MORE THAN A quarter of all births in Ireland are to women aged 35 years and over, new figures reveal.
A major ESRI report on pregnancy and births also found that 26 per cent of women giving birth in 2010 delivered by Caesarean section, compared to 21 per cent in 2001.
The study also found that almost one third of all births were to single mothers.
Among the other findings in the report were:
- The average birth weight for babies in 2010 was 7.6lbs, almost exactly the same as in 2001.
- Almost half of all babies were being exclusively breastfed by the time they left the maternity hospital. This is an increase from 2001 when around 39 per cent of babies were breastfed.
- The average age of women giving birth was 31.5 years old, an increase from 2001 when it was 30.3 years old.
- The number of teenagers giving birth has dropped. Just 3 per cent of women giving birth were aged 19 years or under, compared to more than 5 per cent of the same age group in 2001.
- Almost 28 per cent of women who gave birth were aged 35 or older, compared to 22 per cent for that age group in 2001.
- Almost 33 per cent of births were to single mothers, who had an average age of 28 years old.
- Just under one quarter of births were to mothers born outside of Ireland.
There were 177 homebirths in Ireland in 2010, which was a significant drop on 2001 when there were 245.
The report looked at 75,600 births in 2010, compared to 2001 when there were just over 58,000 births in the country. The number of children being born in Ireland is at the highest level since 1891.
The Perinatal Statistics Report collated information from 20 maternity hospitals and 18 independent midwives across the country.