Good news about teen pregnancy

The Pediatric Insider

© 2012 Roy Benaroch, MD

It might not have the snappiest title, but a new government report, “Estimated Pregnancy Rates and Rates of Pregnancy Outcomes for the United States, 1990-2008”, reveals some good news and other facts about how babies are being born.

Teen pregnancy rates have been dropping pretty steadily each year since these statistics have been kept. Since 1976, the rate has fallen from about 150 per 1000 teen women per year to about 120 in 2008. The abortion rate has also fallen, from a high of about 60 per 1000 in the 1980s to about 30 in 2008. Similar trends can be seen when you look at younger versus older teens. There remains, however, a distressing disparity among minorities, with a continued rate of pregnancy among non-hispanic black and hispanic teens versus non-hispanic white teens across all of the years.

At the same time, the rate of pregnancy among 20-somethings has fallen, while more and more women in the 40s are having children.

Some underlying factors seem to include:

  • Better access to contraception, especially to long-acting and passive products, for women of all ages.
  • Delayed age of beginning intercourse.
  • Delayed age of marriage, and more married couples and unmarried singles and non-traditional families deciding to have children later.

I haven’t seen much about falling teen pregnancy rates in the media, which sometimes seems to relish scary over accurate news. But from what I’ve seen, teens seem like they’re ready to make the right decisions. Let’s give credit where it’s due.

Explore posts in the same categories: In the news

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