(Ohio) – In 2017, a total of 194,377 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a birth rate of 18.8 per 1,000 women in this age group.
This is another record low for U.S. teens and a drop of 7% from 2016. Birth rates fell 10% for women aged 15–17 years and 6% for women aged 18–19 years.
Every May, the nation turns its attention to teen pregnancy prevention for a full month. National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM) highlights the historic declines in the rates of teen births in the United States. Significant declines have occurred in all 50 states and among all racial/ethnic groups, yet disparities continue.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that although reasons for the declines are not totally clear, evidence suggests these declines are due to more teens abstaining from sexual activity, and more teens who are sexually active using birth control than in previous years.
Still, the U.S. teen pregnancy rate is substantially higher than in other western industrialized nations5, and racial/ethnic and geographic disparities in teen birth rates persist.
The Importance of Prevention
The CDC notes that teen pregnancy and childbearing bring substantial social and economic costs through immediate and long-term impacts on teen parents and their children.
- Pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school dropout rates among girls. Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, whereas approximately 90% of women who do not give birth during adolescence graduate from high school.
- The children of teenage mothers are more likely to have lower school achievement and to 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.
- On a positive note, between 1991 and 2015, the teen birth rate dropped 64%, which resulted in $4.4 billion in public savings in 2015 alone.
Parent and Guardian Resources
Parents have a strong impact on whether a teenager makes healthy decisions for himself or herself. This goes for making healthy decisions about sex, as well. Research shows that teens who talk with their parents about sex, relationships, birth control, and pregnancy—
- Begin to have sex at a later age.
- Use condoms and birth control more often if they do have sex.
- Have better communication with romantic partners.
- Have sex less often.
Here are some resources—specifically for parents—where you can find information and tips to help you talk with your teen about sex, birth control, relationships, pregnancy, and other related topics.
Office of Adolescent Health: Talking with TeensExternal
Research confirms what young people already know—what their parents have to say matters to teens. That’s why parents play a powerful role in helping adolescents make healthy decisions about sex, sexuality, and relationships. But if you think talking to your son or daughter about sex is tough, or it makes you nervous, know that you’re not alone. Lots of other parents feel the same way.
CDC’s Parent Portal
Information from across all of CDC for parents, covering everything from safety at home and in the community to immunization schedules and developmental milestones for ages 0–19 years.
Advocates for YouthExternal
A resource for parents with Frequently Asked Questions, information on the importance of parents as sex educators, and tips on talking with teens.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Healthy Children: Teen Dating and SexExternal
Information designed especially for parents about information on all stages of child and adolescent development. This teen section provides information from pediatricians on talking with teens about numerous topics related to sex, sexuality, healthy relationships, and birth control.
National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: Parent’s PortalExternal
Tips and resources for talking with teen sons and daughters about sex and relationships, discussion guides, blogs, and videos.
Find a family planning clinic near youExternal
Family planning clinics across the country are available to provide women and men with reproductive health care. This clinic locator is provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Population Affairs (OPA). OPA serves as a focal point on a wide range of reproductive health care services and topics, including adolescent pregnancy, family planning, and other population issues.
Healthy Tip Tuesday is brought to you by Trinity Hospital Twin City.