Marla Ahlgrimm | Teen Pregnancy in the United States

Marla AhlgrimmTeen pregnancy rates in the US have declined drastically over the last 25 years, says Marla Ahlgrimm, a women’s health expert and author of The HRT Solution. In 2015, the number of live births to high-school age mothers was 249,078, which represents a birth rate of 22 in 1000 in this age group; in 1991, that number was 62 in 1,000.

Marla Ahlgrimm says the exact reasons for the sharp drop in teen pregnancy is not clear, though a cultural shift toward delaying sexual activity and widespread availability of birth control may have contributed.

A racial divide

Teen pregnancy rates vary between ethnicities, says Marla Ahlgrimm. Hispanic girls were the most likely to conceive between the ages of 15 and 19 (41 in 1000) followed by African American girls (39 in 1000). Caucasian females had lower numbers (18 in 1000) with young Asian women experiencing the lowest number of teenage pregnancies (9 in 1000). Socioeconomic factors, including access to education, family stability, and income all play a role in the occurrence of teen pregnancies. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that girls in the foster care system are more than twice as likely to have a baby as their peers in a family environment.

Prevention

Marla Ahlgrimm stresses that abstinence is the only foolproof method of birth control. However, parents of teenagers can greatly influence their children’s decision to sustain from unprotected sex. Studies have found that parents who are open with their teens about sexual and emotional values, closely monitor their adolescent children’s behavior, and encourage life choices that make pregnancy less attractive are not as likely to become young grandparents.

Teenage pregnancy poses many risks to the mother. Mothers younger than 20-years old are more likely to suffer anemia, high blood pressure, and preterm birth. According to the Centers for Disease Control, teen pregnancy is one of the top preventable conditions in healthcare today.

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