Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The spring of 2020 is the first time the birth rate will be at or below its 2007 peak
The birth rate for American women in their late teens and early 20s fell by almost a quarter from its record high in 2015, a report has said.
In 2018 it was 23.5 births per 1,000 women aged between 19 and 24, according to the March of Dimes, which campaigns for better prenatal care.
Over the last decade the birth rate for women in their 20s fell 40%.
But the April 2020 birth rate will be below the 2007 peak for the first time since the organisation began recording it.
The rate for women aged between 20 and 24 is now 31.8, the March of Dimes’ annual Vital Signs report says.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The rate for women in their late teens and early 20s fell by almost a quarter from its record high in 2015
The organisation has argued that US mothers are taking better pregnancy and birth planning strategies. It has also announced a “patient-centered” strategy to provide more independent midwifery services.
In recent years, the US has been plagued by an increase in multiple births and many of these pregnancies would not be supported, the report says.
The report describes the changes as a “significant milestone” and highlights that the size of the average American family is actually larger than it was in 2005.
“We are seeing this tremendous shift in how many people are having children and how they are trying to plan and control their family sizes and the timing of family size, and we are seeing these changes very quickly,” Kimberly Harrington, the chief communications officer at the March of Dimes, told reporters at a briefing in Washington DC.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Some 1,350 infants died in 2018 from stillbirth, birth defects or other reasons, the report says
The report estimates that 1,350 infants died in 2018 due to stillbirth, birth defects or other reasons.
This is almost equal to the average for 2017, when 1,340 infants died.
Doctors say that despite the rise in autism in some communities, the number of babies born with the condition is still on the rise.
“While we do not have accurate stats, it looks like the incidence is up slightly for autism,” Dr Virginia Hawley, the president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told CNN.
The US registered 108,190 live births in 2017, compared to 102,620 in 2016.