Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that teen girls who have already given birth are more likely to have another baby in their teen years.
According to this new report, nearly one in every five children born to an American teen aged 15 to 19 also has an older sibling waiting to greet them at home. Though the national rate of teenage pregnancy has dropped over the past 20 years, the CDC claims these new findings suggest that there are “substantial racial/ethnic and geographic differences.”
In 2010, nearly 365,000 babies were born to girls aged 15 to 19 years old. The CDC found that 18.3 percent (66,761) of these babies were “repeat births,” a number which dropped by 6.2 percent between 2007 and 2010.
A total of 8,397 of these babies were the mother´s third child; 1,158 of these babies were at least the fourth child born into the family.
“Teen birth rates in the U.S. have declined to a record low, which is good news. But rates are still far too high,” said CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, in a statement.
The Vital Signs report finds that there´s a wide racial gap between these pregnancies. For instance, Native Americans and Alaska natives had the highest rate of repeat births at 21.6 percent. Hispanic teenage girls came in second with 20.9 percent, followed by non-Hispanic blacks at 20.4 percent. Non-Hispanic whites had the lowest percentage of repeat births at 14.8 percent.
The report also finds that the rate of repeat births increases depending on where these mothers are from. Teenage girls from Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas are at least 20 percent more likely to have a repeat birth than other states in the US. Texas had the largest percentage of repeat births at 22 percent, while New Hampshire had the lowest percentage at 10 percent.
Many of these mothers (91.2 percent) reported using some form of contraceptive during their postpartum period to prevent repeat births. Yet, the study found that only 22.4 percent of these girls were using a contraceptive considered to be “most effective.” These methods include an implant or an intrauterine device (IUD).
The CDC makes several suggestions to keep teenage pregnancy and repeat pregnancies down. For instance, doctors and health officials could begin talking with sexually active teens about the “most effective” types of birth control and the proper ways to use other forms of contraceptives. These health officials could also begin urging teens to space their pregnancies at least two years apart to support the health of the baby. Furthermore, teens should be warned that having so many children during their young years could hinder any career or life goals they may have.
Parents and guardians are also encouraged to talk to their teens about ways to avoid repeat births. The CDC also suggests parents and guardians check their insurance policies to see which “preventive services,” such as birth control measures, are available to them under their plan.
Finally, the CDC urges teens to abstain from having sex. If they are going to have sex, the CDC suggests using contraceptive measures correctly and discussing any sexual health issues with a trusted adult or health care professional.