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why do teens want to get pregnant

July 23, 2004 -- Despite dramatic declines during the past decade,
rates in the U. S. are still the highest in the industrialized world. And new research shows that for a surprisingly high number of may be the goal. Almost a quarter of the low-income, black teenaged girls surveyed as part of a University of Alabama, Birmingham study expressed a desire to become pregnant in the "near future. " The study is one of the first to examine attitudes about among adolescent girls who were not yet pregnant, and researcher Susan L. Davies, PhD, says the findings highlight a component of that has been largely ignored. "It is a big mistake to assume in intervention programs that is always something that adolescents want to avoid, especially low-income girls," she says. "I think some of our public health efforts need to be directed at finding out what would motivate girls who desire pregnancy to postpone childbearing. " Since 1990, the teen pregnancy rate in the U. S. has dropped by almost a third but between 800,000 and 900,000 American teenagers still each year. As part of a larger study, Davies and colleagues questioned 455 low-income, black girls aged 14 to 18. Among other things, the girls were asked about their use of, their sexual partners, and their attitudes about pregnancy.


Nearly a quarter expressed a desire to become pregnant. These girls were 3. 5 times more likely than those who did not desire pregnancy to have a boyfriend or partner at least five years older than they were. They were also more than twice as likely to have had a casual sexual partner in the recent past and to report inconsistent use. The findings are reported in the August issue of the journal Health, Education, and Behavior. Davies says the findings indicate that girls who desire pregnancy behave in ways that will help them meet their goal, and that their perception of the role of the male partner in may be minimal. While unplanned pregnancies among teens in the U. S. is at the lowest rate in years, American teenagers are still getting pregnant at a much higher rate than their counterparts in other countries Б 3x more often than teens in Germany and France, and 4x more often than teens in the Netherlands. In 2010, unplanned pregnancies among U. S. teens dropped to 34. 3 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 according to the most recent health statistics. ThatБs great news, but itБs still the highest teen pregnancy rate among developed nations.


Why are so many teenagers in the U. S. still getting pregnant? A report released last month by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed 5,000 girls in 19 states who got pregnant unintentionally and gave birth between 2004 and 2008. 50% of these girls did not use birth control and one third of these girls didnБt think they could get pregnant. Read the report here: As the article in Time Magazine point out, whatБs behind these numbers is unclear. Previous research has found that teenage girls who get pregnant have a number of misconceptions about their menstrual cycles. Some think that they canБt get pregnant the first time they have sex. Others simply donБt know how ovulation works and when they are most likely to be fertile. Still others simply have a vague idea that they canБt get pregnant at all. So what can be done? Educate, educate, educate. Unfortunately all too often the adults in a teenБs life think that itБs someone elseБs job to educate her about her sexual health. They are also likely to have their own biases and hang ups which make it difficult for them to convey this information in a straightforward, accurate way.


Fortunately some groups have started to address sexual health education based on postive-outcome reasearch. For instance, is an organization whose mission is Бto help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual healthБ. Even public school districts such as Montgomery County in Maryland and Hennepin County in Minnesota are innovating their curriculums to offer sex education through comprehensive, multi-year health curricula that is age appropriate. Girls need to know when they can get pregnant and be given accurate information about their basic biology. While itБs tempting to want to scare them into thinking that they can get pregnant anytime of the month or that they can get pregnant from just kissing a boy, it does girls a disservice. Teens (both girls and boys) need to be empowered and given the tools that will help them make good decisions in their lives. Studies show that providing teens with accurate sex health information delays the age of first sex and lowers teen pregnancy rates. Posted in:, Tags:, 2 comments for "Why Do So Many Teens in the U. S. Still Get Pregnant? " Comments are closed for this post.

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