It’s a question for the ages

Jessica Tearne with Kate Hunter and daughter Maggie Edgerton. Ms Tearne is researching the rise in pregnancy age. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d421332
Jessica Tearne with Kate Hunter and daughter Maggie Edgerton. Ms Tearne is researching the rise in pregnancy age. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d421332

University of WA clinical psychologist PhD student Jessica Tearne is working with the Telethon Kids Institute to investigate why WA women are delaying pregnancy.

Ms Tearne said she wanted mothers aged 35 and over, who were either pregnant or had their first child in the past 18 months, to complete a short anonymous online questionnaire.

‘We know a lot about the physical health implications for kids in terms of having an older mum, but we know next to nothing about mental health and behaviour,’ she said.

‘Older mums tend to be more educated, have high-flying careers and earn more money.

‘It might be to do with relationships or medical reasons; things like IVF and contraception might also encourage women to delay pregnancy.

‘Today the median age at which women give birth is about 31 years, but two decades ago it was in the early 20s.

‘That is a massive shift, and we want to pin down exactly what impact it is having.’

Claremont resident Kate Hunter (36) said she was walking around Lake Claremont with her eight-month-old daughter Maggie last week when she struck up the ‘age debate’ with a group of mothers.

‘The one prevalent answer was that we just wanted to have our fun, we wanted to travel and experience life before we settled down,’ she said.

Visit telethonkids.org.au or complete the questionnaire at http://tinyurl.com/|otu8hfn.