May 1, 2013
Concord, NH – New Hampshire’s teen birth rate remains the lowest and can now claim the lowest teen repeat birth rate, as well. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is recognizing May as National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, which is aimed at raising awareness about the impacts of teen pregnancy and education about prevention. According to a recent Vital Signs report of teen births issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New Hampshire has the lowest rate in the nation of repeat births among teenagers. The report states that nearly 1 in 5 births among teenagers are not their first child. The rate in New Hampshire is in the lowest category, below 15%.
In 2012, the teen birth rate for New Hampshire girls ages 15-19 was 13.8 out of every 1,000. In other words, fewer than 2% of 15- to 19-year-olds in the State, or about 634, gave birth. Age-appropriate conversations about healthy relationships should begin with both boys and girls early in a child's life and continue through adolescence. New Hampshire should be proud of its families and teens for the choices they have made.
New Hampshire’s success can also be attributed to a combination of national trends, smart investments, and New Hampshire’s policies that make it easier for teens to avoid getting pregnant or causing a pregnancy. Increased use of effective contraceptives is the primary factor in teen pregnancy declines, according to a February 2013 report by the Guttmacher Institute. The report also showed a small increase in the number of younger teens waiting longer to become sexually active. New Hampshire’s Title X Family Planning services have long served as a valuable resource in providing comprehensive reproductive health education and services to New Hampshire citizens.
“This is a complicated and multi-faceted issue,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS, “but as a state and a nation we are seeing improvements. Although about 750,000 teen girls in the U.S. each year learn they are pregnant, this represents a continuing decline since 2012. Though many factors may be at play, it illustrates that education and public health intervention make a difference.”
New Hampshire has also made a concerted effort to place prevention resources in the most high-need counties and with the most at-risk groups. The Personal Responsibility Education Program funds teen pregnancy prevention services in the City of Manchester and Sullivan County. The target population is 17- to 19-year-old females and/or pregnant and parenting females up to age 21. FOCUS: Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections and Unwanted Pregnancies among Young Women is the curriculum being used in both communities. The goal of this program is to provide a curriculum-based intervention to educate young people on issues such as responsible behavior, relationships, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention and to promote healthy behavior and responsible decision-making in the lives of young women.
For more information about teen pregnancy and prevention, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing webpage at www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/reproductive-health/pregnancy-and-childbearing.html, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/TeenPregnancy/AboutTeenPreg.htm#resource, or the NH Department of Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov. To read more about National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month go to www.thenationalcampaign.org/national/default.aspx.
To read the entire CDC Vital Signs Report—Preventing Repeat Teen Births, visit www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/TeenPregnancy/index.html. To view the Guttmacher report visit www.guttmacher.org/media/inthenews/2011/12/01/index.html.