About one million teenagers become pregnant each year in the United States, accounting for 13% of all U.S. births. While teen pregnancy rates have declined, black teens are still two to three times more likely than white teens to become pregnant. Yes, progress has been made, but there needs to be a continued focus on the overall reproductive and mental health needs of today’s young black women.
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• Twenty-three percent of 14 year olds and 30% of all 15 year olds have had sexual intercourse.
• Early childbearing tends to reduce the mother’s opportunity to attain a high level of education and employment.
• Teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty, hurting the overall quality of a young mother’s life.
• Adolescent pregnancies account for approximately 80% of unplanned pregnancies. Nearly 45% of teen pregnancies end in abortion.
• Approximately 9% of African American teenagers gave birth in 1996 – the lowest number since the government began keeping this statistic.
• The percentage of sexually active teens using condoms has increased. Teenagers who have sex are more likely to use contraceptives than in the past.
• Babies born to young mothers are more likely to be low birth weight, to have childhood health problems and to be hospitalized than are those born to older mothers.
• Over 1/3 of pregnant teens receive inadequate prenatal care.
• Morbidity and mortality rates are higher for babies born to young mothers.
• Nearly 25% of adolescent mothers have a second child within 24 months of their first child.