HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - Teen birth rates are decreasing in Massachusetts but Holyoke still has the highest teen birth rate in the state.
A new report out Monday from the State Department of Public Health ; it says two western Massachusetts cities have the highest teen birth rates in the state.
In 2010, 17 out of 1,000 women ages 15 - 19 gave birth in Massachusetts. That is a statewide average number.
However, when you break down the report into cities and towns, Holyoke and Springfield continue to top the list of teen birth rates.
Holyoke, in 2010, 83 out of 1,000 teens gave birth. In Springfield, that same year 54 out of 1,000 teens gave birth. Both numbers are much higher than the state average.
That number is down significantly from 2009, but it's still the highest teen birth rate in Massachusetts.
A frustrating trend for Holyoke resident Jack Egan; "You can teach what you want to teach at school, but there's no justification, I don't know how to stop it."
Certified Nurse-Midwife Nina Kleinberg, from the Midwifery Care of Holyoke , told 22News it is not too surprising that Holyoke has the highest teen birth rate in the state. She said after years of working with young patients, she's noticed that there isn't too much stigma associated with teen pregnancy in Holyoke, compared to other cities and towns.
A certified nurse-midwife, Nina Kleinberg, CNM, , told 22News education is one way to lower the teen birth rate. "When the young women give birth, they are surrounded by an extended family, and the babies that we welcome into the world are happy, welcome additions to the family regardless of the mother's age."
Kleinberg emphasized education is still a solid path to preventing teen pregnancy. "It's really important to really know what their choices are before they start having sex to understand that they have a choice. They don't have to get pregnant."
She also said at her practice, they share birth control options with teens when they come in for their first OBGYN appointment so they know that they have a choice.
According to Kleinberg, "If they do get pregnant, understand what their choices are, and also do some future planning when they are pregnant so they can space out future pregnancies."
Springfield also has a relatively high teen birth rate; the report said 53 out of 1,000 Springfield teens gave birth in 2010.