Irish women among oldest mothers in Europe

Data finds Ireland has one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in European Union

Irish first-time mothers are among the oldest mums in Europe according to figures released on Friday by Eurostat.

The average age for an Irish woman to have her first child is 29, while the majority of Irish women who gave birth to their first child in 2013 were in their 30s.

According to data released to mark the International Day of Families, 52.7 per cent of first time Irish mums were aged 30-39 in 2013, making Irish women some of the oldest mothers in Europe.

Ireland follows Italy, where the average age is 30.6 years, Spain, Luxembourg and Greece.

In 2013, just over half of women in the EU who gave birth to their first child were in their 20s.

The Eurostat data found Ireland has one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in the EU, with 4.7 per cent of first-time mums aged under 20 in 2013 compared to a European average of 5.4 per cent.

The highest number of first time births to teenage mothers was in Romania where 15.6 per cent of first time mothers were under 20, followed by Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia and the United Kingdom.

The lowest number of teenage pregnancies was in Italy - where only 1.8 per cent of first time mothers were under 20 - followed by Slovenia, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Cyprus.

The Eurostat figures found Ireland has one of the highest proportions of births of first children to women in their 40s, with 3.4 per cent of first time mothers in 2013 aged 40 and over.

Italy recorded the highest number of first time births to women over 40, followed by Spain, Greece and Luxembourg.

In Italy, the average age for a woman to have her first child is 30.6 years followed by Spain where the age is 30.4.

The average age for a European woman to have her first child is 28.7.

According to the HSE’s Perinatal Statistic Report published last December, the age of first time mothers in Ireland has continued to rise over the past decade.

The report found that between 2004 and 2013 the number of women under 30 giving birth for the first time fell while numbers of women who gave birth over 30 increased.