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Median birth age rises to 30; Minnesota Birth Center weighs in on families deciding to give birth later

For the past three decades, birthrates have dipped for women in their 20s and jumped for women in their late 30s and early 40s, according to a new report.

MINNEAPOLIS — "At the birth center, many of the families that come to us are older and well-educated," said Toni Westphal, the interim director of midwifery at the Minnesota Birth Center.

Westpahl has seen firsthand the shift in birthrates within the last few years.

"We are seeing more first-time moms over the age of 35 for sure," she said.

She says the median age of women giving birth at the center within a five-year time span is 31 years old.

"Over the years, we're feeling more empowered to invest time and effort to our passions, whether career or other type things," she said.

But it's not just here in Minnesota.

For the past three decades, birthrates have dipped for women in their 20s and jumped for women in their late 30s and early 40s, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau. The trend, pushing the median age of U.S. women giving birth from 27 to 30, the highest on record.

"Most healthy people can conceive naturally," he said. "Forty-eight is the oldest I remember caring for that went on to have a healthy baby, too, but there are some other options."

According to recent data, fertility trends from 1990 to 2019 were stable, compared to previous decades but varied by age. Overall, birthrates for women between the ages of 20-24 went down 43%, at the same time, birthrates for women between 35 and 39 went up 67%.

"I am in my mid 30s and what are the risks — if any — that may come from giving birth in your late 30s, 40s and sometimes 50s?" said KARE 11's Charmaine Nero.

"In general, you can just guess that as we age our bodies, are less productive and efficient," said Westphal. "Our blood vessels have aged, which can effect blood flow in all of the parts of the body, especially the placenta, which is giving baby energy and oxygenation, but there can be increased risk with age, but that risk can be overall low."

While Westphal says advanced maternal age alone is not a significant enough risk to deter people from choosing to give birth, she's reassuring families that they have options.

"I hope women feel empowered and know there are resources to help them," she said.

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