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Teen Birth Rate Lowest Ever, Cesarean Births All Time High in Massachusetts

Armen Hareyan's picture

The teen birth rate in Massachusetts reached an all-time low while the number of cesarean births reached an all-time high, according to the 2005 Birth Report, released today by the Department of Public Health (DPH).

The teen birth rate was 46 percent below the national rate (21.7 births per 1,000 for women ages 15-19 years old). The teen birth rate has declined by 16 percent since 2000.

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In 2005, the cesarean (C-section) delivery rate was the highest ever reported in Massachusetts: 1 in 3 births were C-sections or 32 percent of all births. The Massachusetts C-section rate is 7 percent higher than the U.S. rate.

"Massachusetts continues to be a leader for access to good prenatal care. Nearly 90 percent of pregnant women received adequate prenatal care. We want that number to be 100 percent and by doing so eliminate disparities in birth outcomes," said DPH Commissioner Paul J. Cote Jr.

Key findings of the report include:

  • In 2005, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 5.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. The IMR has decreased 27 percent since 1990.
  • Two communities had IMRs higher than the state IMR: Springfield (10.6 up from 6.3 in 2004) and Worcester (13.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, up from 6.6 in 2004).
  • In 2005, there was a 2 percent decrease in the number of births. In 2005, there were 76,824 births in Massachusetts.
  • The percentage of mothers who reported smoking during pregnancy continued to decline in 2005 to 7.2 percent. It has decreased 63 percent since 1990 when it was 19.4 percent.
  • The percentage of low birth weight (LBW) infants (less than 5.5 pounds) remained high (7.9 percent compared with 7.8 percent for 2004).
  • Two important factors contribute to LBW infants; the age of the woman giving birth and the increase in multiple births.
  • The percentage of multiple births remained high in 2005. In 1990, 1 out of 38 births was a multiple. In 2005, 1 out of every 22 births was a multiple. Multiple births are much more likely to be LBW deliveries.
  • The percentage of births to non-U.S. born mothers continues to increase, from 25.2 percent in 2004 to 26.1 percent in 2005. There has been a 78 percent increase since 1990.

Disparities in birth outcomes continue:

  • The black non-Hispanic IMR was twice as high as the white non-Hispanic IMR (9.4 vs. 4.3 deaths per 1,000 live births).
  • The teen birth rate for Hispanic women was almost 6 times higher than for white non-Hispanics (73.2 vs. 12.9 per 1,000 women ages 15