Official statistics show an increasing trend for mature mothers giving birth to multiples.
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) indicate that one in ten pregnancies in mothers aged 45 or over now result in multiple births.
This is a significant increase from 1976 where the figure for the same age group of mothers was one in one hundred.
According to baby and parenting website babies.co.uk, amongst other factors, the huge rise in multiple births is primarily due to the number of families waiting longer to have children.
Many multiple births are the result of fertility treatment, which older women require more often than younger women.
James Macfarlane, Director of babies.co.uk, said: “If you’re over 40 and trying to conceive, you might well find yourself joining the double buggy brigade sooner or later.
“As women marry later and place a greater emphasis on their careers, it’s no wonder that they are choosing to delay having their children until later in life.”
However, the increase in twins born to mature mothers cannot be entirely accounted for by infertility treatment. Research in Holland has suggested that hormonal changes as women age can cause simultaneous double ovulation.
James added: “If a woman releases two eggs at the same time then both of them may become fertilised, resulting in non-identical twins.”
Most multiple pregnancies result in twins, but of course there has also been a rise in the number of triplets too said babies.co.uk.
“Few couples are prepared for seeing more than one baby at their first scan and the surprise often leaves people in shock - especially if it took time to conceive,” he said.
Pregnancy with multiples carries greater risk of complications, including premature birth and low birth weight.
“Whilst expecting twins can be worrying for older parents, the news is still usually one for celebration – especially if the couple were finding it hard to get pregnant in the first place,” said James.
Source: FemaleFirst.co.uk - http://goo.gl/EVN9X