AIHW report: Australia’s oldest new mum gave birth at 60

AIHW report: Australia’s oldest new mum gave birth at 60

THE nation’s oldest new mother gave birth at the age of 60, official records have revealed.
The unidentified woman, who gave birth in 2010, is among dozens of menopausal women who had babies that year, newly released Federal Government data shows.
It is the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’ s most recent survey year.
Institute perinatal statistics director Elizabeth Sullivan yesterday said «fewer than 50» women in their 50s had babies in 2010.
Professor Sullivan would not reveal the precise number, to avoid identifying any of the middle-aged mums, but said most of the births would have involved IVF, donated eggs or frozen embryos. «You don’t get many natural conceptions over 50,» she said.
«The majority of people giving birth in their 50s would be very likely using assisted reproduction, including another woman’s eggs or a frozen embryo.
«It’s highly likely women giving birth at 60 will be following assisted reproductive technology of some type.»
The number of women giving birth after age 45 has almost doubled in a decade, from 297 in 2001 to 562 in 2010. Professor Sullivan said many of the babies would have come as a surprise, as women often assumed they were no longer fertile in their 40s.
«People don’t think they are going to get pregnant, so you get a spike of unintended pregnancies among women who thought they were past it,» she said.
«You still need to use contraception in your 40s.»
Australia does not have an age limit on parents using IVF.
But Westmead Hospital in Sydney stopped accepting women aged 43 or older for IVF treatment in 2005, after an audit rated their chances of having a baby at less than 1 per cent.
Gold Coast woman Anthea Nicholas is believed to be Australia’s oldest «natural» first-time mother, after having her first child last year at the age of 50.
A 57-year-old Perth woman gave birth to twins via IVF in 2010 and, in 2007, a 56-year-old Queensland woman gave birth to an IVF-conceived child.
Medicare covers most of the cost of IVF treatment, which can still leave patients up to $4000 out of pocket for each treatment cycle.
The institute’s report also found that one in seven Australian women smoked during pregnancy in 2010, including at least one-in-three pregnant teenagers.
Only 20 per cent of smokers managed to quit during their pregnancy. Smokers were nearly twice as likely as non-smoking women to give birth to underweight babies, weighing less than 2.5kg.
Smoking mums were more common in the Northern Territory and Tasmania — where one in four smoked — and Queensland, where 17 per cent of pregnant women smoked.
NSW women are the least likely to smoke while pregnant, with a rate of 11.2 per cent below the national average.
In South Australia, 17.4 per cent of women smoked while pregnant — significantly more than the national average — and only a third of them managed to quit half-way through their pregnancy.
The institute’s report warns smoking can cause stillbirths.
«Smoking during pregnancy is the most common preventable risk factor for pregnancy complications, and is associated with poorer perinatal outcomes such as low birthweight, preterm birth, small for gestational babies and perinatal death,» it says.

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