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Teen Pregnancy Hits Historic Lows

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EUGENE, Ore — Teen pregnancy rates have hit historic lows—that’s according to the CDC, and it’s having an impact on more than just the teens.

The study says the most recent peak in teen pregnancy was 1991 so, it looked at the rates from that year through 2010 where the numbers dropped by 44 percent.

Lane County health officials say there are a number of reasons for the downward trend and a big benefit that comes with it.

Technology and medicine have come a long way in the last decade, improving health care and saving lives.

A recent study done by the United States CDC says teenage pregnancy is at a historic low and health experts believe improving birth control has been a big part.

“In the last few years, we’ve had more methods of birth control that provide long term coverage such as IUD’s and other methods of birth control,” said Cindy Morgan, Lane County Public Health nurse supervisor.

In fact, the study shows it’s the lowest rate since 1946.

Morgan says not only has medical coverage gotten better but social changes have also helped.

“Programs have become more receptive to making certain that teenagers are welcomed in their clinics. We provide services to males in many states,” said Morgan.

According to the study, Oregon has one of the lowest rates of pregnancies for women between 15 through 19. It sits between 20 to 30 percent.

Morgan says teen pregnancy is expensive, and with the trend going down, it can help the economy.

“Many of our teens who become parents rely upon programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, WIC,” said Morgan.

Doctors say it also saves the system money because young pregnant teens have a higher health risk.

“When pregnancy occurs prematurely, it puts the body under a lot of stress and that has negative impacts in the future,” said Lisandra Perez Guzman, a physician with Lane County Public Health.

Morgan says parents these days are also different than in the past, which is making a big difference.

“We’re just so much more comfortable having conversations with our teenagers,” she says.

Researchers say the annual public costs due to teen pregnancy is close to $11 billion but with the trend heading down, it will save money.

As for the states with the highest teen pregnancy rates: Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi.

See the study here.

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