With mums in New Zealand getting older, one Rotorua mother says it's up to women to decide when they're ready to have a baby.

According to new figures released by Statistics New Zealand the median age of mothers rose to 30.3 in 2017.

There were a total of 59,610 live births in New Zealand, with the largest age group for mothers being 30 to 34.

Rotorua's Fleur Maunsell is part of the small, but growing, number of women who have their children after 40 - a figure which has almost doubled in the past 20 years.


Last year in New Zealand there were 2442 live births to women 40 and over, compared with 2409 in 2016 and just 1653 in 2001.

Maunsell had battled through IVF and suffered multiple miscarriages from the age of 33.

"I had a lot of losses, all around the 20-week mark.

"Eventually I had given up all hope of ever having any of my own children."

That was when the "miracle" happened, and Maunsell and her partner fell pregnant naturally with now 4-year-old son Alex Tomlinson at 40.

"I didn't exactly wait by choice, I had always hoped and planned to have a family by my mid 30s.

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23 Feb, 2018 12:08pm
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"But I did have him at a stage where I was more ready."

When on the school run Maunsell said she doesn't feel out of place.

"I have come across a lot of mums that are the same age as me.

"It's becoming more normal now for there to be older mums."

She said she wasn't the eldest in her pre-natal class.

"Sometimes there are situations that just take it out of [someone's] control and sometimes people choose to wait.

"I guess at the end of the day it's for mums to decide when they really want to have a family and if that's right for them."

She admitted having a baby later in life had been a bit harder on her body.

"But chasing around after him, it keeps me young and it keeps me on my toes."

As a higher portion of women are giving birth later teen pregnancy in New Zealand has also hit an all-time low.

Last year there were 2316 live births to females 19 and under, compared with 2409 in 2016 and 3777 in 2001.

Rotovegas Youth Health clinical leader Dr Tania Pinfold said it was important when defining teen pregnancies people remembered they weren't all an automatic problem.

"Not all teenage pregnancies are a disaster, some are intended, well supported and do very well.

"However unintended pregnancies in very young women can be problematic in many ways, long term and short term."

She said in Rotorua she was seeing very few pregnant young women.

"A combination of good quality education, at the right stages and the right place, easy access to the right services plus good contraception is probably really helping.

"Together all of these things can make a difference."