Take Action Against Repeat Teen Births

Nearly 1 in 5 births to teen mothers, ages 15 to 19, is a repeat birth. Although teen birth rates have been falling for the last two decades, more than 365,000 teens, ages 15–19, gave birth in 2010. Teen pregnancy and childbearing can carry high health, emotional, social, and financial costs for both teen mothers and their children. Having more than one child as a teen can limit the teen mother's ability to finish her education or get a job. Infants born from a repeat teen birth are often born too small or too soon, which can lead to more health problems for the baby.

Federal government is:

  • Funding states and tribes through the Pregnancy Assistance Fund to provide pregnant and parenting teens with a complete network of support services.
  • Promoting home visiting and other programs shown to prevent repeat teen pregnancy and reduce sexual risk behavior.
  • Conducting and evaluating programs that work, as well as innovative approaches to reduce teen pregnancy and births in communities with the highest rates.
  • Helping other groups with information to duplicate teen pregnancy prevention programs that have been shown to be effective through rigorous research.

Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals can:

  • Discuss with sexually active teens the most effective types of birth control to prevent repeat pregnancies.
  • Counsel parenting teens on how they can avoid additional pregnancies by not having sex.
  • Advise teen mothers that births should be spaced at least 2 years apart to support the health of the baby, and that having more than one child during the teen years can make it difficult for teen parents to reach their educational and work goals.
  • Remind sexually active teens to also use a condom every time to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Parents, guardians, and caregivers can:

  • Talk about how to avoid repeat births with both male and female teens.
  • Check with your insurer about coverage of preventive services. In some cases, preventive services, such as Birth Control methods and counseling, are available with no out-of-pocket costs.
  • Talk with community leaders, including faith-based organizations, about using effective programs that can help prevent repeat teen pregnancies.

All teens, including teen parents, can:

  • Choose not to have sex.
  • Use birth control correctly every time if they are having sex. Use condoms every time to prevent disease.
  • Discuss sexual health issues with their parents, partner, health care professionals, and other adults and friends they trust.