Over-40s giving birth to twins on the rise

Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross gave birth to twins

THE number of women over 40 giving birth to twins and triplets in Scotland has nearly doubled in the past five years.

Figures from the General Register of Scotland also show an increase in the numbers of single children being born to older mothers since 2006.

In 2010 73 Scots women over 40 gave birth to twins or triplets, compared with 41 in 2006.

The recently published figures also reveal the numbers of babies being born to mothers over 40 is on the rise, from 1804 in 2006 to 1918 in 2010.

The number of unmarried woman in Scotland having a baby has also increased, from 658 in 2006 to 782 in 2010

A-list mums over 40 who have given birth to twins include Geena Davies, Jane Seymour and Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross.

But senior doctors are increasingly concerned by the surge in the number of older women giving birth to multiples.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have warned that older mums giving birth to twins and triplets are putting themselves at an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and pre-eclampsia.

There is also an increased risk of twins and triplets being born prematurely or suffering chromosomal abnormalities, such as downs syndrome.

Consultant Obstetrician, Dr Daghni Rajasingam, said woman over the age of 40 having twins or triplets were considered “high risk” by the NHS.

She said: “Women are having their children at an older age, and older woman have an increased need for assistant techniques, such as IVF, which leads to an increased number of woman having multiple pregnancies.

“Almost all pregnancy risks are increased when you are over the age of 40 and are increased even further when you are carrying twins or triplets”

Dr Rajasingham said risks included mother’s suffering from pre-eclampsia, babies being born early, and more woman needing C-sections.

She continued: “The baby is also put at increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities, being born pre term and longer term.

“Multiple pregnancies leads to an increased risk to the baby’s blood supplies and growth and also the use of instrumental deliveries or c-sections.

“Longer term there is also an increased risk of the baby developing type two diabetes and heart disease.”

Ros Altmann of over-50s group Saga, said, growing numbers of older woman giving birth in Scotland was a positive thing.

He said: “This is tremendous news. Women are increasingly proving that chronological age is not a barrier to many things, and what greater proof can there be than the rising numbers of over-40s having children?”