Number Of Babies Declining
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a preliminary number of 4,000,279 births in the U.S. in 2010, which dropped 3 percent from the previous year.
It is thought that the bad economy may be the cause for the slowdown in families expanding their brood, especially with unemployment -- and the risk of layoff -- still hovering in high percentages. Perhaps high health insurance costs limits the number of kiddos many families can afford to cover, in addition to the charges that a trip to the labor and delivery ward can incur. And, fewer families able to survive on a single income means more kids in daycare, which can make the prospect of another addition to the family a costly decision.
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Teen pregnancy rates
Despite the glamorization of teen parenthood by the media, the birth rate for U.S. teenagers 15-19 years of age dropped 9 percent, which is a record low for the nation, at 34.3 births per 1,000 women. According to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health nonprofit, the decline in teen pregnancy rates can be attributed to increased contraceptive use and reduced sexual activity among teenagers, which is great news for parents of teens. With a continued push of sexual education and an open dialogue between parents and teens, this rate is sure to continue to decline.
Decline in cesarean deliveries
The CDC also reported that the rate of cesarean deliveries dropped slightly to 32.8 percent, the first drop in this rate in more than a decade. Could the decrease in c-section births be linked to the decline in teen births and an accompanying decline in high-risk deliveries? Or, perhaps the theory that full-term babies are healthier than those born before their due dates has impatient mommies- and daddies-to-be waiting longer to meet their bundles of joy. Either way, the longer recovery time for women who give birth via cesarean section is certainly reason enough to root for a vaginal delivery.
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Maternal age increases
It looks like teens are not the only young moms slowing down on the baby front; the birth rates for women in their 20s and 30s declined in 2010. On the other hand, the birth rate for women in their early 40s rose in 2010, shifting the concept of prime baby-bearing years. It could be that women are waiting longer to have babies in order to focus on their careers. Or, the biological clock may be ringing for women who let the economy keep them from adding to the population in earlier years.
Overall, the number of babies born in the U.S. each year has declined since the baby boomers' generation, so the steady decline in new population is inevitable regardless of the circumstances. In the end, only time will tell when it comes to interpreting these trends in U.S. birth rates!