Chances are, a baby is conceived for all the wrong reasons when kids are too young. Most times, the pregnancy is unintended, and often teenagers try to get pregnant feel that they have little prospects and love in their lives. These teens may welcome the excitement of baby showers and a baby who will love them unconditionally. But there are some scary facts teenagers and their moms should now about teenage pregnancy. Just look at this…
How Common Is It?
Thirty-five percent of teenagers get pregnant, as of 2003, which is down 31 percent from the 1990s, according to Northern Illinois University. Of those pregnancies, 78 percent of them are unintended. Teen pregnancies and births are the highest in the United States of all the industrialized countries of the world. While the pregnancy rate of black teenagers is higher than that of white teens, Hispanic teens have the highest teen birth rate of all.
Forty-five percent of teen pregnancies end in abortions or miscarriages, according to Northern Illinois University. One out of four abortions in the United States is because of teen pregnancies. The top three reasons teens give for having an abortion are that the baby would change their lives, they feel too immature to raise a child and their financial problems. Fewer than 10 percent of babies born to teens are put up for adoption.
A third of teenagers do not receive proper prenatal care, according to Northern Illinois University. Some hide the pregnancy and others continue to smoke, drink and do drugs. Many teens do not eat properly while pregnant, resulting in teens being less likely to gain enough weight during pregnancy. Their babies often have a low birth weight, resulting in future health problems. The infant mortality rate is 50 percent greater with babies born to teenagers than it is with women older than 20.
Education and Poverty
Many teens drop out of high school; Only 1.5 percent of teen mothers get a college degree by age 30. The children being raised by teens are at high risk of lower academic achievement and of having behavioral problems. Lack of education and job skills lead to poverty among these women; 80 percent of teenage mothers go on welfare.
Schools Handling Teenage Pregnancy
Public schools administrators often find themselves hard-pressed to make the right decisions regarding how they handle teenage pregnancies. Parents are often hostile to the school handing out contraceptives, according to “Time” magazine. The fact is, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, schools that allowed access to condoms in school clinics did not increase or decrease sexual activity. The action did, however, increase the use of condoms when the teens did have intercourse.
Your strict father was right to make you wait to date. Northern Illinois University points out that girls who date before they are 12 are 91 percent more sexually active during high school. That figure drops to 56 percent to girls who wait until 13 to date. Talk with your daughter about sex. The vast majority of girls say that lack of communication with parents led to their sexual behavior. Make sure your daughter feels that abstaining is a good choice. Eight out of 10 girls wish they had waited, according Northern Illinois University. If they insist on having sex, make sure they use a condom.