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Pregnancy

Get Informed - Teen Pregnancy

Not So Fun Facts

  • Eighty-two percent of teen pregnancies are unplanned; they account for about one-fifth of all unintended pregnancies annually. (1)
  • The teen pregnancy rate has been dropping over the years, reaching a historic low in 2012 of 29.4 per 1,000 women aged 15–19.  (2)  This is because of improved contraception use and because teens are waiting longer to have sex than they did in the recent past. (1)
  • ~6% of all births in the US are to teenage mothers(1)
  •  Teenage mothers are less likely to finish high school and are more likely to live in poverty, depend on public assistance, and be in poor health than slightly older mothers. (3)
  • Nearly one in four female teens at risk for unintended pregnancy (18%) were not using any contraceptive method at last intercourse. (1)
  • In 2010, 60%  of pregnancies among 15–19-year-olds in 2010 ended in birth, and 26% in abortion; the rest end in miscarriage.  The most common reasons given for having an abortion were (1):
    • fear of how a baby would change their life
    • inability to afford a baby
    • feeling too immature to raise a child
Get Informed - Teen Pregnancy

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Should Use Contraception?

Anyone who is having vaginal-penile intercourse should use contraception if they want to prevent pregnancy. Two forms of contraception (a hormonal option and a barrier option) is more effective than one contraceptive method alone in preventing pregnancy and will also help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.  Determining which method(s) of birth control is optimal for you is best decided with the help of a health care provider PRIOR to becoming sexually active.

Can I Get Pregnant In Any Position?

Yes. Any position in which you have intercourse can result in pregnancy when a person is not using effective contraception.

Can I Get Pregnant the First Time I have Sex?

Yes. Even one act of intercourse can result in pregnancy if you are not using contraception effectively.

How Effective is Birth Control at Preventing Pregnancy?

Birth Control, when used properly, can be very effective at preventing pregnancy.  For a detailed list of all forms of contraception and their effectiveness, please refer to:

http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm

What types of Contraception are Available?

Reversible Contraception comes in many forms, including:

  1. Barrier devices (male condomsfemale condom, diaphragmspermicides),
  2. The pill or progesterone only pill
  3. The patch (birth control that sticks to your skin for 1 week at a time),
  4. The Ring (birth control in a small ring placed inside the vagina for 3 weeks at a time),
  5. The Shot (birth control in the form of a shot that is obtained every 3 months,
  6. Implanted Rod (that is  placed under the skin in your arm) that can last up to 3 years,
  7. Intrauterine device( IUD) (with or without hormones) that a health care provider places inside of the uterus for up to 10 years.

For a complete list of all available contraceptions and further information about each, including the pros/cons of each method, please refer to:  

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Birth-Control-Especially-for-Teens

http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm

What type of Barrier Devices are Available?

Barrier devices work by preventing sperm from entering the cervix (the opening to the uterus). Contraceptives that use this method are called barrier devices because they block sperm. Barrier devices include:

  1. The male condom;
  2. The female condom;
  3. The cervical cap (a smaller rubber circle that sits right on the cervix);
  4. The diaphragm (a floppy rubber circle that covers the cervix);
  5.  A spermicide (a chemical placed in the vagina that kills sperm.  There are foam, cream, film, and suppositories that contain spermicides. These should be used with a condom;
  6. The sponge (a donut-shaped foam sponge that is inserted into the vagina.

When used alone, barrier methods have a failure rate of 12-28%.  When not used correctly, the failure rate can be even higher.  For more information on barrier methods and their effectiveness, refer to:

http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq022.pdf.

Can I Get Birth Control Without My Parents?

It is best to involve your guardian(s) in your decision to have intercourse and your desire to initiate birth control.  If you feel that this is not an option, in most states, minors (people younger than age 18 years) have the right to make choices about birth control without their parent/guardian’s permission. Discuss with your doctor or health care provider how the visit can be kept private and what your rights in this regard.

Be aware that if you use your parents’ health insurance to pay for birth control or a doctor’s visit, it may appear on the bill(s) that your parents receive. You may want to talk about birth control with your health provider at a visit that is for another health issue (such as a routine physical exam that is needed for school). Or, most cities have family planning clinics that allow a teen to have privacy and still be able to afford birth control.  Some clinics will even provide free birth control.  Your doctor, school nurse or a trusted adult can be good resources for finding these clinics.

What is Emergency contraception?

Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. Using Plan B or other forms of certain oral contraceptive pills within 120 hours or 5 days of unprotected intercourse, offers this protection. It is most effective when taken as soon as possible after the intercourse.

