Pregnancy

No Baby Fever Here: 20-Somethings Are Delaying Motherhood — And Being Responsible About It

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abortionSingle motherhood may be the “new normal” for women birthing in their 20s, but for those childless women under 30 — motherhood is no where on the present agenda. And to ensure that plan, more young women than ever are using effective forms of birth control, causing a drop in pregnancy rates for their demographic but also in abortion rates.

Reuters reports that young women are on top of their fertility business, being responsible about their birth control and family planning:

The report from the National Center for Health Statistics stated that in 2008, the pregnancy rate for the 20 to 24 age group was 163 per 1,000 women. By comparison, in 1990 that demographic had a pregnancy rate of 198.5 per 1,000, which was nearly 18 percent higher than in 2008.

Pregnancy rates for women between the ages of 25 and 29 fell a more modest 6 percent during the same time period, to 167.9 per 1,000, according to statistics in the report.

The abortion rate also declined among women in their early 20s, to 38.4 per 1,000 women in 2008 from 56.7 per 1,000 in 1990, the report said. That represented a drop of 32 percent.

Again, the drop was more modest for women in their late 20s, as their abortion rate fell to 28.6 per 1,000 in 2008, from 33.9 per 1,000 in 1990, the report said.

But unlike similar research on teenagers that reveals declines in teen birth rates, abstinence was not a factor in these numbers. Make no mistake, these ladies are sexually active, but they’re being vigilant about using hormonal forms of birth control, as well as coupling said methods with condoms. Stephanie Ventura, an author of the National Center for Health Statistics report, “Estimated Pregnancy Rates and Rates of Pregnancy Outcomes for the United States, 1990-2008,” asserts that abortion rates have fallen across the entire country, from teens to young women.

But although younger women are responsibly “postponing pregnancy,” women in their 30s and 40s have that baby fever like no other — so much so that they’re the only cohort that saw an uptick in pregnancy rates:

Women between 40 and 44 had a dramatic increase in pregnancy rates of nearly 65 percent from 1990 to 2008, the report said. There were 18.8 pregnancies per 1,000 women in that age group in 2008, compared with 11.4 per 1,000 in 1990.

Reuters did not address IVF usage or any other fertility treatments in their report. But with the cultural celebrity of new mothers over the age of 40, we can probably attribute that “dramatic increase” to those metaphoric test tubes.

(photo: matka_Wariatka/ Shutterstock)