What is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month?
May is the National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. The US Department of Health and Human Resources is raising awareness of this problem. During this month, teens are educated about pregnancy prevention and the parents are advised what steps to make in order to prevent teenage pregnancy.
Teen pregnancy isn’t only social and economical issue for the young mother and her family. Teen pregnancy increases various health risks for the baby. Children born to teenage mothers have bigger risks of getting different health problems, suffering from social and emotional problems than children born to older mothers. Teen girls who get pregnant have a higher risk of suffering from different medical complications during their pregnancies, like premature labor. Along with medical complications, pregnant teenage girls are usually victims of a society which doesn’t approve their lifestyle. Many teenage mothers can’t handle the pressure of their society which can lead to stress and anxiety.
Teen Pregnancy in Numbers
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) these are the statistics related to teenage pregnancy:
- In 2009, the teen birthrate in the United States was 13.5 births for every 1,000 teens.
- In 2013, teen birth rate in the US was 12.5 (decrease of 7.5% comparing to 2009 data).
- Teen birthrate declined by 50% since 1990 in teenage girls aged 15 to 17, while there was a decrease of 33% in older teenage girls.
- In 2012, one-quarter of all teen pregnancies included pregnancies in girls between 15 and 17.
- Even though teen pregnancies are declining in the United States over last few years, the statistics show that teen pregnancies in African American and Hispanic teenage girls are higher than in Caucasian teen girls.
- According to Centers for Disease Control’s findings in 2013, one in five teen births is a repeat birth. Which means one teenage mother gave birth to two or more children in her teen years.
- Repeat birth rate in the US declined by 6% between 2007 and 2010 the figures are still high. The highest repeat birth rates are in American Indian/Alaskan Natives (21.6%), Hispanic teens (20.9%), and African Americans (20.4%), while repeat birth rate in Caucasian teen girls in (14.8%).
Babies born as the result of repeat birth have higher risks of suffering from health problems and are more likely to be born prematurely.
Consequences of Teenage Pregnancy
- Teenage pregnancies are highly connected with lower annual income for the mother. Up to 80% of teen mothers, have to rely on welfare.
- In most cases, mothers have to do everything by themselves because the father of the baby doesn’t take financial or emotional responsibility for the child which has a negative effect on the mother who feels under a lot of pressure and is prone to stress.
- Teenage mothers usually drop out of school and only one-third of teen mothers manage to obtain a high school diploma, mothers who obtain high school diploma rarely enroll in college.
- Alcohol and substance abuses are associated with teenage pregnancy along with the educational level, and decreased earning potential in teen fathers.
- The annual cost of teen pregnancies in US from tax revenues, child health care, foster care, involvement with the criminal justice system, and public assistance is $7 billion.
Awareness can be raised by educating teen boys and girls about sexual relations, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, and health complications of teenage pregnancy.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention
Teenage girls who are more likely to get pregnant or teenage boys who are likely to get a girl pregnant are:
- Teens who live in poverty
- Teens whose parents were teen parents
- Teens raised by single parents
- Teens who live in a dysfunctional family
- Teens who start having sex at a very young age
- Teens who start abusing drugs or alcohol at a very young age
- Teens whose self-esteem is very low.
In order to prevent teenage pregnancy, especially in the youth from dysfunctional families or of low financial status, it is necessary to have an open conversation with them. It is recommended for schools or community organizations to form groups for the teens of this group, educate them, or advise them to have a hobby or occupation in order to increase self-esteem. Also, the youth should be taught about the sex, teen pregnancy, and significance of contraception.
What You can Do on National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month?
Even though the statistics show a significant decline in teenage pregnancy in the US, that is not enough and figures are still high. In order to prevent teen pregnancy there are some steps that have to be taken, such as:
- Open communication with adults (parents, therapists) about the use of contraception
- Teen girls are in the stage when they are physically developing and need supportive parents
- Healthy family dynamics is one way of having positive influence on your child
- Teen needs to establish a healthy relationship with her piers, friends etc
- They need to be educated about the use of condoms
Both teenage girls and boys should be educated about teenage pregnancy, sexual health, sexually transmitted diseases, the importance of abstinence, and consequences of teenage pregnancy.