While preliminary teen birthrates have declined in the past couple of years, teenage pregnancy, categorized by women under the age of twenty is still a prevalent topic to be discussed. Statistics provided by the CDC and National Vital Statistics Reports reveal that in 2015 the birth rate for teen pregnancy was about 22.3 births per 1000 women within the age of 15-19. Learn more about risks, prevention and other tips from top professionals such as Shelia Kamen, PsyD, Guylaine Hubbard Bosmer, PhD, and Pattie Mallette.
Although these teenage pregnancy rates have been steadily decreasing since 2007, there are still risks involved with these pregnancies.
Common complications of teenage pregnancy can include high blood pressure, anemia (low iron levels), and the possibility of premature birth or low birth weight. Inadequate prenatal care and insufficient nutrition actually play a large role in the negative health outcomes of early childbearing.
Therefore, a proper diet, supplements, and a beneficial lifestyle greatly improve the ... Read more
Michael J. Bradley, EdD, a psychologist, author, and speaker also comments on the riskiness of sexual activity at a young age. “So, when we view these girls who were highly sexual, we used to call them promiscuous in young teenage years, as adults they have much higher rates of depression, anxiety, and even suicide,” Bradley says in regards to the risks of young sexual activity.
Minerva Cano, a health educator at Planned Parenthood adds another important component to the risks of sexual activity without protection. “If a person has carried a baby full term what ends up happening is that she has a probability of becoming pregnant a second time before she reaches age twenty one if she does not obtain birth control. It is important to discuss birth control with an individual even if they have already had a child before the age of twenty,” Cano discusses.
Most experts conclude that teen pregnancy can be best prevented through open communication about protection and contraception. Sheila Kamen, PsyD, offers advice about birth control for teens and the power of discussing these options with a parent or physician. “Research does show that among teens who’s parents discuss contraceptive use with them, that those teens are much more likely to use contraceptives the first time they have sex,” Sheila Kamen adds.
Another form of prevention is the usage of what is commonly known as the morning after pill. Dr. Diane Tanaka, MD, an adolescent medicine physician says, “And so what we know is you can use the morning after pill or the emergency contraception up to five days from your last unprotected sexual intercourse or coitus. It is very safe…A young women can safely use emergency contraception to protect herself from getting pregnant.”
Social media and societal pressures present teen pregnancy in both positive and negative lights. In some ways this attention is bringing a widespread understanding of the topic to help young women and parents navigate their own situations. Aaliyah Noble , a single mother and expert, notes, “I think its a good thing that the mainstream media has brought this to the public’s attention, because teenagers are becoming pregnant and parenting at alarming rates. However, I think it would be more beneficial to everybody if more efforts were put into creating TV shows that help prevent teenage pregnancy… I really think that TV shows that glamorize teenage pregnancy should take the time, step back and focus on the issues that they face; not being able to go to prom, not being able to hang out with their friends, and not being able to have enough money to take care of the needs of their child.”
What Teen Parents Should Know:
When young women are faced with pregnancy, it is important that they have a strong support system and access to education about future decisions. Women can choose to raise the child, arrange an adoption for the child, or terminate the pregnancy. Guylaine Hubbard-Brosmer, PhD, an adoption expert, stresses the need to “educate herself about her options and the ramifications of those options.” If teen parents chose to to have their baby, it is vital that parents get informed about issues that effect newborns and young children, such as immunization, circumcision, and nutrition, adds expert Aaliyah Noble. Noble also speaks about the importance of teen mothers knowing how to assert themselves as parents and make important decisions.