Many Teens Use Less Effective Contraceptives After Pregnancy Interview with:
Deborah L. Dee, PhD
Division of Reproductive Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
CDC What is the background for this study?

Response: Although the national teen birth rate has dropped to a historic low (22.3 births per 1,000 females aged 15-19 years in 2015), many teens continue to have repeat births. Because repeat teen births are more likely than first teen births to be preterm and low birth weight, and giving birth more than once as a teenager can significantly limit a mother’s ability to attend school and obtain work experience, it’s important to assess patterns in repeat teen births and better understand contraceptive use within this population. What are the main findings?

Response: Our new analysis found that, in 2015, 1 in 6 births to teens aged 15 to 19 years was a repeat birth, a decline from 1 in 5 in 2004. We also found that about a quarter of teen mothers used one of the most effective methods of contraception (i.e. less than 1% failure rate) in 2013 – five times higher than in 2004. However, overall contraceptive use among teen mothers did not change during this time and one-third used a least effective contraceptive method (i.e. more than 10% failure rate) or no contraception at all in 2013.

There were geographic and racial/ethnic differences in both the trend in repeat teen births and in the use of postpartum contraception. For example:

• From 2004 to 2015, 35 states experienced a significant decline in the percentage of teen births that were repeat births; of the 35 states, 12 experienced declines of >20%, and none experienced a significant increase (these data can be found in the map in the manuscript. There will also be a supplementary table available when the manuscript is live.)
• By race/ethnicity, the largest declines in the percentage of teen births that were repeat births occurred among blacks (21.8%), followed by Hispanics (16.8%), and whites (13.9%).
• The percentage of teens with a recent live birth who reported using a most effective method postpartum ranged from 11.4% in New York City to 51.5% in Colorado, and the percentage using no method ranged from 4.9% in Vermont to 33.8% in New Jersey. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: These data suggest that most teen mothers are taking steps to prevent another pregnancy, but 1 in 3 is using either a least effective method or no contraception at all postpartum. Access to the most effective methods of contraception after birth is critical for preventing repeat teen births. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our analysis highlights the need for continued efforts to decrease repeat teen births. Strategies that comprehensively address the social and health care needs of parenting teens, such as provision of youth-friendly services, adequate client-centered counseling, and promotion of provider and consumer awareness of the range of contraceptive methods, can help improve use of effective contraception postpartum and prevent repeat teen births.

No disclosures to report. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


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:

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on May 1, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD