THURSDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Slightly more than half of U.S. teenaged girls who had a child between 2004 and 2008 did not use birth control, and a third didn't think they could get pregnant at the time, a new government study finds.
Although the number of teens who get pregnant in the United States has fallen in recent years, the U.S. teen birth rate is still the highest of any developed country, with more than 400,000 births in 2009, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"These are the girls who had risky sex and ended up getting pregnant and giving birth," said study co-author Lorrie Gavin, a health scientist with the CDC's Division of Reproductive Health. "This is the group that we should pay most attention to, because they're the ones who experienced unintended births."
According to the report, 50.1 percent of girls aged 15 to 19 who had an unintended pregnancy were not using any form of contraception when they got pregnant, and 31.4 percent thought they could not get pregnant at the time.
Commenting on the findings, Lawrence Finer, director of domestic research at the Guttmacher Institute in New York City, had this to say: "The fact that they found such a low level of contraceptive use says a number of things about what we need to do to try to improve adolescent reproductive health."
Finer said more teens should be using IUDs and implants because they take the decision-making out of the equation.
"In the past, these methods have been seen as ones for older women, but those methods should be considered first-line methods for adolescents and young adults," Finer suggested. "Historically, it's been condom and pill for young people, but we need to expand our thinking on that."
The girls who didn't think they could get pregnant have misconceptions about pregnancy, Finer added. "That clearly reflects on education an
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