Alabama's teen pregnancy rate up for 2nd year

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The number of pregnant Alabama teens has continued to rise for a second straight year after a decade of nearly no increases.

State health officials said Monday there were an estimated 12,398 pregnancies in Alabama to females ages 10 to 19 in 2007 for a rate of 39.7, which nearly matches the 2006 rate of 39.6.

State Health Officer Don Williamson said the problem is especially troubling because teen pregnancy has a direct impact on other areas where the state is struggling.

Infant mortality rates are significantly higher for teen mothers than adult women.

The 2007 rate was 13.8 for teens compared to 9.4 for adult mothers.

Health officials say teen mothers are less likely to obtain adequate prenatal care and to complete high school or attend college.

Children of teenage mothers are at greater risk for premature birth, low birthweight, poverty and welfare dependence.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-10-28-08 0539EDT