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D. The Rise Of Childbearing Over Forty

Narrator: This is Science Today. Having children after forty used to be considered risky for both mother and child. And while fortysomething moms DO have a greater risk of complications and caesarean sections, the majority of these outcomes are very good. Dr. William Gilbert of the University of California, Davis says the former risks are also not as applicable to today's population.

Gilbert: Some of the older information of women over forty came from women who were having their seventh or eighth or ninth baby and having your seventh or eighth or ninth baby put you at increased risk of many things - including hemorrhage, blood clots and so forth. And that may have had an effect on people's perception of older women.

Narrator: But today, Gilbert says about two percent of the population are giving birth for the first time after forty and that rate may double in about ten years.

Gilbert: As more women over forty having their first baby and these outcomes are good, hopefully the anxiety level of the patient as well as the physician will decrease to the point that we say, >oh, this is like somebody who's thirty-five or thirty.'

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.