According to a national survey in the United States, pregnancies occur in 750,000 teens every year. The majority of these pregnancies were unplanned. Unplanned teenage pregnancies can lead to higher high school dropout rates, higher rates of single parenthood, and lowering scores in math and reading. Stopping teenage pregnancy requires a hands-on connection between parents and children, a good educational foundation, and unbiased resources.
Teaching Sex Education to Stop Teenage Pregnancy
Sex education starts in the home. Parents should begin introducing the subject of puberty and sex with their children at around age 5. At first these discussions are more based on the relationships between the sexes. As a child gets older, this conversation can move on to puberty, menstrual cycles, safe sex and pregnancy prevention.
Schools also teach teens about the chances and effects of teenage pregnancies, though the approach will depend on each school. Teens have hormones raging through their bodies and often misunderstand how these hormones affect their choices about safe sex.
Providing Resources to Prevent Teenage Pregnancies
In addition to teaching teens about teenage pregnancy, parents (and often school systems) provide a list of resources for teens who are contemplating having sex. These resources often include phone numbers to local support groups and locations where teens can pick up free condoms. Some school systems even choose to hand out condoms as part of their safe sex services.
Birth Control and Teen Pregnancies
Teenage girls can be placed on birth control to stop teenage pregnancies. This does not mean sexual education is no longer needed. Birth control and condoms may prevent teenage pregnancies but they often will not necessarily stop the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, syphilis and gonorrhea. In order for condoms to effectively prevent STDs they must be used consistently all the time.
When choosing birth control, parents and teens have options. There are daily, monthly and tri-monthly birth control solutions. Daily birth control pills are the most common utilized by teen girls trying to prevent pregnancy. The pills need to be taken at the same time every day, however, which can be difficult for some teen girls to remember. Parents can discuss birth control options with the family physician or gynecologist.
Options for Dealing with Teenage Pregnancy
If pregnancy occur, there are options for teen mothers. Local adoption agencies often work with teens to place their babies in safe homes with parents who are unable to conceive. In other cases, family members may choose to adopt the baby to keep the infant in the family until the teen mother is financially stable enough to take on the responsibilities of parenthood.