Vital Signs: Repeat Births Among Teens — United States, 2007–2010
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Vital Signs: Repeat Births Among Teens — United States, 2007–2010

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
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    Teen childbearing has potential negative health, economic, and social consequences for mother and child. Repeat teen childbearing further constrains the mother’s education and employment possibilities. Rates of preterm and low birth weight are higher in teens with a repeat birth, compared with first births.


    To assess patterns of repeat childbearing and postpartum contraceptive use among teens, CDC analyzed natality data from the National Vital Statistics System (U.S.) (NVSS) and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) from 2007–2010.


    Based on 2010 NVSS data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, of more than 367,000 births to teens aged 15–19 years, 18.3% were repeat births. The percentage of teen births that represented repeat births decreased by 6.2% between 2007 and 2010. Disparities in repeat teen births exist by race/ethnicity, with the highest percentages found among American Indian/Alaska Natives (21.6%), Hispanics (20.9%), and non-Hispanic blacks (20.4%) and lowest among non-Hispanic whites (14.8%). Wide geographic disparities in the percentage of teen births that were repeat births also exist, ranging from 22% in Texas to 10% in New Hampshire. PRAMS data from 16 reporting areas (15 states and New York City) indicate that 91.2% of teen mothers used a contraceptive method 2–6 months after giving birth, but only 22.4% of teen mothers used the most effective Methods. Teens with a previous live birth were significantly more likely to use the most effective Methods postpartum compared with those with no prior live birth (29.6% versus 20.9%, respectively). Non-Hispanic white and Hispanic teens were significantly more likely to use the most effective Methods than non-Hispanic black teens (24.6% and 27.9% versus 14.3%, respectively). The percentage of teens reporting postpartum use of the most effective Methods varied greatly geographically across the PRAMS reporting areas, ranging from 50.3% in Colorado to 7.2% in New York State.


    Although the prevalence of repeat teen birth has declined in recent years, nearly one in five teen births is a repeat birth. Large disparities exist in repeat teen births and use of the most effective contraceptive Methods postpartum, which was reported by fewer than one out of four teen mothers.

    Implications for Public Health Practice

    Evidence-based approaches are needed to reduce repeat teen childbearing. These include linking pregnant and parenting teens to home visiting and similar programs that address a broad range of needs, and offering postpartum contraception to teens, including long-acting Methods of reversible contraception.

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