Part II: Teen Pregnancy
Written by guest blogger, Karan J., 18 years old. Visit her blog at http://dancinginthecity.tumblr.com/
By now, many of us have seen at least one episode of the MTV show 16 and Pregnant. Although, it makes a decent show, it unfortunately does not show the complete reality of having a baby.
Did you know that there are many ways to prevent pregnancy?
34% of young women become pregnant once before they are 20 years old, that is about 820,000 pregnancies a year in the United States. Luckily, the rate of teen pregnancy has been steadily declining since 2002 because contraceptives have started to be utilized more.
Contraceptives include, but are not limited to, condoms and birth control.
Condoms are 99.9% effective, but you will be surprised how that .1% can change your life. If you are sexually active, PLEASE make sure the condom isn’t expired. Also, make sure the condom doesn’t have any holes in it prior to, during, and after sex.
Remember this: If a guy tells you that having sex with a condom does not feel good and it feels better without a condom, he is just using you and he doesn’t love you. It’s better to protect yourself, always. Sex should be with someone you love and plan to be with for the rest of your life.
Also remember: A sexually active teen that does not use any contraceptives has a 90% chance of getting pregnant within one year. If you think you may be pregnant at any point, take a pregnancy test to be sure (tests can be purchased from a local drug-store) , consult a trusted adult, and see a doctor.
IF YOU ARE PREGNANT:
You still have options. Some girls that become pregnant still go and do great things. Don’t think that just because you are pregnant you can’t get an education, graduate from high school, go to college, etc.
It helps to inform someone close to you that you are pregnant. No one should have to go through it alone. Tell your parent(s). Yes, they may be upset, but if you come to them with a plan, they will see that you are trying to be responsible. If keeping the child to raise as your own is not an option, consider adoption. There are many couples unable to have children who would greatly benefit from it. Speak with a trusted adult before choosing this option though.
Some teens are turning to abortion. Yes, this is a controversial topic. No, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. If you do this, make sure you can live with the consequences. Make sure you have someone with you who can stand by your side and support you. Many girls do not know that it costs a good bit of money to get an abortion.
In the first trimester the cost for an abortion ranges from $300 to $950. The price gets higher in the second trimester. In June 2010, 36 states in the US require that a parent or guardian sign for a minor to get an abortion.
If you are pregnant and keeping the child, brace yourself for judgment. It’s sad how people are these days, but just know that you are not alone. There are many programs for teen mothers. Some programs help even more if you are still in school. Keep in mind that it costs money to raise a child. It costs about $200,000 to raise a child from birth to 18 years old. Make that your motivation to finish school and get a well paying job. Just because you have a child doesn’t mean your life isn’t over. It’s just opening a new chapter, so make the most of your life and take opportunities that can advance your life!
In the end, when it is all said and done, make sure you protect yourself in the future, whether through abstinence or contraceptives, such as condoms and birth control.
Statistic Sources: PlannedParenthood.org, PregnantTeenHelp.org, FamilyFirstAid.org, Guttmacher.org
View Part I of the “Let’s Talk About Sex…or No Sex” series here — Part I Virginity and Celibacy: Let’s Wait a While