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Teen birth rates in the United States have declined to the lowest rates seen in seven decades, yet they are still nine times higher than in most other developed countries and ethnic disparities continue to persist. In 2011, nearly 330,000 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years.

Teen pregnancy and childbearing bring substantial social and economic costs through immediate and long-term impacts on teen parents and their children and strains the public sector. Having a child during the teen years carries high costs—health, economic, and social—to the mother, father, child, and community. The children of teenage mothers are also more likely to have more health problems, give birth as a teenager themselves, and face unemployment as a young adult.

Prevention of teen pregnancy requires broad-based efforts including evidence-based sexual health education, support for parents in talking with their children about pregnancy prevention and other aspects of sexual and reproductive health, and ready access to effective and affordable contraception for teens who are sexually active. Parents, educators, public health and medical professionals, and community organizations all have a role to play in reducing teen pregnancy.

Beyond the Data

Dr. Tanja Popovic and Dr. Wanda Barfield discuss key points about teen pregnancy prevention:

  • Healthcare providers must build trust with teens to open lines of communication.
  • LARCS are safe and effective (LARCs are IUDs and Implants).
  • Educate boys and young men, too!
  • We are all in this together.

Presented By

LCDR Naomi K. Tepper, MD, MPH
Medical Officer, Division of Reproductive Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC
Rev. Millicent West, MEd
Consultant
New Bethlehem Community Center
Gina M. Secura, PhD, MPH
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Washington University School of Medicine
CAPT Wanda D. Barfield, MD, MPH, FAAP
Director, Division of Reproductive Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC

Facilitated By

Tanja Popovic, MD, PhD
Scientific Director
John Iskander, MD, MPH
Deputy Scientific Director
Susan Laird, MSN, RN
Communications Director

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  • Page last reviewed: January 28, 2018
  • Page last updated: January 28, 2018
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Science
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication
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