A teen pregnancy occurs when a young woman aged 13-19 becomes pregnant. While the birth rates in the United States are at an all-time low, every day teens still face the challenge of becoming parents. Pregnancies in teens are more likely to be unplanned and, unfortunately, can come with life-altering consequences.
WHO NEEDS TO KNOW
Unplanned pregnancy is potential consequence of sexual activity. Although studies show "MTV’s Teen Mom" and "16 and Pregnant" have made a generation increasingly aware of the uncomfortable realities of teen pregnancy, the U.S. continues to have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world.
The consequences of raising a child are much more difficult for teens.
- Only 50 percent of teen moms are able to finish high school by age 22, compared to the 90 percent of young women who are not teen moms.
- Less than two percent of teen moms are able to earn a college degree by age 30.
- Almost 25 percent of teen moms have another unplanned pregnancy within two years, which can greatly impair teen moms’ abilities to work or complete their education.
- Only 61 percent of working teen dads obtain a high school diploma before the age of 26.
Can teens get pregnant?
Yes. There is no safe time, place, or situation to have sex and not risk an unplanned pregnancy. According to the CDC, almost 1/3 of teen moms report that they had no idea they could get pregnant at the time.
Is there a risk-free period to have sex?
No. Although a woman’s fertility levels change depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle, since any sperm that enters her body can live there for up to five days, women can get pregnant any day of the month. Because ovulation (releasing an egg) happens roughly two weeks before the period begins, even girls who haven’t yet started their periods can get pregnant.
Is there a risk-free place to have sex?
No. Pools, hot tubs and lakes offer NO protection against pregnancy, despite what you may have heard.
Can you get pregnant the first time you have sex?
Not only can you absolutely get pregnant your first time, people who are inexperienced with contraception and STD/STI protection are the most likely to misuse them. Forms of contraception like withdrawal (“pulling out”) and the rhythm method (“counting days”) provide no protection against STD/STIs and can vary wildly in accuracy depending on the people involved. Rumors about “safe” positions are just that, rumors. Whether a person has sex standing up, laying down, or upside down, if sperm enters a woman’s body, there is always a risk for an unplanned pregnancy. Sperm are just too fast and too tiny to be controlled by gravity the way you might think. Even sexual activities like anal sex carry some risk of pregnancy.
What’s the only way not to get pregnant?
The only 100 percent effective way to prevent teen pregnancy and STD/STIs is to practice abstinence. However, if you are engaging in sexual activity, you can lower your risk of facing an unplanned pregnancy by using protection EVERY time. Many forms of contraception are even available for free or at a reduced cost from your local Health Department.
HOW TO GET HELP
If you are interested in long or short-acting reversible contraception, talk to a medical professional.
It’s important to remember that male and female condoms are the only way to lower your risk of contracting an STD/STI, and abstinence is the only 100 percent way to prevent pregnancy or STD/STIs.