Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Repeat Teen Births and Use of Postpartum Contraception

MMWR; ePub 2017 Apr 28; Dee, Pazol, et al

From 2004 to 2015, the number of teen births and percentage of teen births that were repeat births decreased 53.8% and 16.9%, respectively; however, in 2013, approximately 1 in 3 teens with a recent live birth reported using a least effective contraceptive method or no method postpartum. This according to a CDC analysis of data from the National Vital Statistics System natality files (2004 and 2015) and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS; 2004-2013). Researchers found:

  • The number of teen births decreased from 2004 (82,997) to 2015 (38,324).
  • The proportion of teen births that were repeat births decreased from 2004 to 2015 from 20.1% of all teen births to 2015 where repeat teen births accounted for 16.7% of all teen births.
  • The percentage of teen births that were repeat births varied by state from 10.6% to 21.4%.
  • Among sexually active teens with a recent live birth, postpartum use of the most effective contraceptive methods (intrauterine devices and contraceptive implants) increased from 5.3% in 2004 to 25.3% in 2013.
  • However, in 2013, approximately 33% reported using either a least effective method such as barrier methods or rhythm method (15.7%), or no method (17.2%).


Dee DL, Pazol K, Cox S, et al. Trends in repeat births and use of postpartum contraception among teens—United States, 2004–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66:422–426. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6616a3.


Teen births have negative social, economic, and health consequences for both mothers and their children, and this is even more so for repeat teen pregnancies. There has been a pretty amazing decline over the last 25 years in the rate of teen birth from 62 births per 1,000 female teens in 1991 to 22 births per 1,000 female teens in 2015.1 This decline in teen births is likely the result of increased availability of both contraception and legal abortion. While the use of IUDs and implantable hormonal contraceptive has increased over the last 10 years, they’re only being used by a quarter of all teenagers who have given birth. Given the high risk, as well as high consequences associated with repeat teen birth, all teen moms should be offered and encouraged to use a highly reliable method of birth control at every visit during which they, or their baby, are seen. — Neil Skolnik, MD

  1. Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJK, et al. Births: Final data for 2015. National Vital Statistics Report; vol 66, no 1. Hyattsville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2017. Accessed May 8, 2017.

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