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Teenage Pregnancy

By , Head Bay d'Espoir, Canada
It has been said that babies are the new handbag, more kids are having kids, and it’s too much responsibility too soon. The teen pregnancy rate has declined 38% between 1990 and 2004 and the teen birth rate has declined by about one third between 1991 and 2007. However, three in ten girls become pregnant by age 20 and the teen birth rate is now on the rise after 14 straight years of decline. Considering teen pregnancy is on the rise, your teenager should be more aware of what they can do to protect themselves. Once a girl is pregnant, there is no easy choice. The very best thing is to help your daughter avoid getting pregnant, and to help your son avoid getting someone pregnant, in the first place.
Abstinence should be stressed as the first and best option, but is it? Limited information about contraception is one of the main reasons why teenage pregnancy is on the rise. Teens that do not use contraception are those who are getting pregnant. An abstinence-only education does not provide teens with adequate information about contraception. Sexually active teens also do not receive enough encouragement to use contraceptives every time. You’re thinking, “Okay, but making condoms available in school-based clinics would ‘give kids the wrong idea’.” In fact, 5 recent research studies indicate that it doesn’t. Educating teenagers about contraception makes them more likely to use contraception when they become sexually active.

Teenage pregnancy is defined as a teenaged or underage girl (usually within the ages of 13–19) becoming pregnant. Pregnancy has very important consequences for teen girls and teen boys, and their children. Having a baby as a teen makes it much harder for a boy or girl to reach their goals, such as finishing high school, going on to college, getting a good job, or getting married when they grow up, and poses additional challenges to the child as well. Some teen mothers decide to continue their pregnancy and then choose adoption for their baby. Others plan on keeping the baby.
Teenage pregnancy is in the media everywhere. The widely popular television show “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” is focused around a fifteen year old who is expecting. Degrassi: The Next Generation ended an episode with Emma realizing she might be pregnant; even Grey’s Anatomy had a teen pregnancy story line, as well as Gossip Girl. Teen celebrities are even becoming pregnant. American Idol star became a mom at the age of seventeen; Jamie-Lynn Spears (sister of Britney Spears) gave birth at the age of sixteen, the sister of Beyonce Knowles had a child when she was eighteen. The list continues.
One million teens will become pregnant over the next twelve months. Ninety-five percent of those pregnancies are unintended. About one third will end in abortion; one third will end in spontaneous miscarriage; and one third will continue their pregnancy to term and keep their baby. And, more than half will be seventeen and under.
Most don’t think about how pregnancy will affect their life. Think about it. Protect yourself. Don’t be a statistic.





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