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Mass. teenage birth rate hits record low

Fewer Massachusetts teenagers are having babies, pushing the state’s teen birth rate to its lowest level in the 25 years that health ­officials have been reporting on birth rates, the state announced Monday.

Teenagers are typically not as likely as older women to get adequate prenatal care, jeopardizing their babies’ health.

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The Department of Public Health report — which covers 2010, the latest data available — also shows the lowest rate of smoking among pregnant women on record. The percentage of mothers who reported smoking during pregnancy declined to 6.3 percent; back in 1990, it was roughly 19 percent. White women were more likely to report smoking during pregnancy than black, Hispanic, or Asian women.

Disparities persisted in infant mortality, with the rate for black infants at 8.2 per 1,000 births: more than twice the rate for white infants. The Hispanic rate was 6.1, while Asian infant mortality was 4.3.

KAY LAZAR

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