Background: Delayed motherhood is a common phenomenon in the developed world, where the age at first delivery is around 30 years. In Chile the National Institute of Statistics established that this age has remained around 23 years for more than two decades. Motherhood postponement may be modulated by socioeconomic status.
Aim: To determine whether the age at first delivery is higher in a private clinic compared to a public hospital.
Patients and methods: Two cohorts of primiparous women delivering in 1998 and 2008 in the public hospital San Borja Arriarán (HSBA) and a private setting Clínica Las Condes (CLC), were analyzed.
Results: The age of all delivering women was significantly lower in HSBA than in CLC in both study periods (26.3 ± 0.8 and 25.7 ± 0.9 compared to 31.6 ± 0.1 and 32.7 ± 0.1 years, respectively). Likewise, the frequency of adolescent pregnancy was significantly higher in HSBA than CLC in both study periods (38.8 and 42.2% compared to 1.7 and 1.6% respectively). The age at first delivery was significantly lower in both periods in HSBA (21.8 and 21.3 years compared to 28.6 and 30.6 years, respectively). Excluding primiparous women of less than 20 years, the difference in age was smaller, but remained still significant (24.6 and 24.2 versus 29.9 and 31.0 years, respectively).
Conclusions: In Santiago, the postponement of motherhood is more marked among women of high socioeconomic status.