Posted by on April 11, 2015 - 9:37am

Teen childbearing can carry health, economic, and social costs for mothers and their children. Teen births in the US have declined, but still more than 273,000 infants were born to teens ages 15 to 19 in 2013. The good news is that more teens are waiting to have sex, and for sexually active teens, nearly 90% used birth control the last time they had sex. However, teens most often use condoms and birth control pills, which are less effective at preventing pregnancy when not used consistently and correctly.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, known as Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC), are the most effective types of birth control for teens. LARC is safe to use, does not require taking a pill each day or doing something each time before having sex, and can prevent pregnancy for 3 to 10 years, depending on the method. Less than 1% of LARC users would become pregnant during the first year of use.

Few teens (ages 15 to 19) on birth control use the most effective types.

  • Less than 5% of teens on birth control use LARC.
  • Most teens use birth control pills and condoms, methods which are less effective at preventing pregnancy when not used properly.
  • There are several barriers for teens who might consider LARC:
    • Many teens know very little about LARC.
    • Some teens mistakenly think they cannot use LARC because of their age.
  • Clinics also report barriers:
    • High upfront costs for supplies.
    • Providers may lack awareness about the safety and effectiveness of LARC for teens.
    • Providers may lack training on insertion and removal.

Providers can take steps to increase awareness and availability of LARC.

  • Title X is a federal grant program supporting confidential family planning and related preventive services with priority for low-income clients and teens.*
    • Title X-funded centers have used the latest clinical guidelines on LARC, trained providers on LARC insertion and removal, and secured low- or no-cost options for birth control.
    • Teen use of LARC has increased from less than 1% in 2005 to 7% in 2013.
  • Other state and local programs have made similar efforts.
    • More teens and young women chose LARC, resulting in fewer unplanned pregnancies.

Source:  CDC.

Posted by on November 23, 2011 - 8:58am

The birth rate for U.S. teens aged 15–19 years hit a record low in 2010, according to a report released on November 17, 2011 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Births: Preliminary Data for 2010,” from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics is based on an analysis of nearly 100 percent of birth records collected in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

The birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 has declined for the last three years and 17 out of the past 19 years, falling to 34.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in 2010 – a 9 percent decline from 2009 and the lowest rate ever recorded in nearly seven decades of collecting data.  Birth rates for younger and older teenagers and for all race/ethnic groups reached historic lows in 2010.

The report also documented the first decline in the rate of cesarean deliveries since 1996.  In 2010, the cesarean section rate was 32.8, down slightly from 32.9 in 2009.

The full report which includes other interesting findings click HERE.

Posted by on June 22, 2011 - 9:18am

Too often, teen pregnancy is thought of as an adolescent female's problem, but as they say, it takes two to tango. Of the approximately 10 million adolescent males aged 12 to 16 in 1996, a national study revealed that almost one in 10 became fathers before their 20th birthday(1). The Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) notes the special challenges that teen fathers and their children face.

Many teen fathers are eager to play an important role in their child's life. However, emotional attachment can be difficult as the majority of teen fathers do not live with their child. Also, adolescent fathers typically have poorer earnings potential than their peers who delay parenthood, in part because of lower educational attainment (although many males were already behind in school before they fathered a child).(2) Research shows that only 50 percent of teen fathers who have children before they are 18 finish high school or get their GED by age 22. Just under half of teenage fathers continue on to father more children by their early- to mid-20's.

Children of adolescent fathers often face challenges as well. Studies have found that children who live apart from their fathers are more likely to be reared in low-income homes and are at an increased risk for poor health.(3,4) Also, recent research shows that sons of adolescent fathers are nearly twice as likely to repeat the cycle of young parenthood and become teenage dads themselves.(5)

June is Men's Health Month, a time when adolescent males can recognize the importance of caring for their overall health. Adolescent males tend to be more physically active than females, yet they are also more likely to have behavioral problems, including conduct disorders and ADHD, and to be diagnosed with certain STDs, such as syphilis and HIV. Therefore, screening for these and other conditions is an important step in identifying health issues and getting treatment.

