HealthDay News — Despite a decline in the prevalence of teenage pregnancy in recent years, almost 20% of all babies born to teen moms are repeat births — babies born to a teen who already had one or more children — according to the CDC.

Nearly one in five babies born to a teen mom in 2010 had a sibling, and among the roughly 367,000 births that occurred among women ages 15 to 19 years that year,18.3% were repeat births, data show.

This rate varied considerably by race and geographic location, Lorrie Gavin, PhD, of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and colleagues reported in Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report.

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They analyzed natality data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) to determine the patterns of repeat births and postpartum contraceptive use among teens from 2007 and 2010.

By race/ethnicity, American Indians and Alaska Natives had the highest rate of repeat pregnancy (21.6%), followed by Hispanics (20.9%) and non-Hispanic blacks (20.4%). Non-Hispanic whites had the lowest repeat pregnancy rate (14.8%). 

By state, Texas had the highest repeat teen birth rate in the U.S. at 22%, and New Hampshire had the lowest at 10%.

Among the 66,500 repeat births documented in the study, the majority were second births (n=57,200). Third births accounted for 8,400, and fourth births accounted for 1,200.

Data from PRAMS revealed that 91.2% of teen mothers who were sexually active used a contraceptive method two to six months after giving birth, but only 22.4% used the most effective methods — tubal ligation, vasectomy, implant and intrauterine devices.

“The findings in this report suggest that many teen mothers are taking steps in the postpartum period to prevent repeat pregnancy,” Gavin and colleagues wrote. “Previous research has shown that these efforts can be supported by linking pregnant and parenting teens to home visiting programs and other sources of support, as well as health care that includes counseling about and provision of contraception.” 

Among the 9% of sexually active teen mothers who did not use contraceptives after their most recent birth, the most frequently cited reasons included disapproval of the husband/partner (21.7%) and not being able to afford birth control (20%). 

“Teen birth rates in the U.S. have declined to a record low, which is good news. But rates are still far too high,”  CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a press release. He noted that repeat births can negatively impact a  mother’s education and job opportunities, as well as the health of future generations.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Vital signs: Repeat births among teens — United States, 2007-2010” MMWR 2013.