Teen Pregnancy - What Are the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Strategies?
"Am I pregnant? How could this have happened to me? My parents are going to kill me. What am I going to do?"
All of these thoughts and countless more, along with a heavy dose of fear, flood a pregnant teen's mind. Even though parents of teenagers hate to think of their child having sex, the reality is that it happens and because it does, there are teen pregnancies. The most important thing parents can do to prevent their teen from becoming pregnant is to teach them to be responsible and thoughtful when it comes to their approach to sex. Teens need to think about their actions and the possible consequences of sex, as well as be educated about birth control.
Why Do Teenage Girls Get Pregnant?
When it comes to understanding the reasons for teen pregnancy, the facts indicate there are three primary situations. According to FamilyFirstAid, 80% of teen pregnancies are unintended, which means that 20% meant to become pregnant. A girl may want to become pregnant because she feels she's ready for a baby, or because she hopes that by having a baby she will be able to keep her boyfriend in the relationship. The glamour of pregnancy and babies a la Hollywood has also created a situation when young girls readily accept that it's okay. Britney Spears' sister, and other single young women who had babies in Hollywood helped to set the stage.
The second of the three teen pregnancy facts is unwanted sex. It may be forced sex like rape or date rape, or it may be the pressure a girl feels from her boyfriend. If she feels she has to have sex to keep him as a boyfriend, she will feel that pressure and often relent. Again, FamilyFirstAid indicates that 75% of girls who have sex do so because the boy wants it. Girls need to be encouraged to value themselves and respect their own desires so they are strong enough to say no if they don't want to have sex. The third teen pregnancy cause is lack of birth control. Teen pregnancy statistics indicate that most teens don't use birth control or, if they do, it is sporadic or they are not protected adequately. If teens are going to be sexually active (and most are), then they must learn about birth control and how to use it appropriately for the best results. While nothing is 100% effective, using birth control properly will reduce teen pregnancies.
What Are The Stats on Teen Pregnancies?
Teen pregnancy statistics are very sobering, indicating that nearly one-third of all girls in the US will become pregnant while in their teens. That means that every year about 750,000 teens will get pregnant. 24% of all unmarried expectant mothers are teenagers and more than two-thirds or all teens who have a baby will not finish high school. In simple terms, teenage pregnancy rates are at about 42 out of 1,000 girls per year. Teen pregnancy prevention comes in the form of educational programs that are made available in schools. These programs are designed to help teens be responsible when it comes to sex. But, unless they are attended, the classes don't do much to help. Parents have a responsibility to help educate their children.
What's the Fallout of a Teenage Pregnancy?
Teen pregnancy affects more than the girl who becomes pregnant. Although often the father goes his way, he still pays a price. Knowing he is the father of a child who is "somewhere" plays on his mind. Sometimes, during the course of the pregnancy, he fails to be there for the girl and she decides she's had enough. Although he's the father of the child, he may not be in the picture much. The child loses his birth father, and more often than not, his world is forever changed as well. Parents and grandparents often end up raising the child, if the teen decides to keep the baby, adding yet more financial and emotional stress. If she gives the baby up for adoption, the duration of her pregnancy elicits reactions from many different sources. If an abortion is performed, there are emotional repercussions from that. The teenage mother loses a year of school, often her graduating year, and may or may not continue her education. Instead of graduating with her class, she may be caring for a baby.
Teenage pregnancy stories abound as do teenage pregnancy articles telling the stories of young teens whose lives have been forever changed by teenage pregnancy. Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska is currently working with a program to educate teens on the perils of teenage pregnancy and the consequences that surely follow.