Teen birth rates in the United States have decreased almost 50% in the last 10 years.
• 4.2% of teenage girls gave birth in 2007
• 2.4% of teenage girls gave birth in 2014
The numbers are on a consistent downward trend, which could signal a change in the way that young women perceive and appreciate the birth control effects of contraceptives. In particular, more girls seem to be taking oral contraceptives, such as Generesse Fe, to aid in preventing teen pregnancy.
Is Oral Contraceptive Use Increasing Among Teens?
It is, according to research undertaken by Laura Lindberg, John Santelli, and Sheila Desai. They compared the instance of sexual activity in teens with the prominence of oral contraceptive use. They found the following:
• The percentage of teenage girls 15-19 years old who had sex at least once was nearly identical in 2007 and 2012.
• 43% reported at least one instance of sexual intercourse in 2007
• 45% reported at least one instance of sexual intercourse in 2012
• The percentage of sexually active teens who had used at least a single type of contraceptive the last time they had sex saw a rise from 78% in 2007 to an astounding 86% in 2012.
• More girls opted for high-quality birth control methods, such as oral contraceptives or intrauterine devices (IUDs)
• 35% of those surveyed in 2012 were using birth control pills as their main form of contraceptive, a steep increase from 26% in 2007
Overall teen birth rates have decreased significantly.
Since 2012, overall sexual activity has also been on the decline for girls in their teenage years. From 2013 to 2015, the percentage of sexually active teen girls dropped nearly 7% overall.
On a larger scale, the National Health Statistic Report finds that among teenage women who bear the risk of pregnancy, 59% are using highly effective contraceptives, a group of birth control devices that includes oral contraceptives.
The Center for Disease Control also reported that 20% of sexually active female teens and 34% of sexually active male teens said they used both a condom and hormonal birth control in combination the last time they had sex.
Will Oral Contraceptives Continue to Be Effective?
When used as intended, oral contraceptives fail (i.e. result in pregnancy) less than 1% of the time. However, humans are prone to error, and researchers find that typical use, which includes occasional missed pills or poor timing, results in a drop to 91% effectiveness.
The large number of teens who use multiple birth control methods, however, should lead to continual decreases in teen pregnancy rates. The last 10 years of research results show that fertility education combined with relatively easy teen access to oral contraceptive prescriptions help create an environment in which young women may feel more comfortable and empowered to take control of their reproductive system.
If the trend continues, the U.S. may see a significant increase in the number of happy and healthy families. The Guttmacher Institute finds that women who are able to plan families are more well-balanced psychologically, more able to participate in society both as a member of the workforce and as a member of social circles, and feel more in control of their parenthood. These benefits are often passed on to children, who live happier, healthier, and more successful lives.