I'm gonna have a baby!

Q: Is 13 years old too young to get pregnant?
A: Go here

January - Healthy Pregnancy Awareness Month
April - Campaign to raise awareness about teen dads
May - National Teen Pregnancy Prevention month - Just think how many of your friends have a birthday in January-February..

National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month - May
Talk with your kids about Teen Pregnancy
Parents - Talk About Sex AND Teen Pregnancy
Talk with your kids about safer-sex
10 Things You Should Know About Babies
What may happen to your body if you don't know about and practice safer sex - Watch 9 Months Of Gestation In 30 Seconds
One Million Teen Pregnancies Each Year (see how many babies have been born to mothers under 15 so far this year .)
Postpartum Depression
Fact Sheet on Adolescents who have Babies
Teen pregnancy is the leading cause of death for girls, and the problem is as urgent as it sounds

Teen Pregnancy and Addiction: Why Suicide Becomes a Concern
Suicidal behavior risks during adolescent pregnancy in a low-resource setting: A qualitative study
The Truth Behind The Suicide Statistic For Older Teen Girls
Suicidal ideation among single, pregnant adolescents: The role of sexual and religious knowledge, attitudes and practices
Adolescent pregnancy in the United States: an interstate analysis
Suicide attempts in a population pregnant as teen-agers (13 page PDF)
What Are the Effects of Teenage Pregnancy?

New Study Links Teen Pregnancy and Dropout, Spotlights Solutions
Different Programs Do Help Reduce Teen Pregnancy Rates
Keeping Up the Momentum: Together We Can Keep Teen Birth Rates Falling
Want a baby?
I Want it Now! or why becoming a parent should never be rushed
Sexual Acitivity
Contraceptive Use
Sexualy Transmitted Diseases
Teen Pregnancy
Teen Births Down, Unmarried Births Up
Teen Pregnancy Outcomes
Teenage Sex: Can You Influence Your Child's Decisions?
Teen Mothers and Their Children
How to tell your parents you’re pregnant or you made someone pregnant

Teenage Fathers Often Born to Teenage Fathers, Study Finds
Many Teen Boys View Pregnancy as Inevitable
Better Understanding Fathers: An Overview of U.S. Fatherhood Trends and Common Issues Fathers Face (17 page PDF)
Unique Needs of Young Fathers
Effect of Teenage Fatherhood on Outcomes
Promising Teen Father Programs
Teen Fatherhood and Educational Attainment
Teen Fathers: The Missing-Father Myth

Glossary of Sex Terms

Teen Pregnancy and Addiction: Why Suicide Becomes a Concern

Related Issues: Daddy Talk , Talking With Kids About Tough Issues , Reproduction , STDS , Contraception , Condoms , Safer Sex , Teen Sex , Impotency , General Sexuality
Resource: Facts of Life Line, Prevent Teen Pregnancy State Coalitions
Merchandise - Single card - $1.00 includes shipping, Positive Parenting Pack (all 34 cards) - $13.00 plus shipping

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

As part of the President's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI), CDC is partnering with the federal Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) to reduce teenage pregnancy and address disparities in teen pregnancy and birth rates. The OASH Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) is supporting public and private entities to fund medically accurate and age appropriate evidence-based or innovative program models to reduce teen pregnancy.

*     *     *

In May, the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program will observe Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month by raising awareness and sharing resources. Our theme, PREP Teens for the Future, emphasizes the importance of taking a holistic approach to educating at-risk youth about pregnancy prevention, with the goal of positively enhancing their development.

We need your support. Share facts and get involved!FYSB’s Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program administers 172 grants throughout the nation and several U.S. territories. These programs target vulnerable populations by providing culturally relevant and age-appropriate comprehensive and abstinence-only sex education. To reduce factors that put youth at risk and boost factors that protect them, grantees enhance the youth experience by providing mentoring, counseling, adult supervision and/or programming on adulthood preparation subjects.

Learn more about the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program

Did you know...

Youth are less likely to get pregnant or get someone pregnant if they have:

  • Open communication with adults about using contraception.
  • Supportive parents.
  • Healthy family dynamics.
  • Healthy relationships with peers.
  • Peers who use condoms.
  • Accurate knowledge about sexual health, pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and the importance of abstinence.

Youth are more likely to get pregnant or get someone pregnant if they:

  • Live in poverty.
  • Are the child of a teen parent.
  • Are from a single-parent home.
  • Live in a home with a lot of family conflict.
  • Have sex at a young age.
  • Use and/or abuse drugs and alcohol at a young age.
  • Have low self-esteem.

Source: teenpregnancy.acf.hhs.gov/

Talk with your kids about Teen Pregnancy

The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate of all developed countries. In Brookings, 15% of 8th graders had begun experimenting with sex. By 15, that number increased to over 35%, and over 52% of Juniors had had sexual intercourse.

Parents who live in tightly knit social or religious communities that condemn premarital sex may find it easier to steer their teenagers' sexual choices. However, the strategy of ordering teens to abstain from sex has not proven to be successful.

Research shows that teens whose parents communicate with them tend to have less sex, and more responsible sex, than teens of non communicative parents.

You stand a better chance of reaching them by inviting a two-way discussion about sexuality than by trying to impose your views on them - or ignoring the issue altogether. Not knowing about sex doesn't prevent teens from having it, often to disastrous consequences.

