Vermonters have intended pregnancies. and 1 more...less...

Vermonters are Healthy

% of adolescents in grades 9-12 who used most or moderately effective contraception at most recent intercourse


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Story Behind the Curve

Last Updated: February 2017

Author: Division of Maternal and Child Health, Vermont Department of Health

The U.S. still has the highest teen birth rate of any industrialized country. Overall, teens use less effective birth control methods and use these methods inconsistently. According to the National Campaign to End Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 3 in 10 adolescent girls will become pregnant by age 20. According to a 2015 CDC Vital Signs on teen pregnancy, teen childbearing can carry health, economic, and social costs for mothers and their children. While teen births in the US have declined, more than 273,000 infants were born to teens ages 15 to 19 in 2013. The good news is that more teens are waiting to have sex, and for sexually active teens, nearly 90% used birth control the last time they had sex. However, teens most often use condoms and birth control pills, which are less effective at preventing pregnancy when not used consistently and correctly. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, known as Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC), are the most effective types of birth control for teens. LARC is safe to use, does not require taking a pill each day or doing something each time before having sex, and can prevent pregnancy for 3 to 10 years, depending on the method. Less than 1% of LARC users would become pregnant during the first year of use.

Health care providers can:

  • Be prepared to discuss the sexual and reproductive health needs of their patients.
  • Recognize LARC as a safe and effective choice of birth control for teens.
  • Offer a broad range of birth control options to teens, including LARC, and discuss the pros and cons of each.
  • Seek training in LARC insertion and removal, have supplies of LARC available, and explore funding options to cover costs.
  • Remind teens that LARC by itself does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases and that condoms should also be used every time they have sex.

Major professional societies, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have endorsed LARC as a first-line contraceptive choice for teens.

What Works
  • Continue to work with schools and community based youth serving organizations to promote evidence based teen pregnancy prevention programs, which includes discussing the full range of contraceptive methods
  • Continue to work with health care providers to promote adolescent friendly health services broadly, and sexual and reproductive health services specifically
  • Continue to disseminate information to health care providers and community organizations on the latest best practice recommendations related to adolescent and sexual and reproductive health
  • Continue to work with partners to ensure that youth have access to comprehensive sex education
  • Continue to work with partners to ensure that youth have access to comprehensive and confidential sexual and reproductive health services

Why Is This Important?

This indicator is part of Healthy Vermonters 2020 (the State Health Assessment) that documents the health status of Vermonters at the start of the decade and the population health indicators and goals that will guide the work of public health through 2020. Click here for more information.

Notes on Methodology

This indicator is based on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) conducted every other year with high schools students and is calculated from 2 questions (1) currently sexually active (yes to intercourse during the past 3 months) and (2) the method used to prevent pregnancy during last sexual intercourse. It is the percent of students who have had sexual intercourse during the past 3 months AND who used prescription birth control including birth control pills, an IUD or implant (such as Nexplanon), or a shot (such as Depo-Provera), patch (such as Ortho Evra), or birth control ring (such as NuvaRing).

During the past 3 months, with how many people did you have sexual intercourse?

A. I have never had sexual intercourse

B. I have had sexual intercourse, but not during the past 3 months

C. 1 person

D. 2 people

E. 3 people

F. 4 people

G. 5 people

H. 6 or more people

Last time you had sexual intercourse, what one method did you or your partner use to prevent pregnancy? (Select only one response.)

A. I have never had sexual intercourse

B. No method was used to prevent pregnancy

C. Birth control pills

D. Condoms

E. An IUD (such as Mirena or ParaGard) or implant (such as Nexplanon)

F. A shot (such as Depo-Provera), patch (such as Ortho Evra), or birth control ring (such as NuvaRing)

G. Withdrawal or some other method

Scorecard Result Container Indicator Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy