Teen Pregnancies Decline

Friday, November 18, 2011 - 12:04pm

New report finds "sharp decline" in teen pregnancies; fewer premature births as well.

Fewer babies are having babies of their own.

The Centers for Disease Control reports the teen birth rate has hit a record low, the fourth consecutive year for a decrease.

"More teens are delaying sexual activity which is a responsible thing to do and those teens who are having sex are using contraception a bit more consistently and carefully," says Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Teens in all 50 states and in all ethnic groups were included in the declines.

The number of infants born to unmarried women also fell, as did the number of premature babies.

It's good news to the March of Dimes, which stresses that babies who are born too early are at much greater risk for health issues.

"The brain, the liver, the kidneys are all continuing to mature. The lungs are critically important and babies before 39 weeks really have much more serious problems," says the March of Dimes' Dr. Alan Fleischman.

The lowered pre-term birth rate may be linked in part to another CDC finding: The first, slight, decline in Cesarean section births since 1996.

Those who are already parents may be surprised at what teen pregnancy experts say may help continue the downward trend in teen births.

"Teens tell us over and over and over again that parents influence their decisions about sex more than their peers, more than their partners, more than popular culture," says Albert.

In our culture it seems waiting for baby is increasingly the norm.

In fact, the only increase in the CDC report was the birth rate among mothers over age 40.

The report included nearly all births recorded in the U.S. in 2010.

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