As teen birth rates rise, so do health risks to babies

By • Published: March 26th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

More American teens are becoming mothers. Nationwide, the teen birth rate rose in 2006 for the first time in more than a decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of live births by women ages fifteen to nineteen rose three percent in 2006. From 1991 to 2005, the nation’s teen birth rate had been on a decline.

The C-D-C’s latest report shows teen birth rates vary widely by state and region. For example, the state with the lowest teen birth rate, New Hampshire, saw about nineteen births per one-thousand women in 2006, while Mississippi had the highest teen birth rate, with about sixty-eight births per one-thousand women. The South and Southwest had the highest teen birth rates, and northeastern states had the lowest.

At the same time, the birth rate for girls ages ten to fourteen decreased slightly in 2006.

C-D-C statistics also showed certain health risks for babies are on the rise. The percentage of babies born preterm, or before thirty-seven weeks in the womb, rose twenty percent between 1990 and 2006.

Too little time in the womb puts babies more at risk for cerebral palsy, developmental delays and other health problems.

Children of teenage mothers are more likely to be born premature, but this is just one of several factors that can cause babies to arrive preterm or underweight.

If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor. Proper prenatal care can give your baby the best start possible.