HealthDay News — The number of U.S. births decreased in 2017, reaching a 30-year low, according to a report published online May 17 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Brady E. Hamilton, PhD, from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues presented provisional data for 2017 on US births. Data for 2017 were compared with 2016 data and earlier years.

The researchers found that the provisional number of U.S. births in 2017 was 3,853,472, which was down 2% from 2016 and a 30-year low. The general fertility rate was 60.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years, which marked a record low, down 3% from 2016. For nearly all age groups of women under 40 years there was a decline in birth rates, while an increase was seen among women in their early 40s. For teenagers aged 15 to 19 years, the birth rate decreased 7% in 2017 to 18.8 births per 1,000 women, with decreases in the rates for younger and older teenagers (15 to 17 and 18 to 19, respectively). There were increases in the cesarean delivery rate and in the low-risk cesarean delivery rate to 32.0 and 26.0%, respectively, in 2017. 

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For the third year in a row, the preterm birth rate increased to 9.93%. The 2017 rate of low birthweight was 8.27 percent, which was one of the highest levels reported since 2006.

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