Saturday, January 21, 2012

Teenage Mothers: Not Just Nine Months Of Trouble

I was just reading the January 20th edition of the MMWR and was astounded to find, even with all of the easy access to safe-sex information and ways to prevent teenage pregnancies available to our youth, that approximately 400,000 teens aged 15–19 years give birth every year in the United States.

Data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System collected in nineteen states during 2004–2008 indicated that among teens aged 15–19 years who became pregnant unintentionally and gave birth to a live infant, 50.1% reported doing nothing to prevent pregnancy.

Of these pregnant teens, 31.4% thought they could not get pregnant at the time, 23.6% did not use contraception because their partner did not want to use it, and 22.1% did not mind getting pregnant. In the five states that asked about prepregnancy contraceptive methods, only 21.0% of these teens used a highly effective method of birth control, and 24.2% used the moderately effective method of condoms. These data offer insights about teens who give birth and face the risks of early childbearing, a critically important subset of all teens who have had sexual intercourse.

What's more shocking is that these numbers continues to climb, and the United States now leads the developed world in unintended teenage pregnancies. And this is dated information over four years old that also doesn't include teens under fifteen years of age, or teens from ALL states! Who knows what the numbers could be now? If teens from Arizona and the other border states were included in the data, I'd bet the numbers would be even higher. Just personally, I've seen dozens of 12-14 year old girls admitted to the hospital for childbirth. How tragic is that?

Here's an earlier press release addressing the problem -

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