A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that among teenagers in the United States, repeat births are down and use of postpartum contraceptives is up. More counseling of teenagers on contraception is necessary, however, because 1 in 3 who had previously given birth reported using a least effective method or none at all.
Published in MMWR, the findings are from an analysis of data from the National Vital Statistics System natality files from 2004 and 2015 and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) from 2004 through 2013. The natality files are compiled annually by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics while PRAMS is an ongoing population-based surveillance system.
Reviewing the natality data, the authors found that the number of repeat teen births declined 53.8%, from 82,997 in 2004 to 38,324 in 2015, as did the percentage, from 20.1% to 16.7%. The drop in percentage of repeat teen births was most pronounced among blacks at 21.8% followed by Hispanics (16.8%), and whites (13.9%. No state saw a significant increase in repeat teen births and in 35 states, the decline in percentage of teen births that were repeats was significant.
Of the teens who had a recent live birth in 2013, 82.8% reported using postpartum contraceptives. However, the method was a least effective one for 15.7%, moderately effective for 40.2% of the teens, and a most effective form of contraception for 26.9% of the teens. Least effective methods included condoms, diaphragms, and withdrawal. The pill, an injectable, and a patch were among the moderately effective contraceptives. The most effective forms of contraception were the contraceptive implant and intrauterine device.
Commenting on the findings, the CDC authors noted that “further reducing repeat births among teens requires ensuring access to the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved methods of contraception during the postpartum period and increased use of moderately effective and most effective methods.”