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One in 5 Teen Births Is Now a Repeat Birth, Study Finds

Effective contraception and support programs may reduce the trend, CDC researchers suggest

TUESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Despite a decline in the prevalence of repeat teen births in recent years, nearly 20 percent of all teen births are a repeat birth with significant racial/ethnical and geographical variations, according to research published April 2 in Vital Signs, a section of the Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Lorrie Gavin, Ph.D., of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed natality data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) to determine the patterns of repeat births and postpartum contraceptive use among teens from 2007 and 2010.

According to the researchers, among 364,859 births in 2010 to teens aged 15 to 19, 18.3 percent were repeat births. The percentage of repeat teen births declined by 6.2 percent from 2007 to 2010. The prevalence of repeat teen births varied by race/ethnicity and by geographic areas. Repeat teen births were highest among American Indians/ Alaska Natives (21.6 percent) and those residing in Texas (22 percent). Data from PRAMS revealed that 91.2 percent of teen mothers who were sexually active used a contraceptive method two to six months after giving birth, but only 22.4 percent used the most effective methods. The use of effective contraceptive methods also varied by race/ethnicity and geographic areas.

"The findings in this report suggest that many teen mothers are taking steps in the postpartum period to prevent repeat pregnancy," the authors write. "Previous research has shown that these efforts can be supported by linking pregnant and parenting teens to home visiting programs and other sources of support, as well as health care that includes counseling about and provision of contraception."

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