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Late bloomers Swiss first time mothers among the oldest

A newborn infant, pictured at the maternity unit of the Triemli Hospital in Zurich

(Keystone)

Women in Switzerland are on average the third oldest in Europe - at age 30.6 - when they give birth to their first child, according to the latest statistics. Only women in Italy and Spain are older.

First time mothers are the youngest in Bulgaria and Romania, at 26 years old and 26.3 years old, respectively, according to statistics released by Eurostatexternal link on March 8. They are over 30 in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Greece.

The average age across the European Union – of which Switzerland is not a member – was 29 years old.

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The trend of mothers choosing to have children later in life in Switzerland is well known. The number of younger mothers has been falling since the 1970s, when about a third of all births were to women under the age of 25. By 2005, it was only 7%.

However, the number of women aged 35 or older who had children virtually tripled during this time, from around 10% to more than 30%.

Switzerland’s fertility rate of 1.54 per woman puts it close to the European average in 2015.

Only France (1.96) and Ireland (1.92) had fertility rates close to the estimated population replacement level for development countries of 2.1.

The lowest rates were in Portugal (1.31), Cyprus and Poland (both 1.32). Spain had 1.33 and Italy 1.35.

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