More older mothers as average maternal age hits 30

The average maternal age in 2009 was up from 29.9 years in 2008, continuing a slow rise from 29 years in 2000.

The average age for first-time mothers in 2009 was 27.9 years, down slightly (0.3 years) on 2008, according to data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) this week.

However, a higher proportion (13.7%) of first-time mums were older than 35  in 2009 compared to 10.3% in 2000.

“The [overall] proportion of mothers aged 35 and over also continues to rise – up from 17.1% in 2000 to 22.8% in 2009,” said AIHW National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit spokesperson Associate Professor Elizabeth Sullivan.

“And mothers aged 40 and over made up 4% of women giving birth in 2009 compared with 2.6% in 2000.”

Nationally, the proportion of teenage mothers remained steady at 4% in 2009, though this was down from 5% in 2000.

Total births have