Contraceptives Eschewed by Half of Teenage Mothers

(HealthDay News) – Of the approximately 400,000 girls aged 15–19 who give birth each year in the United States, half of those with unintended pregnancies were using no birth control at the time they became pregnant, according to data published in the Jan. 20 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Ayanna T. Harrison, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2004–2008 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System to learn why teenagers in the United States who did not want to become pregnant became pregnant.

The researchers found that about half of the teenagers were using no birth control at the time they became pregnant, with a third of those teens believing they could not become pregnant. About a quarter used condoms, considered moderately effective; about 5% used rhythm or withdrawal methods, considered the least effective; and less than 1% used intrauterine devices, considered one of the most effective methods.

“To decrease teen birth rates, efforts are needed to reduce or delay the onset of sexual activity, provide factual information about the conditions under which pregnancy can occur, increase teens’ motivation and negotiation skills for pregnancy prevention, improve access to contraceptives, and encourage use of more effective contraceptive methods,” the authors write.

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