The average age of mothers who gave birth in 2019 reached a record high of 30.7 years, new figures show.
The average age of fathers in England and Wales stayed at 33.6 years – itself a record high, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
There were 640,370 birth registrations in 2019, down from 657,076 in 2018 – a fall of 2.5%.
Just over half (51.5%) of these were within a marriage or civil partnership.
The age group with the most registered births in 2019 was 30-34 year olds, and the average age of a woman giving birth for the first time was 28.9 – the same as the record high reached in 2018.
Meanwhile, the stillbirth rate is at a record low, with 2,522 stillbirths registered in 2019 – a rate of 3.9 stillbirths per 1,000 births.
David Corps, from the ONS Vital Statistics Outputs Branch, said: “Stillbirth rates varied by age with the youngest and oldest mothers generally seeing the highest risk of stillbirth since the beginning of the century.
“In 2019, the percentage of preterm live births in England and Wales decreased slightly which indicates a potential change in this trend which we will continue to monitor.
“By the end of this year we will release provisional figures about births in 2020 where we will assess stillbirth rates, gestational age and other factors that could have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.”
The data is taken from live births and stillbirths registration, and relates to births that took place in 2019, with a very small number of late registrations from the previous year.
Almost all live births (97.5%) took place within an NHS establishment – this proportion has been consistently high over the past decade.
Over this period, the proportion of live births at home has decreased by 0.4 percentage points.
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