Plan B is available over the counter if you are 18 years old or older. If you are younger than 18 years, you can get a prescription from your doctor or health care provider, or ask the help of a trusted adult (who can by it over the counter for you).  Emergency contraception should not be used as your only form of contraception-it should be used in emergency situations only.  For additional information on emergency contraception, please refer to:

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Emergency-Contraception

If I Were to choose Pregnancy (Raising the Baby or Adoption), What Do I do First?

If you choose to raise the baby or put the baby up for adoption, you should start taking prenatal vitamins each day and make an appointment with your doctor to start prenatal care as soon as possible. Good prenatal care makes it more likely that you will have a healthy baby.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about labor, delivery, and the period after the baby is born. Knowing what to expect will help you get the most out of childbirth. For more detailed information on pregnancy choice, including raising a baby, and on adoption, please refer to the following links:

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Pregnancy-Choices-Raising-the-Baby-Adoption-and-Abortion

If I Were to choose to have an Abortion, What Do I Do?

Abortion occurs when the fetus is expelled from a woman’s uterus. When a procedure is done to end a pregnancy, it is called an induced abortion. Most abortions are done prior to the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Before any such procedure, a test will be done to confirm the pregnancy and the doctor will ask questions about your health, perform a physical exam, and get some blood tests. An ultrasound exam may be done to confirm the date of the pregnancy. In most cases, a counselor is also available to answer any questions and help you through the process. It is important to know your states rules on abortions for minors, as some states require at least one parent’s signature for a minor to have an abortion.

For detailed information on Abortion Options, please refer to:

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Pregnancy-Choices-Raising-the-Baby-Adoption-and-Abortion

Tips to Avoid Pregnancy

Get Informed - Teen Pregnancy

The best way to prevent pregnancy is by through abstinence.  If you choose to be sexually active, it is imperative that you use contraception to prevent  pregnancy.

For detailed information on all forms of birth control, see the link below:

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Birth-Control-Especially-for-Teens

While hormonal contraception does protect against pregnancy, it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  It is always best to use condoms to prevent against STIs.  A hormonal method of protection as well as a condom for each sexual encounter is the best way to confer protection against pregnancy and STIs.

For Further Information on Proper Use a condom please refer to:

For male condom use:

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/teen-talk/watch/how-use-condom-26797.htm

For female condom use:

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/female-condom-4223.htm

Need Help? What to Do If you Find You are Pregnant

If  you think you may be pregnant, it is best to  confide in an adult who you trust, so they can help you make important decisions regarding this pregnancy.

You should also see a doctor (or go to a clinic) to confirm that you are pregnant. The doctor will help you find out how far along you are in your pregnancy and talk to you about your options.

Your options for the pregnancy include:

  1. Raising the Baby
  2. Putting Baby Up for Adoption
  3. Having an Abortion

Talk with your doctor and with others that you trust, such as your partner, parents, or a friend, about what  is the best option for you. If you need help finding someone to talk to about your options, have a school counsellor or nurse help you find a family planning clinic or a family services agency to help guide you. Be sure that the counselor at the clinic/agency talks with you about all of the options. In most cases, counseling at these places costs very little, or is free.

Decide as early as possible what you want to do. If you choose either to raise the baby or to have him or her adopted, it is best to begin prenatal care as soon as you can. Prenatal care is the health care you get while you are pregnant. It includes medical care and counseling. The earlier you get prenatal care, the better.   If you do not have the money or a way to get to a doctors office or clinic, there are groups in your community that will help you. Talk with a doctor, counselor or school nurse about these options.

If you choose to have an abortion, it is simpler and safer for you to have it done as soon as possible. Explore your feelings to make sure that what you decide is right for you.

For helpful and reliable information that may help you with your decision, please review:

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Pregnancy-Choices-Raising-the-Baby-Adoption-and-Abortion

References

  1. Guttmacher Institute: Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health.  At http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-ATSRH.html, last accessed 8/15/14.
  2. National Vital Statistics Report. At http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_07.pdf, last accessed 8/15/14.
  3. NCSL Teen Pregnancy Prevention Report. At http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/teen-pregnancy-prevention.aspx, last accessed 8/15/14.

 

Information Last updated 8/15/14

Disclaimer: All health information on Girlsmarts.org is for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a trusted adult/guardian or professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard parental or professional medical advice or delay in seeking these because of something you have read on the Girlsmarts.org website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call a trusted adult and your doctor or 911 immediately.