According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Missouri has had a 50% decline in teen births since 1992. Jeffrey Peipert with Washington University in St. Louis credits education and teens increasingly using contraceptives during intercourse.
“We are also seeing an increase trend of teens using more effective methods,” said Peipert. “So the birth control pill is certainly more effective than the condom, but we’re seeing more teens using intrauterine devices and implants.”
“One of the leading reasons why young women drop out of high school is teen births and teen pregnancies,” said Peipert. “So, prevention in teenagers in terms of access to contraception is incredibly important. Some recent studies have shown it may be very important to break the cycle of poverty, allow women to complete their education and career and allow for more socio economic advantage.”
He said access to contraceptives is still an issue for poor women and those in underserved areas.
Peipert said more than 80% of teen pregnancies are still unintended in America.
“Even though we’ve seen a remarkable decline in teen births in the U.S., we have still one of the highest rates of unintended and teen pregnancies among developed countries,” said Peipert. “So we may think this is great news and it is great new, but we can’t be complacent.”
Peipert said Missouri’s decline in teen births is also reflective of what is happening nationally.