More Seoul women delay childbirth

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More Seoul women delay childbirth

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More women in Seoul are waiting longer to have children, new statistics released by the Seoul Metropolitan Government show.

According to figures about its citizens calculated from last year, the age at which women in Seoul gave birth to their first child averaged 31.5, nearly five years older than the average in 1993 at 26.8. Last year, 74 percent of new mothers were in their 30s.

The average general childbearing age for women in Seoul also increased last year to 32.5, from 28 in 1993.

Most new mothers’ ages ranged between 30 and 34, making up 53.6 percent. They were followed by 35- to 39-year-olds (20.6 percent); 25- to 29-year-olds (19.6 percent); and 20- to 24-year-olds (2.9 percent).

Those between 35 and 39 years old outpaced those between 25 and 29 for the first time last year.

Those numbers stand in stark contrast to those in 1993. In that year, women 25 to 29 years old accounted for 54 percent of new mothers, while those between 30 and 34 made up 22.1 percent. Women aged 35 to 39 - the second-largest group in 2013 - came in fourth, accounting for only 3.9 percent. Many medical experts say that women who wait to have children potentially face greater risks of developing certain health problems or complications.

According to the Seoul Medical Center, 91 of the 47,545 pregnant women who visited the hospital from 1994 to 2012, had previously been diagnosed with cancer, with the frequency increasing over time.

Twelve expectant mothers were diagnosed between 1994 and 1999. That increased to 33 between 2000 and 2005, and 46 between 2006 and 2012.

“Pregnancy at an older age doesn’t seem to be related to getting cancer,” said Professor Choi Seok-ju, who led the study. “The risk of cancer naturally increases as a person gets older, and it is likely that they were diagnosed with cancer when they were examined for their pregnancy.”

If cancer is detected, pregnant women are advised to talk to their doctors to come up with the best solution. Chemotherapy is typically safe enough to treat pregnant women.

One new mother mentioned in the study who had her first child last year was diagnosed with colon cancer during her pregnancy. She underwent an operation to treat her condition and gave birth via a cesarean. Both mother baby and are now healthy and well.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

















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