U.S. Teen Births Hit Historic Low
Jim LiebeltJim Liebelt's Blog
- 2017 May 30
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.
Teen births continue to decline in the United States, with health officials reporting a 9 percent drop from 2013 to 2014.
Births to 15- to 19-year-olds fell to a historic low of 24 births per 1,000 women in 2014, said Sherry Murphy, a statistician at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
At the same time, the proportion of births to women 30 and older increased, said Murphy, lead author of the report.
For the report, the researchers used 2013-2014 records that included birth certificates, death certificates and reports of fetal death across the United States.
Dr. Paul Jarris, chief medical officer at the March of Dimes, suggested that the decline in teen births may have a social component, namely that being pregnant has become less acceptable among teens.
In addition, more teens have access to birth control -- especially long-lasting intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants that act passively to prevent pregnancy. These methods mean that girls don't have to remember to take a birth control pill every day or make sure their partner uses a condom, Jarris said.
The decline in teen birth rates is a plus for several reasons, said Jarris, who was not involved with the study. Teens are less likely than adults to have good prenatal care, and they have a higher risk of pregnancy complications, according to the March of Dimes.
Teen moms also often experience poverty, loneliness and lose out on educational opportunities -- hurdles that can pose health risks for mother and child, he added.