Birth rates for women aged 40-44 rose in 2003
Preliminary birth data for 2003 indicate that the birth rate for women aged 40-44 increased in 2003 while the rate for women aged 45-54 remain unchanged, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report, “Births: Preliminary Data For 2003,” shows that birth rates for women aged 40-44 rose 5 percent between 2002 and 2003 from 8.3 to
8.7 births per 1,000 women. The rate for women aged 45-54 remained unchanged at 0.5. This is the first time that births to women over 40 topped
100,000 in a single year.
Other findings in the report include:
- Birth rates for women aged 30-34 increased by 4 percent (91.5 per 1000 in 2002 versus 95.2 in 2003) from 2002 to 2003, while the rate for
women aged 35-39 rose 6 percent (41.4 per 1000 in 2002 to 43.8 in 2003).
- The teen birth rate fell for the 12th straight year, from 43.0 births per 1,000 teens aged 15-19 in 2002 to 41.7 in 2003.
- Birth rates for women aged 20-24 decreased slightly by 1 percent in 2003 (103.6 per 1000 in 2002 versus 102.6 in 2003), while for women aged
25-29 the rates increased by 2 percent (113.6 per 1000 in 2002 versus 115.7 in 2003).
- The proportion of births to unmarried women increased from 34 percent in 2002 to 34.6 percent in 2003, while the birth rate for unmarried
women grew 3 percent over the same period (43.7 per 1000 in 2002 versus 44.9 in 2003). Meanwhile, births to unmarried teenagers declined for the
fifth straight year, though the decline was slight.
The report includes other important health information, such as:
- The percent of mothers who smoked during pregnancy decreased from 11.4 percent in 2002 to 11.0 in 2003.
- The percent of women who received prenatal care within the first three months of pregnancy increased between 2002 and 2003, continuing a
pattern that began in the early 1990’s. Slightly over 84 percent of women received early prenatal care in 2003.
- The cesarean delivery rate rose for the seventh straight year. Preliminary 2003 data show that 27.6 percent of all births were cesarean
deliveries, a 6 percent increase from 2002.
- The percent of babies born preterm (less than 37 weeks of gestation) rose from 12.1 in 2002 to 12.3 in 2003, continuing its steady increase
since the mid-1990’s.
- The percent of babies born at low birth weight (under 2,500 grams) rose from 7.8 percent in 2002 to 7.9 percent in 2003. Low birth weight
has gradually increased since the mid-1980’s.
Births: Preliminary Data For 2003 was prepared by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The data was based on over 95 percent of
birth records reported to vital statistics offices in all 50 states as part of the National Vital Statistics System. The report is available at
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