Birth rate among teens at record low and C-sections at record high

The birth rate among U.S. women and girls ages 15 to 19 declined to a record low in 2005, while the rate of infants delivered by cesarean section increased to a record high of 30.2% of all births, according to data from a preliminary report released on Tuesday by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, USA Today reports.

The report, titled “Birth: Preliminary Data for 2005,” includes statistics from more than 99% of birth certificates filed last year in the U.S. and shows that about 4.1 million infants were born in the U.S. in 2005, including 421,123 births to girls under age 20.

The birth rate among women and girls ages 15 to 19 for 2005 was 40.4 births per 1,000 women, compared with 41.1 births per 1,000 women in 2004 and 61.8 per 1,000 women in 1991 (USA Today, 11/22). The birth rate among black girls ages 15 to 17 dropped 6% in 2005, compared with 2004. According to the report, the c-section delivery rate increased by about 4% from 2004 to 2005, and NCHS statistician Fay Menacker said deliveries by c-section are increasing among all age groups and races. The World Health Organization recommends that c-section rates remain under 15% of all births. According the AP/New York Times, data in the report is considered preliminary, but officials said they do not expect much change in the findings.

Other Statistics
NCHS also reported the following U.S. birth rate data from 2005.

  * The preterm birth rate, or the percentage of infants born before 37 weeks gestation, increased from 12.5% of all births in 2004 to 12.7% in 2005 (USA Today, 11/22).
  * Birth rates for women ages 20 to 24 and 30 to 34 increased by less than 1% from 2004 to 2005, while rates for women ages 35 to 44 rose by 2% (NCHS report, 11/21).
  * The percentage of infants with low birthweights increased by about 20% in the past 20 years, including a slight increase from 2004 to 2005 (Reuters, 11/21).

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Revision date: July 3, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.