Skip to content

Health & Pregnancy

More U.S. Women Having Kids in Their 30s and 40s

Meanwhile, births among teens and women in early 20s fall to historic lows
Font Size
A
A
A

continued...

At the same time, teen births reached a historic low in 2012. The number of births to girls ages 15 to 19 dropped 7 percent to about 305,000 -- the fewest since the end of World War II. The 2012 total is nearly one-third fewer than in 2001 and less than half of the 1970 all-time peak of more than 640,000 teen births.

Improved use of contraceptives might be contributing to the continued decline in teen births, McCabe said.

"Last year there was some discussion that more teenagers are using birth control, and more were using more than one form of birth control," he said. "People were attributing that message getting out to teenagers as being important in this decrease."

Births among women in their 20s also continued to decline, a trend that has been occurring since 2008. The birth rate for women in their early 20s reached a new record low of about 83 births per 1,000 women.

McCabe chalked up the improvement in preterm births to the message getting out to women that they should have natural childbirth if possible and delay labor until it begins on its own.

"Certainly some women need to deliver early for their health and their baby's health, but otherwise they really should wait until 39 weeks," he said. "We now know that even in early term -- 37 and 38 weeks -- the outcome is very different than full term at 39 and 40 weeks. The mortality rate is higher."

The rate of births by cesarean section remained unchanged in 2012, however. A third of all births occurred via cesarean delivery.

"If you consider that the rate had been going up steadily prior to the last couple of years, then this is an improvement if you're looking for a decline in cesarean delivery," said report co-author Joyce Martin, a statistician at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

1 | 2

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
 
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
 
slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 
pregnant woman
Article
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
Video
 
healthtool pregnancy calendar
Tool
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Video