Teen pregnancy is a problem that has been escalating for the past couple decades. Young girls, under the age of 20 are getting pregnant, and not considering the consequences that follow. What many young girls do not understand is that teen pregnancies do not only affect them. It affects their families and their children as they get older. It is important for all teens to know the teen pregnancy stats, and how teen pregnancy can change their lives forever. When parents and teens know the facts about teen pregnancy, it is the first step toward prevention.
What is Teen Pregnancy?
The definition of teen pregnancy is pretty self descriptive. Three in ten girls in the United States will get pregnant at least once before they turn twenty years old. Nearly 750,000 teens girls get pregnant every year. These statistics are very scary. Often times, a teen mother will become pregnant with her second child within a few years of having her first child.
Teen Drop Outs
One of the leading reasons that teenage girls drop out of school is because they become parents. Over 50% of teen mothers do not graduate from high school. Those who are able to finish high school, and get their diploma, have help from family members. Unfortunately, however, not all parents of teenage mothers are able to put their careers on hold to take care of the grandchildren while their daughters finish school.
Some schools offer daycare programs, allowing teenage mothers to finish their education. Unfortunately, not all schools offer these programs, making dropping out of school a teen mom’s only option.
For many teenage mothers, college is not an option. If it is, it is not an option for years. Less than 2% of teenage mothers will earn a college degree by the age of 30. This is because they now have someone other than themselves to take care of. Working, going to school, and being a parent is a lot for any person. Many teen mom’s will work a job which pays minimum wage just to make ends meet. This makes college an option that they just do not have.
Having a Second Child
About 25% of teen mothers will have their second child within two years of having their first. This can make a teen mom’s life even more difficult. Having one child to feed, dress, and care for is difficult enough. Having a second child will make life even more difficult.
Teen Pregnancy Rates by Race
Race does have an impact on teen pregnancy. In 2008, the teen pregnancy rate among Hispanic teens, and African-American teens between the age of 15 and 19 was two and a half higher than the teen pregnancy rate among teenage girls in the same age group who are white. This can be due to the poverty level among these two races, and the lack of education on this matter in school and at home.
United States Teen Pregnancy Statistics
The United States has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the Western world. Fortunately, however, in 2011, the teen birthrate in the United States has fallen to a record low for the first time in the 70 years that the U.S. Has been tracking teen childbirths. In 2010, fewer babies were born to teenage girls than any year since the mid 1940’s. There are a few reasons for this drop.
- Education in School: As teen pregnancy rates seemed to be getting higher and higher, schools in the United States realized that it was time for them to get involved. Most schools offer health and sex education classes, teaching students how to prevent teen pregnancy and what teen pregnancy can do to a girl’s life.
- Education at Home: More and more parents are getting involved with their children when it comes to educating them about sex. Years ago, parents would just hope that their children would know better than to have unprotected sex. These days, parents are being much more hands on when it comes to educating their children. Parents have learned how to talk to their children about teen pregnancy, and many of these teens are listening.
- Education Through MTV: Since MTV first premiered their shows, 16 and Pregnant, and Teen Mom, the rate of teen pregnancy in the United States have dropped. These shows are designed to give teenage girls and boys a look into the lives of teens who become pregnant. These shows do not glamourize pregnancy. They show the real trials and tribulations that teen parents go through each day.
- Education Through the Media: There are more and more commercials on television which are designed to educate teens on pregnancy. These commercials show statistics, short interviews with real teen parents, and ways to prevent teen pregnancy, and where to get teen pregnancy help.
- Articles on Teen Pregnancy: More and more teen magazines, such as Teen Vouge, Glamour Girls, and Teen Cosmo have been printing articles related to teen pregnancy. Many of these articles contain interviews with physicians and other healthcare professionals, teenage parents, and the parents of teenage moms. These articles also discuss birth control methods and options available for teenage girls who become pregnant.
Where is Dad?
When a teenage girl has a baby, the question most people ask is “where is the baby’s father”? Statistics show, that 8 out of 10 teenage fathers do not marry the mother of their child. Often times, the relationship does not last through the child’s first birthday. Twenty percent of these teenage fathers will find a new relationship within two years of ending their relationship with their child’s mother, and will become a father again in that relationship. Most teenage mothers have a vision of their life when they are pregnant. They expect to have the baby, and live happily ever after with their child’s father. This almost never happens. Over 80% of teen mothers will eventually become single mothers.
Why Teens Do Not Protect Themselves?
When teens get pregnant, people often wonder why they did not protect themselves in the first place. Something as simple as a condom or birth control could prevent pregnancy, so why aren’t all teens using these methods. There are a few reasons why.
- Some teens want to get pregnant: There are some teens out there who actually want to get pregnant. These are the teens who have not been educated on how a baby can impact their lives. They may want to hold on to their boyfriend/girlfriend, and think that a baby is the way to do this.
- Heat of the moment: When teens are engaging in sexual activity, often times, they let the heat of the moment cloud their judgment. They are not thinking about the consequences, they are just living in the moment.
- Difficulty getting contraception: The reasons that many teenagers do not use protection, is that they do not know how to get it, or can’t. Some mothers of teenage girls do not want to take them to the doctor to get birth control. They think that putting their daughter on the pill is giving them permission to have sex. This might make sense to parents, however, in the end, these parents will end up being grandparents before the age of 40. Even getting condoms can be difficult for some teens. If a teen cannot get a condom, many will still go ahead and have sex.
How Can Parents Prevent Their Teens From Becoming Pregnant?
The best way that parents can prevent their teenage children from becoming parents is through communication. While it may be uncomfortable for some parents to discuss sex and pregnancy with their children, it is necessary. One or two uncomfortable conversations can change their child’s lives forever. You cannot depend on school or the media to educate your children on teen pregnancy and prevention. It should be discussed at home.
If you are a parent of a teen, and are not sure how to discuss these topics with your children, there are resources available to help you. You can find teen pregnancy articles on the internet which provide tips on speaking to your children about sex and pregnancy.
While teen pregnancy rates have dropped drastically over the last few years, it does not mean that we can stop educating our children on teen pregnancy. This education is the reason for the dramatic drop, and should be continued so that our children understand the ramifications of teen pregnancy.