Birth announcements and baby shower invitations may not be as common as they once were in US mailboxes. The US hasn't been in a baby boom for a few years, and last year saw a particularly low birth rate.
The authors of a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report found that fewer women per capita gave birth in 2013 than ever before. Women younger than 30 had particularly low birth rates, while the fertility rates of women 30 and older continued to rise.
For women of any age, staying healthy during pregnancy is important, said Andre F. Hall, MD, an OB-GYN at Birth and Women's Care in Fayetteville, NC.
According to the CDC report, 3.93 million women gave birth in 2013 — down 1 percent from 2012. For every 1,000 women of childbearing age in the US in 2013, 62.5 gave birth.
The birth rate has been trending downward since 2007, which saw 4.3 million births.
"The U.S. general fertility rate was at an all-time low in 2013," wrote Joyce A. Martin, MPH, of the CDC Division of Vital Statistics, and colleagues.
Martin and colleagues examined birth certificate information and birth data from all 50 states and Washington, DC.
These researchers found that women younger than 30 in particular had lowered birth rates in 2013. Among women in their mid to late 20s, 105.5 per 1,000 gave birth — down by 1 percent from 2012.
About 80 per 1,000 women ages 20 to 24 and 26.5 per 1,000 teens gave birth in 2012.
"In contrast, birth rates for women aged 30 and over generally rose in 2013," Martin and colleagues reported.
Nearly 1 in 10 women in their early 30s gave birth last year — along with 49.3 per 1,000 women ages 35 to 39.
Of all births in 2013, 32.7 percent were delivered by cesarean section (C-section) — down 1 percent from 2012. However, the rates of C-sections remained unchanged for Hispanic and black mothers. A C-section is a procedure in which a surgeon makes a cut in a pregnant woman's stomach. The baby is delivered through that opening.
The CDC released this report Dec. 4.