Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hello Teen Pregnancy!

      After ten years of the declining rates of teen pregnancy, the rates have been increasing since 2006 and continue to rise (http://www.wkrn.com/Global/story.asp?S=11881305). Experts say that many factors may lead to the rising rate of teenage pregnancy, some of which include: media, lack of adequate education, family background, and geographic location. The high rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States can also be because of several other factors that include, the development of sexual maturity earlier than emotional maturity, and the proper education regarding sexual relationships among teenagers, STI’s, and pregnancy preventative techniques (http://www.healthline.com/adamcontent/adolescent-pregnancy). Compared to other industrialized countries, the United States has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy. In 2002, there were over 750,000 teen pregnancies in the United States including 215,000 teen abortions (www.4parents.gov); eight in ten of these pregnancies were unintended and 81% of these teens were unmarried (www.livestrong.com). Without contraception, a teenager has a ninety percent chance of getting pregnant within one year of continuing sexual activity. Teenagers who grow up in poverty, drop out of school, begin dating at an early age, have few friends and no social support system and have no future goals for oneself, begin use of drugs and and/or alcohol at an early age, have a mother who was a teenage mother, or live in a community where early parenthood is accepted are more likely to become teenage parents (http://www.healthline.com/adamcontent/adolescent-pregnancy).

      In recent years, teenage pregnancy has been thrust into the spotlight and is no longer seen as a taboo subject. Teenagers often receive misinterpreted or misleading messages from the media. With television shows, such as 16 and Pregnant and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, young celebrities, such as Jamie Spears, and other predominant people in the media, such as Bristol Palin, the creation of a teenage pregnancy “fad” has swept our nation.

Thought Provoking Questions:

1. What are your current thoughts on teen pregnancy?

2. Do you think the media has a positive or negative effect on society and its views on teen pregnancy?

3. In your opinion, why do you think the teen pregnancy rates continue to rise?

4. Do you think that there are adequate services that help teenage parents?

5. Do you have any personal experience (you or a friend/ acquaintance) with teenage pregnancy? What are your thoughts about it?


  1. I completely agree that the media is making teenage pregnancy a trend. I think ever since celebrities have been going through their own baby boom in the last decade, that parenting has become more idolized so more people want to become parents at younger ages now (not necessarily in teenage years though). As that age comes down teenagers begin to feel that the topic of teen pregnancy is not as taboo as it used to be. And if a teen does become pregnant, she may not feel as stigmatized as girls have been in the past.
    The TV shows and celebrities mentioned I think are sending the message to young girls that being pregnant as a teenager isn't that bad, which is fine by me, however, I feel girls aren't shown the opposite end of the issue with the consequences of having children at a young age.

  2. I agree that the media has an effect on the growing trend of teenage pregnancy. I also believe that with the greater acceptance of abortion in the country, it seems as though many girls are looking at abortion as an option if they do happen to get pregnant during a time in their life when they are not prepared to be a parent. From my experience, I've known several girls in high school who had an abortion because they accidentally got pregnant. Compared to my mother's generation, abortion was very rare and if it did occur, it was not known to the public. I am not completely disagreeing with abortion, but I do feel as though since it is becoming more accepted in society, more young people are taking advantage of it rather than having children at young ages.
    -Elissa May

  3. I agree, media definately has a negative effect on the rates of teen pregnancy. The topic has become a sourse of entertainment when just a few years ago it was taboo to even talk about it. I heard a few days ago that the rates of teen drug and alcohol use is on the rise again after slowly declining over the last few years. I think that the rise of both problematic issues are connected. The media shows drinking and doing drugs as cool, they also show teen pregnancy as an issue that isn't that big of a deal. As for the topic of adequite services, I think that one of the most negative results of the Bust era is the increase in abstinence only education. Where there isn't education, there aren't adequate services. Ok, time for the mid-term. Thanks!


  4. In further response to the other comments I also agree media has a tremendous influence on teenage pregnancy. As many of the situations that have long influenced heightened rates of teen pregnancy have and are remaining present (ie: location, family relationship, lower SES) However, with the onset of shows such as Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant broadcast on TV and MTV specifically, a mecca of sorts for teens, there is a dramatic effect on the culture surrounding the acceptability and portrait of what it is to be a teen parent. These shows present some of the very real hardships of being a teen parent but they also serve to reinforce the false notions that to have a child at a young age instantly means a love filled relationship or the creation of a supportive family. While this may sometimes be the reality it is not the norm and the hardships are often much more severe than the 45 minutes of drama filled pregnancy the show broadcasts.


