Although teen births have fallen over the past 20 years, nearly one in five teen births is a repeat birth, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 365,000 teens, ages 15 to 19, gave birth in 2010, and almost 67,000 (18.3%) of those were repeat births (defined as a second or higher pregnancy resulting in a live birth before age 20).
Almost any pregnancy during the teen years can change the lives and futures of the mother, child and family, according to a CDC news release. Infants born as a result of a repeat pregnancy also are more likely to be premature and of low birth weight.
“Teen birth rates in the United States have declined to a record low, which is good news,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a news release. “But rates are still far too high. Repeat births can negatively impact the mothers education and job opportunities as well as the health of the next generation. Teens, parents, healthcare providers and others need to do much more to reduce unintended pregnancies.”
Data from CDCs National Vital Statistics System show that repeat teen births in the United States decreased by more than 6% between 2007 and 2010. Despite this decline, the number of repeat births remains high, and there are substantial racial/ethnic and geographic differences, according to the news release.
Repeat births were highest among American Indian/Alaska Natives (21.6% of teen births), Hispanics (20.9%) and non-Hispanic blacks (20.4%), and lowest among non-Hispanic whites (14.8%).
There also were geographic disparities. Repeat births ranged from 22% of teen births in Texas to 10% in New Hampshire.
Data show that although nearly 91% of teen mothers who were sexually active used some form of contraception in the postpartum period, only 22% used contraceptives considered to be most effective (defined as those for which the risk is less than one pregnancy per 100 users in a year).
To prevent repeat teen births, healthcare providers, parents, guardians and caregivers can talk to both male and female teens about avoiding pregnancy by not having sex and can discuss with sexually active teens the most effective types of birth control to prevent repeat teen pregnancy, according to the report.
The report appears in the April issue of Vital Signs and is available at www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/TeenPregnancy/index.html.