WEDNESDAY, May 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The number of births and general fertility rate decreased from 2018 to 2019, according to a May Vital Statistics Rapid Release report, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues present provisional data on U.S. births for 2019 based on 99.96 percent of births. Comparisons were made with data from 2018 and earlier years.

The researchers found that the provisional number of births was down 1 percent from 2018 to 2019, reaching 3,745,540. The general fertility rate for women aged 15 to 44 years was 58.2 births per 1,000 women, down 2 percent from 2018 to a record low. In 2019, the total fertility rate was 1,705.0 births per 1,000 women, down 1 percent from 2018 to another record low. For nearly all age groups of women younger than 35 years, birth rates declined, while there was an increase for women in their early 40s. For women aged 35 to 39 years, the rate was essentially unchanged in 2019. For teenagers aged 15 to 19 years, the birth rate declined by 5 percent in 2019 to 16.6 births per 1,000 females; decreases were seen for younger and older teenagers.

In 2019, there was a decrease in the cesarean delivery rate to 31.7 percent; the low-risk cesarean delivery rate declined to 25.6 percent. For the fifth consecutive year, the preterm birth rate increased — to 10.23 percent in 2019.

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