  5. I think one of the main reasons that teen pregnancy is on a rise is the fact that teens having sex is expected now and yet schools still promote abstinence. In this day and age, every school should be teaching teens about safe sex. Clearly preaching abstinence is not working, so instead of trying to prevent sex all together we should be trying to keep teen pregnancy and STD's down. I think they should be told that the best way to avoid these things is to not have sex at all but, in high schools today the odds are that AT LEAST one student is having sex, and if teaching about protection can help just one teen avoid getting pregnant then it's worth it. I watch 16 and Pregnant and a lot of the girls say that they never thought to use a condom..... CRAZY! Schools need to change this.

    Casandra Colby

  6. I think that teenage pregnancy has absolutely become a huge issue. Something I've noticed with my high school is not necessarily girls just becoming pregnant, but getting married right out of high school and then becoming pregnant. I don't mean to say that you shouldn't get married if you love someone, but for me 18 seems like a pretty young age to be married with children. I know many girls from my school who are married or engaged and "ready" to begin a family.

  7. I think is it also important to note that teen pregnancy has always been a reality. For example, my great grandmother got pregnant at 13 and married the father and they had 10 kids together. Our rationale changes around it. Now marriage isn't as emphasized if you get pregnant, instead it is also an option to get an abortion, raise the child on your own or with another man, or still date the father.
    The media aspect is interesting though. However, I think that strong education and access to birth control is an important antidote to the raise of teen pregnancy rates.

  8. I have a friend who is a teenage mother and her daughter is absolutely beautiful, in some ways becoming a mother has completely changed her and focused her on doing the best she can to succeed in life for her daughter. However, she really is much to young to be able to be the best parent she could be and having more responsibilities as a mother makes getting an education along with making ends meet incredibly difficult. It is unfortunate that it has become so difficult in our society to raise a child when you have one so young. I am not saying I think that policies should encourage teenage pregnancy, but I do think that there should be more support for young mothers to learn how to become the adult they need to become so quickly.
    I think that sex education is a huge factor, alongside the media, and that more comprehensive methods would be more effective. A lot of the issue might be around the way young people interact with each other and view their roles in relationships. I think that open communication about relationships and sex would help rather than hurt.


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  10. I believe that teen pregnancy is being more and more common and is becoming a huge issue. The media does have an influence on teen pregnancy however, I believe it is depicting real life. I do not see it as they are glorifying teen pregnancy or making it become acceptable. Shows like 16 and pregnant and Teen Mom are very popular however they do show how much these kids struggle. Recently I was watching one of these shows with my 24 year old boyfriend and he said wow parenting is harder than I thought. Although these shows do have a great influence and are very popular I do not belive that they are influencing teens to go out and get pregnant, if anything they are making teens second guess being unsafe.

  11. Currently I consider teenage pregnancy as not an easy situation despite there being a couple different options to handle it such, abortion, adoption or keeping the baby. In my mind none of these paths are easy paths to take. Although abortion is seen as a solution it often a very invasive and traumatizing procedure that has been known to leave the women traumatized as well feeling very guilty for years to come. Adoption is looked at as a chance for the mother and the baby to both live their lives as normal as possible yet the mother still has to carry the stigma of being a pregnant teen for nine months with her pregnant belly. As well as live with a guilt wondering where their child is and if they made the right decision to keep their baby. Although there have been some success stories for teenage mothers those stories are rare. As mentioned in a later blog posting Risk Factors of Teenage Pregnancy teenage mothers are less likely to graduate high school and ever attend college and more likely to end up having to go on welfare. Being raised in this environment the child is more likely to become a teenager parent themselves from being raised in a poor environment and having a teenage parent themselves, so no matter what way I see it teenage pregnancy will usually have an outcome with much financial and emotional difficulty.
    I believe that the media has a chance to both have a positive and negative effect on society with its view on teen pregnancy. With teenage pregnancy being such a prominent part of the media in a way it almost glamorizes it. With a show such as The Secret Life of the American Teenager, although this show is supposed to be showing the bad side of teenage pregnancy by displaying Amy Jurgans struggles as a new mother. As well as at the end having cast from the show making a little comment about parents to talking to kids about sex as well as providing a link to stayteen.org, a website that talks about different ways of preventing teen pregnancy, this show till does in my mind glamorize the act of having casual sex. Almost all of the high scholars in this show are having sex and some having many sexual partners with people they may not be in a serious relationship with. Young girls may watch this show and believe that having casual sex is the norm. The movie Juno which game out in late 2007 is another example of the media glorifying teen pregnancy. Juno McGruff seemed like the type of teen that everyone wanted to embody, with her seeming so confident. The movie focused very little on different social or emotional issues that she might have been dealing with being pregnant at 16 and still being in high school.
    With teenage pregnancy being much more in the spotlight then it was years ago it is surprising to me that it is continuing to rise since there is more educations and it’s not such a taboo subject anymore. I would think that it would be something that parents would be more comfortable about talking about as well as there being more access to different types of contraceptives. One explanation that I can think of is age compression age well as pear pressure and people feeling more pressured to be having sex at younger ages.