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Approximately 39.7 percent—1.7 million—of all U.S. births in 2007 were to unmarried women ages 15 to 44, a 22 percent increase from 2002.
The number of registered births in the United States—in excess of 4.3 million—is the highest the nation has ever seen, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After a 14-year lull, U.S. teen births surged two years in a row. In addition, births increased for women ages 20 to early 40s.
The CDC report added statistics showing a successive yearly rise in Cesarean delivery, which grew 2 percent in 2007, to 31.8 percent.
In a Reuters article, Pam Udy, president of the International Cesarean Awareness Network, stated, “Every pregnant woman in the U.S. should be alarmed by this rate.”
She added, “Half or more of Cesareans are avoidable and over-using major surgery on otherwise healthy women and babies is taking a toll.”
John Santelli, an adolescent medicine specialist at Columbia University, said, “It’s a true reversal at this point. The increase in the birth rate lines up very well with changes in teen sexual behaviors that lead to pregnancy” (USA Today).