CDC Releases a New Vital Signs Report:
Preventing Teen Pregnancy
Teen births continue to decline in the U.S., but still more than 273,000 infants were born to teens ages 15 to 19 in 2013. Childbearing during the teen years can carry health, economic, and social costs for mothers and their children.
The good news is that more teens are waiting to have sex, and of those who are sexually active, nearly 90 percent used birth control the last time they had sex. Data show that teens most often use condoms and birth control pills which, when not used consistently and correctly, are less effective for preventing pregnancy. According to this month’s Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, increasing access to Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) is one way to further reduce teen pregnancy.
LARC – intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants – is the most effective type of reversible birth control. LARC is safe to use, does not require taking a pill every day or doing something every time before having sex, and, depending on the method, can be used to prevent pregnancy for three to 10 years. Less than one percent of LARC users become pregnant during the first year of use. Major professional societies, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), have endorsed LARC as a first-line contraceptive choice for teens.
May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. This Vital Signs report was created to help the nation’s communities continue the dialogue about teen pregnancy and its health and social consequences for youth.
Vital Signs is a CDC report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, or MMWR. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators. These are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care-associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, and food safety.