20% of Pregnant Teens Already Have a Child

teens pregnancy myths
A pregnant teen. (Image credit: Norman Pogson | Dreamstime)

About one in five U.S. teens who gives birth already has at least one other child from a previous pregnancy, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 365,000 births to U.S. teens ages 15 to 19 in 2010, about 67,000, or 18 percent, were repeat births, the report says.

Most of the repeat births (86 percent) were second pregnancies. However, some teens gave birth to a third, fourth, fifth, or sixth child before age 20. (About 13 percent of repeat births were third pregnancies, and 2 percent were fourth or more pregnancies.)

Although the rate of repeat teen pregnancies fell 6 percent between 2007 and 2010, the rate of teen birth and repeat birth is still too high, the CDC said. Babies born to teens as a result of a second pregnancy (or more) are at greater risk of preterm birth or low birth weight, the CDC says.

"Repeat births can negatively impact the mother’s education and job opportunities as well as the health of the next generation. Teens, parents, health care providers, and others need to do much more to reduce unintended pregnancies," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement.

Nearly 91 percent of sexually active teen moms said they used some sort of contraception after they had a baby, but just 20 percent used the most effective method of birth control (an intrauterine device or implant), the report says.  

A recent study found that some doctors have misperceptions about which teens can use IUDs and implants (any sexually active teen girl can be a candidate).

The rate of repeat teen births was highest in Texas, where 22 percent of all teen births were to teens who already had a child. The lowest rate was in New Hampshire, at 10 percent.

Other states with high repeat birth rates include Mississippi, Georgia, Arizona and Arkansas, and other states with low repeat birth rates include Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Wyoming.

To help prevent teen pregnancy, health care providers, parents, guardians and caregivers can speak can speak with teens (male and female) about abstinence, as well as the most effective types of birth control.

Pass it on: About 20 percent of teen births are repeat births.

This story was provided by MyHealthNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow Rachael Rettner @RachaelRettner. Follow MyHealthNewsDaily @MyHealth_MHND, Facebook & Google+.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.