Parents and other caring adults in an adolescent male's life can encourage healthy behaviors and growth by setting good examples and establishing open lines of communication. Resources are available for adolescent males and those that care about them:

HHS' Men's Health Month page has tips on how to connect with your adolescent male on health issues; adolescent males can also learn how to make healthy and responsible choices at the Office on Women's Health's Men's Health Teen page.
, the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, has a resource page for teen dads, and expecting teen dads, to help them play an important role in their child's life from the very beginning.

1 Analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997.

2 Ibid.

3 The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Why it Matters: Teen Pregnancy and Responsible Fatherhood.

4 Nock, S.L., & Einolf, C.J. (2008). The One Hundred Billion Dollar Man: The Annual Public Costs of Father Absence. The National Fatherhood Initiative (

5 Fletcher, J.M. & Wolfe, B.L. (2011). The Effects of Teenage Fatherhood on Young Adult Outcomes. Economic Inquiry, 49: no. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-7295.2011.00372.x

Posted by on June 2, 2011 - 8:57am

In 2009, a total of  409,840 infants were born to 15−19 year olds, for a live birth rate of 39.1 per 1,000 women in this age group. Nearly two-thirds of births to women younger than age 18 and more than half of those among 18−19 year olds are unintended. The US teen birth rate fell by more than one-third from 1991 through 2005, but then increased by 5 percent over two consecutive years. Data for 2008 and 2009, however, indicate that the long-term downward trend has resumed. The U.S. teen pregnancy and birth, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and abortion rates are substantially higher than those of other western industrialized nations.

Teen pregnancy and childbearing bring substantial social and economic costs through immediate and long-term impacts on teen parents and their children.

Teen pregnancy accounts for more than $9 billion per year in costs to U.S. taxpayers for increased health care and foster care, increased incarceration rates among children of teen parents, and lost tax revenue because of lower educational attainment and income among teen mothers. Pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school drop out rates among girls. Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by age 22, versus nearly 90% of women who had not given birth during adolescence.

The children of teenage mothers are more likely to have lower school achievement and drop out of high school, have more health problems, be incarcerated at some time during adolescence, give birth as a teenager, and face unemployment as a young adult.    These effects remain for the teen mother and her child even after adjusting for those factors that increased the teenager’s risk for pregnancy; such as, growing up in poverty, having parents with low levels of education, growing up in a single-parent family, and having low attachment to and performance in school.

Teen pregnancy prevention is one of  the Center for Disease Prevention and Control's (CDC)  top six priorities, a “winnable battle” in public health and of paramount importance to health and quality of life for our youth.

Evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs typically address specific protective factors on the basis of  knowledge, skills, beliefs, or attitudes related to teen pregnancy.  Topics that should be included in a pregnancy prevention programs are:

  • Knowledge of sexual issues, HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy (including methods of prevention).
  • Perception of HIV risk.
  • Personal values about sex and abstinence.
  • Attitudes toward condoms (pro and con).
  • Perception of peer norms and behavior about sex.
  • Individual ability to refuse sex and to use condoms.
  • Intent to abstain from sex, or limit number of partners.
  • Communication with parents or other adults about sex, condoms, and contraception.
  • Individual ability to avoid HIV/STD risk and risk behaviors.
  • Avoidance of places and situations that might lead to sex.
  • Intent to use a condom.

Non-Hispanic black youth, Hispanic/Latino youth, American Indian/Alaska Native youth, and socioeconomically disadvantaged youth of any race or ethnicity experience the highest rates of teen pregnancy and childbirth. Together, black and Hispanic youth comprise nearly 60% of U.S. teen births in 2009, although they represent only 35% of the total population of 15–19 year old females. CDC is focusing on these priority populations because of the need for greater public health efforts to improve the life trajectories of adolescents facing significant health disparities, as well as to have the greatest impact on overall U.S. teen birth rates. Other priority populations for CDC’s teen pregnancy prevention efforts include youth in foster care and the juvenile justice system, and otherwise living in conditions of risk.

Sources:  CDC, National Vital Statistics Reports and the Guttmacher Institute.