Common myths about having a child later in life

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    (CBS News) Amid a recession, the birth rate in the United States has been falling - but not for all women.

    U.S. birth rates declined about 16 percent among women ages 15 to 24 between 2007 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Similarly, among women 25 to 29 rates went down more than 8 percent, and among women 30 to 39 rates decreased about 4 percent.

    But, when it came to women aged 40 to 44, rates rose more than 6 percent during this time. These trends continue a pattern among women of starting their families later than their mothers did that's been underway for decades, according to Elizabeth Gregory, director of women's studies at the University of Houston and research fellow on the Council on Contemporary Families. In 1970 the average age at first birth was 21, today it's over 25.

    Almost 40 percent of all U.S. babies in 2010 were born to women over 30, and almost 15 percent - 1 in 7 - were born to women 35 and over. One in four first births were to women 30 and over, and one in 12 were to women over 35.

    Though women evidently see virtues in delay, that hasn't been the case with public perception. Instead of clear analysis, there's a lot of misinformation, both about why women are delaying and what the effects of fertility are for individual families and for society at large.

    Gregory, author of "Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood," breaks down seven common myths about late motherhood.

  • CBS News Staff

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