Research indicates that bearing a child during adolescence is associated with long-term difficulties for the mother, her child, and society. These consequences are often attributable to the poverty and other adverse socioeconomic circumstances that frequently accompany early childbearing.
Compared to babies born to older mothers, babies born to adolescent mothers, particularly young adolescent mothers are at higher risk of low birthweight and infant mortality. These babies are more likely to grow up in homes that offer lower levels of emotional support and cognitive stimulation, and they are less likely to earn a high school diploma.
are less likely to earn a high school diploma. For the mothers, giving birth during adolescence is associated with limited educational attainment, which in turn can reduce future employment prospects and earning potential. For the mothers, giving birth during adolescence is associated with limited educational attainment, which in turn can reduce future employment prospects and earning potential. Adolescent mothers age 15-19 reported that 71.2% of their pregnancies were unintended of which 87.7% of women aged 15-17 and 63.5% of women aged 18-19 reported their pregnancy as unintended in the 2004 Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring Survey (PRAMS). The highest risk ethnic group for teen births is Hispanic females who have a birth rate almost four times higher than Non-Hispanic females.
Utah Data vs. U.S.- How Are We Doing
Utah’s adolescent birth rate has been lower than the United States’ overall rate during the 1990s, but is higher than some other states. In 2004, the most recent year that national rates are available, Utah’s 15-19 year old adolescent birth rate was ranked seventeenth. Utah’s adolescent birth rate has declined over the past decade as have national rates.
Prevention of teen pregnancy includes programs to encourage sexual abstinence and family planning services. A detailed report on adolescent pregnancy in Utah has been published by the Utah Department of Health and can be accessed on the internet www.health.utah.gov/cash.
The Utah Department of Health funds eight abstinence-only community-based projects for youth 9-14 years throughout the state with federal abstinence education monies.
National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy: www.teenpregnancy.org.
- Utah Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), Utah Department of Health; 2004
- Utah Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health; 2005 Population Estimates: Utah Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget; National Center for Health Statistics
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, NCHS, National data from the National Vital Statistics Reports of Births: Final Data for years 1990-2004