Study: Chicago teen pregnancy rate drops over last decade

December 18, 2012

A new study says Chicago’s teen birth rate is on the decline, yet the city’s rate is still far above the rest of the country.

The Chicago Department of Public Health looked at births in the city from 1999 to 2009, and for the most part, things are looking up. Pregnant women aren’t smoking as much: the study shows
cigarette smoking during pregnancy decreased by more than half. More women sought out prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy. Meanwhile, the teen birth rate in Chicago dropped 33 percent.

Kai Tao, VP of clinical operations at Planned Parenthood of Illinois, says there's been a real push in Chicago over the past few years for age-appropriate, comprehensive sexual education. She said at Planned Parenthood clinics, they’ve been specifically providing teens with longer term methods of birth control, like an IUD, which could also be making a difference.

"These devices that are good for three, five or ten years, thus it’s not reliant on that teenager to have to do something on a daily basis, weekly basis, monthly basis, or have to have a visit at the doctors office every 12 weeks," Tao said.

Yet Chicago’s teen pregnancy rate is one and a half times that of the rest of the United States.
The Department of Public Health says their plan is to work with Chicago Public Schools to make sure all students have access to comprehensive sex education, in hopes of bringing those numbers even lower.