Over 80% of teenage pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended; approximately one third end in abortion, one third end in spontaneous miscarriage, and one third will continue their pregnancy and keep their baby.
And while those numbers are surprising, a new Vital Signs report from the CDC revealed over 365,000 teenagers, ranging in age from 15 to 19 years, gave birth in 2010, and nearly 67,000 (18.3%) of those girls had given birth to at least one child before, also referred to as a repeat birth.
Lack of prenatal care during pregnancy and high blood pressure are just a couple risks associated with teen pregnancies. Babies born as an outcome of a repeat pregnancy also have an increased likelihood of being prematurely and have a low birth weight.
“Teen birth rates in the United States have declined to a record low, which is good news. But rates are still far too high. Repeat births can negatively impact the mother’s education and job opportunities as well as the health of the next generation. Teens, parents, health care providers, and others need to do much more to reduce unintended pregnancies.”
Repeat teen births in the U.S. have reduced by over 6% between 2007 and 2010, data from CDC’s National Vital Statistics System demonstrated. However, the number of repeat births is still elevated and there are considerable differences between racial/ethnic and geographic groups.
Repeat teen births were lowest among non-Hispanic whites (14.8%) and highest among:
- American Indian/Alaska Natives – 21.6%
- Hispanics – 20.9%
- Non-Hispanic blacks – 20.4%
Geographic disparities ranged from:
- a high of 22% in Texas
- a low of 10% in New Hampshire /li>
In 2010 the CDC partnered with the federal Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) to reduce teenage pregnancy and address disparities in teen pregnancy and birth rates.
Their program involves five key components to be addressed through the program including:
- Component 1: Community Mobilization and Sustainability – Engaging all sectors of the population in a community wide effort to address teen pregnancy prevention. Community mobilization supports the sustainability of teen pregnancy prevention efforts by empowering community members and groups to take action to facilitate change. This component includes mobilizing necessary resources, disseminating information, generating support, and fostering cooperation across public and private sectors in the community.
- Component 2: Evidence-Based Programs – Providing teens with evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs, including youth development and curriculum-based programs that reduce teen pregnancy and associated risk factors.
- Component 3: Increasing Youth Access to Contraceptive and Reproductive Health Care Services – Ensuring clinical partners are providing teen friendly, culturally competent reproductive health care services that are easily accessible to all youth in the community, and establishing linkages between teen pregnancy prevention program partners and clinics that serve at risk youth from the target community.
- Component 4: Stakeholder Education – Educating civic leaders, parents, and other community members about evidence-based strategies to reduce teen pregnancy and improve adolescent reproductive health, including needs and available resources in the target community.
- Component 5: Working with Diverse Communities – Raising awareness of community partners about the link between teen pregnancy and social determinants of health, and ensuring culturally and linguistically appropriate programs and reproductive health care services are available to youth.
Their goal is the further reduce the teen birth rates by 10% in targeted communities, increase the percentage of youth who abstain from or delay sexual intercourse and increase the consistent and correct use of condoms and other effective methods of contraception among sexually active youth.