40 Not The New 20, But More Older Women Giving Birth

By Marilyn Meyer
The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Dr. James B. Mammel, a board-certified fellowship-trained obstetrician and gynecologist says part of the reason more older women are giving birth is that it is now safer and easier to determine and monitor the health of the fetus earlier in pregnancy.

The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.

It is still rare for women who are 40 and older to give birth, but in Polk County that number has doubled in the past 20 years.

The numbers remain so low in Polk County they are looked at in rolling three-year averages. Still there’s a big shift.

From 1994 through 1996, 191 women age 40 to 49 had babies. From 2013 to 2015, the number had risen to 413, according to statistics from the Florida Department of Health.

Among the local women who are just starting families or are still adding to their families in their 40s are:

Anne Gonzalez of Lakeland, who at age 43 gave birth to her first child, daughter Jane Anne, now 9.

Molly Stricklen of Alturas, who at age 44 gave birth to daughter Charity, now 5, and at age 41 gave birth to son Nathaniel, now 7. Nathaniel and Charity are children No. 7 and 8 for Stricklen.

Stephanie Rovira of Lakeland, who at age 43 gave birth to daughter Sara, now 7 months old. Sara is her fourth child.

Tracy Ackroyd Howe of Clermont, who at age 41 gave birth to her first child, Cassidy, now nearly 5 months old. Howe is a Polk County native who formerly was the town clerk of Dundee.

Their pregnancy experiences are as different as their stories.

“Over the past 10 to 15 years, we are seeing an increasing number of older mothers,” said Dr. James B. Mammel, a board-certified fellowship-trained obstetrician and gynecologist who practices with Watson Clinic of Lakeland.

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