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Teen Births Rise for Second Year

Overall Births Reached Record High in 2007

Teen Births a ‘Cause for Concern’ continued...

Researcher John Santelli, MD, MPH, who chairs Columbia University’s Clinical Population and Family Health department, led the team that conducted the analysis.

He tells WebMD the 14-year decline in births among teens was largely driven by a big increase in condom use resulting from public health campaigns warning about the risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases posed by unprotected sex.

He blames the increase in births on the shift away from public funding for AIDS education in favor or "abstinence-only" programs starting early in the decade.

“We have raised a generation of young people who don’t have basic information about contraception,” he says.

Record Number of C-Sections

The C-section rate in the U.S. is now at its highest, rising in 2007 for the eleventh straight year.

This represents a more than 50% increase in surgical deliveries in the past decade.

C-section rates increased for most age groups and racial and ethnic groups in every state in the U.S., Ventura says.

One clear reason for this is the trend away from vaginal birth after cesarean delivery, known as VBAC.

Many smaller hospitals have banned VBACs because of malpractice concerns and regulations that require a surgical team to be in place to perform an emergency C-section, if needed.

But many experts believe the steady increase in C-section deliveries has been largely driven by issues that have little to do with the health of the mother or baby, such as doctor convenience and patient preference.

C-section delivery is the most common surgery performed in the U.S.

National Center for Health Statistics statistician Fay Menacker, DrPH, says research is needed to identify the causes of the increase in surgical deliveries and their impact on outcomes.

“This is major abdominal surgery and it is really important to look at the risks and benefits, both long and short term, for both the mother and the infant,” she tells WebMD.

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