Birth rate in Flanders continues to fall

The birth rate in Flanders declined again last year following a one-off increase in 2021, according to the annual report on births and deliveries by the Study Centre for Perinatal Epidemiology. There were 61,872 babies born in the region in 2022.

From 2013 to 2022, the number of births in Flanders decreased by 7.9 per cent, from 67,191 to 61,872. In 2021, the number increased by 4.2 per cent compared to 2020. In 2022, the number fell back to the level of 2020.

The average age of mothers giving birth is 31.1 years, compared to 30 in 2013. The average age of a mother at the birth of her first child is 29.6 years, while for a woman giving birth who already has children, it is 32.3 years.

For 5,539 women, pregnancy was possible after fertility treatment, leading to the birth of twins for 236 women.

Possible complications

At the beginning of pregnancy, more than four in 10 Flemish women have a body mass index above 25. Over 26 per cent are overweight, and almost 16 per cent are obese. According to the report, the share of mothers who are overweight is increasing "alarmingly quickly", from 34 per cent in 2013 to 42 per cent in 2022.

Women with a high BMI during pregnancy are at a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes or hypertension and requiring a caesarean section. The proportion of mothers with diabetes increased from just over 3 per cent in 2013 to almost 9 per cent in 2022, with the increase occurring mainly in recent years. Improved screening and diagnosis likely play a role in this increase.


#FlandersNewsService | © JOHN STILLWELL / POOL / AFP

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