Record numbers of Rotorua mothers older than 40 are giving birth and the number of teen mums is dropping significantly.

The 146 births across the wider Bay of Plenty by mothers aged over 40 last year is the highest figure ever, and almost double the number from 15 years ago, according to the latest Statistics New Zealand figure.

College of Midwives chairwoman for Bay of Plenty and Tairawhiti Juliette Robinson said this had been a noticeable trend in Rotorua.

"Personally I've had quite a few women over 35 giving birth, and four or five over 40, which is really unusual," she said. "The women I've dealt with that are having babies older have all had a big career life behind them before they've decided to settle down and have children."


Ms Robinson said women were in better health as they headed into their 30s and 40s than the previous generation, and were therefore more comfortable with later pregnancies.

Teen pregnancies in the region have almost halved in the last eight years.

Ms Robinson believed the decrease was at least partly due to the availability of the long-acting contraceptive Jadelle.

Doctors insert one or two small Jadelle rods into an arm and progesterone is released into the bloodstream for three to five years, preventing the ovaries releasing an egg each month.

Since the Government began subsidising Jadelle in 2010, teen pregnancy rates have dropped 37 per cent throughout the country.

Ms Robinson said the Lakes District Health Board making Jadelle free for teens and those in low socio-economic situations in Rotorua had made a huge difference. "It's become really popular. We've seen a decrease in teenage pregnancies and repeat teenage pregnancies."

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The convenience of not having to take a pill each day made Jadelle a common choice, particularly for young girls, Ms Robinson said.

Rotovegas Youth Health clinical leader Dr Tania Pinfold said the rates of teen pregnancies and terminations had been continuing to decrease in recent years. She said the drop had been most obvious since Jadelle became funded by Pharmac in 2010, with the rods a safe and effective option.

"We are lucky locally to have had funding from Lakes District Health Board for free Jadelle consultations at Rotovegas Youth Health. Since 2010, about 1100 young women have chosen to have Jadelle at Rotovegas."

Dr Pinfold said Rotorua teens also had the advantage of easy access to youth-specific services at high school clinics and Rotovegas Youth Health, where they could have "important health conversations".

Between 2005 and 2012, teenage birth numbers averaged 408 but have been below 300 the last three years straight.

Rotorua births:

* 2010: 1078
* 2011: 1077
* 2012: 1008
* 2013: 997
* 2014: 906
* 2015: 1047

Teen mums (NZ):

* 2010: Under 15: 26. 15-19: 4526
* 2011: Under 15: 25. 15-19: 3983
* 2012: Under 15: 18. 15-19: 3768
* 2013: Under 15: 20. 15-19: 3283
* 2014: Under 15: 27. 15-19: 2895
* 2015: Under 15: 24. 15-19: 2841

Births by mother's age (NZ):

* 2005: 30-34: 17,977. 35-39: 10,029. 40-44: 2003. 45+: 93
* 2015: 30-34: 18,596. 35-39: 10,231. 40-44: 2381. 45+: 158

Source: Statistics NZ.