) provides the specialist information needed by 'older' mothers.

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