Teen Pregnancy Prevention: A New Paradigm

Authors: Kristen A. Plastino, MD


Despite common myths, teen pregnancy and teen birth rates are decreasing in the United States.1 The two most obvious reasons for this decline are that more teens are abstaining from intercourse and sexually active teens are increasingly using contraception. Despite this decrease, teen childbearing in the United States remains a public health issue. The cost for local, state, and federal taxpayers was at least $10.9 billion in 2008, with most of the costs being associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers.2 An increase in healthcare costs, increased rates of incarceration, and lost tax revenue caused by unemployment adversely affect the children of teen mothers, in addition to the high likelihood of the child’s placement in foster care.3

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1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Vital Statistics System: birth data. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/births.htm.Accessed July 14, 2013
2. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Counting it up: the public costs of teen childbearing: key data. http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/costs/pdf/counting-it-up/key-data.pdf.Published June 2011. Accessed August 6, 2013
3. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Teen pregnancy, birth, and sexual activity data. http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/national-data/teen-pregnancy-birth-rates.aspx.Accessed May 20, 2013
4. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health. TPP Resource Center: evidence-based programs. http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/oah-initiatives/teen_pregnancy/db/index.html#cite-4.Published October 2012. Accessed August 6, 2013
5. Walker I, McManus MA, Fox HB. Medical home innovations: where do adolescents fit? Report no. 7. http://www.thenationalalliance.org/pdfs/Report7.%20Medical%20Home%20Innovations.pdf.Published December 2011. Accessed August 7, 2013
6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): chlamydia. http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia. Accessed July 14, 2013.