Delivering Babies Under Age 30 Causes More Childhood Deaths, UK Study


Children born to young mothers (under age 30) are more likely to die in childhood than those born to older mums, according to a research led by University College of London, Institute of Child Health.

The researchers arrived at the conclusion after studying death registration data from January 1980 to December 2010 which included child injuries, birth weight and maternal age.

In England, Scotland and Wales, the difference in mortality rates of children born to mothers under 30 and those born to mothers aged 30 to 34 was 11 percent. This figure represents all child deaths up to nine years old.

The biggest difference in deaths was observed in infants aged from one month to one year. Around 22 percent of deaths in the U.K. were due to 'unexplained causes, which are strongly associated with maternal alcohol use, smoking and deprivation.'

Experts also discovered that 3.8 percent of all children who died belonged to mothers who became pregnant below the age of 20.

The research claimed that failure of the policy that support first-time teen mothers might be one of the reasons for the calamity. According to BBC, women below 30 represent 52 percent of all births in the UK.

"Young maternal age at birth is becoming a marker of social disadvantage as women who have been through higher education and those with career prospects are more likely to postpone pregnancy until their 30s. Universal policies are needed to address the disparities," Ruth Gilbert, lead researcher and professor of clinical epidemiology at UCL Institute of Child Health told BBC.

The study was commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership and published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

"Disadvantage and maternal age are factors often associated with child deaths. The government has recognised the vulnerability of the children of teenage mothers and given these families extra help with parenting, Jill Rutter, head of policy and research at the Family and Childcare Trust, told the BBC.

"In England the Family Nurse Partnership is an intensive, structured, home-visiting programme, which is offered to first-time parents under the age of 20. A specially trained nurse visits regularly from early pregnancy until the child is two years old. This project has excellent results, but is not available to older mothers. We would like the Family Nurse Partnership to be extended to take older mothers who need help," Rutter said.

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