Study: Teen pregnancy declines attributed to contraceptives

Increases in contraceptive use appear to be the primary cause of declines in teen pregnancy and birth rates in recent years, according to a new study.

Researchers used data on sexual activity, contraceptive use and contraceptive failure rates for women ages 15 to 19 to estimate a Pregnancy Risk Index for the periods 2007, 2009 and 2012. Overall, the PRI declined at an annual rate of 5.6 percent from 2007 to 2012 and correlated with birth and pregnancy rate declines.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that sexual activity in the last three months of 2007, 2009 and 2012 did not change significantly. However, researchers said pregnancy risk declined among sexually active adolescent women, with significant increases in the use of contraceptives.

The study found the share of teens reporting one or more methods of contraception rose from 78 percent in 2007 to 86 percent in 2012. The share of teen females reporting two or more methods of contraception also increased, from 26 percent in 2007 to 37 percent in 2012.

Researches concluded rapid declines in teen pregnancies and births from 2007 to 2012 can be attributed to increases in contraceptive use, including use of any method, multiple methods and of more effective methods.

"Based on this and previous research, adolescent fertility declines since 1991 can be primarily attributed to improved contraceptive use," they said.


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