Teen Birth Rate Higher In The U.S. Than Many Other Developed Countries
GAINESVILLE - Motherhood in childhood is a huge global problem. A report released by the United Nations today shows that the national teen pregnancy rate has declined almost continuously over the last two decades. The teen birth rate here in the United States is higher than that of many other developed countries. We spoke to one young mom here in North Central Florida who says it’s a recurring generational issue.
About 2 million girls 14 and younger, give birth every year, that's according to a report from the United Nations Population Fund. Research suggests that the US has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births in the Western industrialized world.
"Well I had my first daughter when I was 16 years old," Yashica Aaron said. She’s one of the many women who have gone through a teen pregnancy. An estimated 5.3 million girls under the age of 18 give birth every year, according to a recent report by the UN.
"It was hard but I had my family's support, my mom helped me take care of it but when you're that young you have school and I had to drop out of school... So it was like really hard and my mom had me at 15," Aaron said. In the United States, for example, only about half of the girls who become pregnant as adolescents complete high school by 22, compared to 9 out of 10 girls who do not become pregnant.
Dr. Ashley Walsh with Gainesville OBGYN says girls who get pregnant early often suffer social and economic consequences. "Emotionally caring for a child when a woman is not finished with their schooling and then physically at a young age a woman is not ready to carry a child and they actually do have an increased risk of C-section in young teen pregnancies," Dr. Walsh said.
While the recent research shows teen pregnancies are declining, the United States' teen birth rate is higher than that of many other developed countries, including Canada and the UK.
"Like the report shows it's been the lowest since 73 years... Since they started gathering that data and i think it really shows about education about providing access to birth control and giving more options and better options," Dr. Walsh said. Aaron, now a mother of three hopes the numbers continue going down... She's doing her part by taking preventative measures with her teenager. "You know I keep it real with her, I let her know everything about sex. She's actually on the Depo now, just in case," Aaron added.
According to the UN report, teen pregnancies also harm the economy as a whole; with nearly $11 billion a year in public health care costs to taxpayers in the US alone.
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