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For Release:  April 25, 2013 - Pamela Williams, Office of Communications - 405/271-5601

New Report Shows 1 in 5 Teen Births are Repeat Births
May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report that shows despite a falling teen birth rate for all age and ethnic groups, nearly one in five births to teen mothers ages 15 to 19, is a repeat birth.  Oklahoma is one of eight states with a repeat teen birth rate of over 20 percent, which is higher than the national rate of 18.3 percent, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

Oklahoma also has a high teen birth rate for first-time moms, which is fifth highest nationally for girls ages 15 to 19. Teen childbearing in Oklahoma costs taxpayers an estimated $190 million annually and can carry high social, emotional, health, and financial costs throughout the life course for both teen mothers and children. 

These statistics help drive the reason why states and communities across the U.S. observe May’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on May 1.  These observances help raise awareness about how to talk to teens about making responsible decisions, and to encourage discussions on how to prevent unintentional pregnancies.  Local teen pregnancy prevention initiatives give this type of support to communities throughout Oklahoma.  On May 1, teens nationwide can visit Stayteen.org to participate in the National Day quiz that delivers prevention messages.  The quiz challenges teens to think about what they would do in different situations.

The OSDH Child and Adolescent Health Division supports awareness events for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. “Clearly, there is a need in Oklahoma to address teen birth rates, including repeat births,” said Ann Benson, director. “Pregnancies during teen years can change the lives and futures of the mother, child, and family.  Early pregnancy can affect education and job opportunities.  Babies born as the result of a repeat pregnancy may also be born too small or too soon.  All of these are reasons to stress prevention to youth and equip those that work with youth to be able to deliver effective teen pregnancy prevention messages.” 

Statewide, several communities have teen pregnancy prevention projects in place through their local county health departments to address these important issues. Oklahomans should contact their local county health departments for a listing of events scheduled during May for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and theNational Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on May 1.  For information about teen pregnancy prevention programs in Oklahoma contact the OSDH Child and Adolescent Division at (405) 271-4471.

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