ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
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Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
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Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
ANIMAL CARE
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Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
Cane Use May Cut Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
FITNESS
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Vitamin D and Bone Health: Are You Getting Enough of This Important Vitamin?
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
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Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says

HealthDay News) -- New mothers are getting older.

In the United States, the average age of women giving birth for the first time rose from 21.4 years in 1970 to 25 in 2006, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Births to older women are partly responsible for the upward trend.

"In 1970, just 1 percent, or one in 100, [of] births were to women 35 and over," said study author T.J. Mathews, a demographer with the NCHS, which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "In 2006, it was one in 12 births. It's a dramatic transition."

On the other hand, the United States still has the youngest age of first-time mothers in the developed countries studied. In Britain, Switzerland and other nations, the average woman now has her first baby at nearly 30 years of age.

"The U.S. is only now caught up to where other countries were in 1970 [for average age of first-time mothers]," Mathews said.

Despite the surge in older moms, a high, but improving, teen birth rate keeps the U.S. figures down.

"We still do have a good number of unplanned and teen pregnancies," said Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician/gynecologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

This new data is somewhat different from past analyses.

"We hadn't really looked at the component of average age of first births," Mathews said. "In the past, we looked at all births."

And first births are an important gauge of future trends, such as how many children a woman has, which affects population, as well as birth weight and birth defects.

The trend toward later motherhood was seen in all racial and ethnic groups and in all states plus the District of Columbia, but some areas saw larger gains than others.

The biggest jumps were 5.5 years in DC, 5.2 years in Massachusetts and 5.1 years in New Hampshire.

New Mexico, Mississippi and Oklahoma had the smallest increases: 2 years, 2.3 years and 2.4 years, respectively.

Three-and-a-half decades ago, Arkansas had the youngest average age (20.2 years) while the eastern states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York had the highest (22.5 years). In 2006, Massachusetts' first-time moms were the oldest (27.7) and Mississippi's the youngest (22.6).

Among racial/ethnic groups in the United States, Asian and Pacific Islander women now have the highest average age at 28.5 years, while American Indian/Alaska Native women have the youngest at 21.9 years.

The average age for first births in non-Hispanic white women is 26 years, 22.7 years for non-Hispanic black women and 23.1 years for Hispanic women.

The upward slope was most pronounced in the 1970s and 1980s and seems to be leveling off with differences between 2006 and 2007 appearing minor.

Some reasons for delaying starting a family might include younger women choosing to focus on advanced education and careers earlier in their lives, Wu said.

SOURCES: T.J. Mathews, demographer, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Jennifer Wu, M.D., obstetrician/gynecologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City