Teen Births Rose in 2006
Rate of Teenage Births Leaps 3%; Births to Single Moms Hit Historic Highs
Record Cesarean Deliveries, Unmarried Moms
In 2006, nearly one in three babies in the U.S. was delivered by cesarean section.
The C-section rate rose by 3% to 31.1% -- more than twice the target rate
government health officials have called for among low-risk women by 2010.
C-sections were relatively rare in the U.S. before 1970, when just 5% of
babies were delivered surgically.
By the mid-1980s, nearly one in four babies born in the U.S. was delivered
by cesarean section. That number dipped slightly through the 1990s, but has
been climbing steadily ever since.
The increase in births among unmarried women is definitely a trend, Ventura
says. Births among this group hit historic highs in 2006.
The 1.6 million births among unmarried women represents an 8% increase over
2005 and is 20% higher than the recent low point for births in the group seen
"Most of this increase is in women in their 20s," Ventura says.
"This definitely suggests a change in attitudes about the issue."
Preterm Deliveries Rising
The preterm birth rate rose slightly in 2006, to 12.8% from 12.7% the
previous year, and low-birth weight deliveries rose from 8.2% to 8.3%.
Preterm births and low-birth rate deliveries have risen by 21% and 19%,
respectively, since 1990, with late preterm births of between 34 and 36 weeks
gestation rising by 25%, the NCHS's Joyce A. Martin, MPH, tells WebMD.
Though the reasons for this are not completely clear, Martin says one factor
appears to be an increased willingness among health care providers to induce labor early.
The rate of infant deaths remained at a relatively stable 6.9 per 1,000 live
births between 2004 and 2005, the last year for which mortality data have been
African-American newborns continued to be more than twice as likely as white
and Hispanic infants to die in the first year of life.
More than half of all infant deaths in 2005 were from
birth defects, premature delivery, sudden infant death syndrome, and
complications at delivery.
Life Expectancy Still Rising
There were 2.44 million deaths in the United States in 2005, an increase of
about 50,000 deaths over 2004.
Life expectancy continued to increase to a record high of 77.9 years in
2005, or 0.1 year more than the previous year.
The life expectancy for a white female born in 2005 is now 80.8 years,
compared to 75.7 years for a white male, 76.5 years for a black female, and
69.6 years for a black male.