Wall Street Journal (01.19.12) - Friday, January 20, 2012
A CDC survey found that among teen moms ages 15-19 who got
pregnant unintentionally, 50.1 percent had not been using any
form of birth control. Conducted by mail and telephone, the
survey polled 9,844 teen moms in 19 states during 2004-08.
Data on contraceptive methods came from five of the states.
Of teen moms who had not used any method of birth control,
31.4 percent said they did not think they could get pregnant
at the time. Nearly a quarter (23.6 percent) said their
partner did not want to use birth control. In addition, 22.2
percent said that while the pregnancy was unintentional, they
had not minded getting pregnant. Some struggled with birth
control, with 13.1 percent reporting trouble getting it and
9.4 percent reporting contraception-related side effects.
Eight percent thought they or a partner was sterile.
Nonetheless, 21 percent of the teen moms surveyed reported
using a highly effective contraceptive method, such as
sterilization, IUD, birth control pill, and hormonal
injection, patch or ring. Use of condoms, considered
moderately effective contraception, was reported by 24.2
percent. And 5.1 percent used the least effective methods,
such as rhythm and withdrawal, diaphragm, sponge, and cervical
The survey did not analyze the details of birth control use,
so it is hard to know why these teens still got pregnant. It
is possible that birth control was self-reported by teens but
misused, inconsistently used, or not used.
Contraceptive use among sexually active teens could be
improved by "providing appropriate access to contraception"
and "encouraging consistent use of more effective
contraceptives," said the editorial note in the report.
Moreover, "health care providers, parents, and educators could
encourage delaying the onset of sexual activity and
abstinence, provide factual information about the conditions
under which pregnancy can occur, increase teens' motivation to
avoid pregnancy, and strengthen their negotiation skills for
pregnancy prevention," the note said.
The report, "Prepregnancy Contraceptive Use Among Teens with
Unintended Pregnancies Resulting in Live Births - Pregnancy
Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), 2004-200,8" was
published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report