I’ve often blogged about why teen pregnancy is an important Arizona winnable battle and why it’s a key public health indicator. Having a baby as a teenager impacts the mom, the dad, the baby and the whole community. Teen parents often don’t finish high school which, in turn, reduces their ability to financially take care of their newborn and results in an estimated $11B per year in increased health care, foster care, incarceration, and lost tax revenue nationwide.
Today, the CDC released Preliminary Birth Data for 2013 which includes the teen birth rate. Arizona’s teen birth rate decreased 10% in the last year. In fact, since 2009 our teen birth rate has dropped more than 30%… from 10,725 in 2009 to 7,222 in 2013.
There are lots of theories as to why the teen birth rate is dropping. We’ve been providing teen pregnancy prevention education since the mid 1990’s. This sustained effort with evidence-based interventions is one factor that has contributed to the decline in teen pregnancies. There are literally thousands of kids around the state learning about healthy relationships and the impact of having a baby before they are ready. Also, one study showed that the recent drop in teen births may be partially linked with a popular TV shows called 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom.
Another example of evidence-based program is the home visiting program run by the Nurse Family Partnership. First-time moms who enroll work with registered nurses in a home setting find the support they need to have a healthy pregnancy, improve their child’s health and development, and become more economically self-sufficient. A number of the first-time moms that enroll in this program are teen mothers that receive information and support on a number of topics including how to prevent a subsequent pregnancy.