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Teen pregnancies in Alabama increase in ’07

The number and rate of births and pregnancies among teenage girls in Alabama rose in the past two years, reversing a downward trend in the teen pregnancy rate that had held steady for almost a decade.

According to the Center for Health Statistics of the Alabama Department of Public Health, there were an estimated 12,398 pregnancies in Alabama to females ages 10 to 19 for a pregnancy rate of 39.7 in 2007, a rate which is virtually unchanged from the 2006 rate of 39.6. During the years 1996 through 2005 the teen pregnancy rate decreased steadily from 57.1 to 37.5.

“We need to be aware that teen pregnancy is interrelated to health problems we’re seeing with infant mortality,” said Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer. “Also, we are concerned that risk behaviors seem to be increasing among our teenagers.”

The 8,776 births to teens represented 13.7 percent of total births in the state. In 2005 Alabama experienced its lowest percent of births to teenagers, 13.1 percent of all live births. Teen births increased by 767 between 2005 and 2006 and by an additional 106 between 2006 and 2007.

The infant mortality rates for teenage mothers in 2007 compared with adult mothers in Alabama made a statistically significant difference, 13.8 for teens versus 9.4 for adult mothers.