Most Croatian First-Time Mothers Aged over 30

By 7 August 2022

ZAGREB, 7 August, 2022 - Maternity hospitals in Croatia reported 36,346 deliveries in 2021, with 36,991 children born, of whom 36,854 were live births and 137 stillbirths, the Jutarnji List daily said earlier this week, quoting a report by the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ).

The report confirms some of the trends in the last decade, including the fact that the age of first-time mothers has been moving upward, that more and more babies are delivered by C-section and that the number of births among girls under 14 has been dropping.

The report shows that 33.71% of new mothers were aged 30-34, as many as 20.05% were aged 35-39, while 28.11% were aged 25-29. The good news is that there were only three births by women aged 14 or under, says the daily.

The number of younger adult women who became mothers in 2021 was 466, as against 752 five years ago.

Experts say that the fact that more and more women give birth for the first time after the age of 30 is due to the longer time needed for education, later employment, as well as the inability to solve their housing problems, and changes in society's attitude to family.

It is nonetheless worrying that fewer and fewer women opt for motherhood at the biologically and medically optimal age. In parallel with the increase in the age of first-time mothers, the number of couples who seek medical help because of infertility has been growing as well.

The age of first-time mothers has seen a significant increase since 2016, while in the years before 2016, most first-time mothers were aged 25-29.

One of the indicators of medical development is the share of live births by women above 35 in developed countries, including Croatia. For example, in 1995 that share was 9.16%, and two years ago, it was 23.58%, similar to Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria.

The HZJZ report also confirms a trend of a decreasing number of miscarriages and increasing number of C-section deliveries. In 2021, 25,719 women had a spontaneous vaginal delivery, while 10,016 or 27.6% gave birth by C-section.