How much does it cost to raise a child?

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently came out with its latest figures. The title should have read “How to scare the heck out of any parents-to-be”. The sticker price $286,050 not counting college, lost income or career opportunities, and life insurance

 Fact Sheet on Adolescents who have Babies

50% of adolescents who have a baby become pregnant again within two years of the baby's birth.

The second baby born to an adolescent mother is at higher risk than the first baby to be low birth weight.

Adolescent mothers who return to school after the first birth are less likely to have a repeat birth in the first year after the first birth.

The children of adolescent mothers are at increased risk for being a teen parent themselves.

The children of adolescent mothers are at increased risk for dropping out of school as adolescents.

The children of adolescent mothers who continue to have close ties with their fathers while they are growing up have better outcomes in education and employment as adults.

How to tell your parents you’re pregnant or you made someone pregnant

Telling your parents you are pregnant is one of the hardest things you will do. You may feel scared, ashamed, embarrassed, nervous, anxious, or depressed.

1. Stay calm
2. Write a letter if you need to
3. Make a plan beforehand
4. If you plan to continue the pregnancy, be specific about the future. Explain how you’ll finish school, provide for the baby, etc.
5. Bring a supportive friend or relative along
6. Tell them first--don’t let them hear it somewhere else
7. If they freak out, leave for a bit and come back later. Hopefully they will have calmed down a little.  

Parents - Talk About Sex AND Teen Pregnancy

Don't Assume Your Teen Thinks Teen Pregnancy Is Bad

Since 2001, the United States hasn’t made much advancement in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies (49% of all pregnancies are not planned). These rates have been increasing and remain fairly high overall. Teen pregnancy also poses a concern since more than four out of five unintended pregnancies occurred in teens 19 years old and younger. The number or unplanned teen pregnancies ending in abortion has also increased for teens 15 to 17 years old between 2001 and 2006.

Statistics from a 2011 CDC report uncovered even more upsetting information about teen pregnancy. Among teens ages 15–19 who experienced unintended pregnancies and gave birth:

  • 50.1% admitted to doing nothing to prevent pregnancy.
  • 31.4% thought they couldn’t get pregnant at the time.
  • 23.6% did not use birth control because their partner didn’t want to use it.
  • And (pay attention parents) - 22.1% said they didn’t mind getting pregnant.

These teen pregnancy statistics should have parents on alert. Adults presume that teens understand that getting pregnant is not the best idea. Yet, when surveyed, less than half of all teens indicate that they are getting a clear message that teen pregnancy is wrong and almost a fourth of teens did not care if they became pregnant. Because of this, when discussing teenage relationships and sex, part of this conversation should include discussion about pregnant teenagers (how these teens cope and how to prevent such pregnancies in the first place).

Sadly, our culture tends to glamorize teen pregnancy; very often, teens do not realize the full implications of what it is like to be a child raising a child. They may not realize how difficult it is to be a typical teen parent, not a celebrity pregnant teenager -- one who doesn’t live in a mansion, has a handful of nannies or has the money and resources to buy cute baby clothes and accessories.

In reality, according to a 2010 National Center for Health Statistics report, when teens were asked, If you got pregnant now/got a female pregnant now, how would you feel? – ONLY:

  • 57.6% of female teens indicated that they would be very upset.
  • 47% of male teens expressed that they would be very upset.
  • 28.5% of female teens said they would be just a little upset.
  • 34.3% of the male teens stated they would be just a little upset.

The teens also revealed that 13.7% of the females and 17.5% of the males would feel pleased or very pleased if they became pregnant or got a girl pregnant.

Additional results from this report also point to some distressing attitudes teenagers are holding onto about teen pregnancy. When asked if it is okay for an unmarried female to have a child:

  • 70.8% of female teens either strongly agreed or agreed to this statement.
  • 63.9% of male teens either strongly agreed or agreed to this statement.
  • Only 27.7% of female teens and 35.6% of male teens indicated any type of disagreement with this statement

Data like this seem to indicate that teenagers may NOT be viewing teen pregnancy as being serious or damaging. In fact, only 17.7% of teen girls and 12.4% of teen boys said that the main reason they have yet to have sex is because they did not want to become pregnant or get a girl pregnant. This should make parents realize that if their teen hasn’t has sex yet, the reason is likely to be something other than fear of teen pregnancy.

So parents, these attitudes appear to be a big obstacle to overcome. You can help to prevent teen pregnancy and overcome these attitudes by:

  • Providing appropriate education to reduce or postpone onset of sexual activity.
  • Increasing teens’ motivation to avoid pregnancy.
  • Teaching teens about the how pregnancy occurs.
  • Providing access to contraception and encouraging use of more effective birth control methods.
  • Strengthening teens’ skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners.

When you talk about sex with your teen, you can also try to have your teen talk directly with real teen parents. This way, they can hear first-hand how difficult teen pregnancy can really be. If you can't find a way to have your teen speak one-on-one with a teen parent, find teen pregnancy stories on the internet.

Another resource to try is having your teen watch the MTV show Teen Mom (though I would suggest that you watch it together because it may present situations that could lead to in-depth discussion between you and your teen). Teen Mom is an American reality series that served as a spin-off of to the show 16 and Pregnant. Teen Mom chronicles the lives of some of the teenagers originally on 16 and Pregnant as they navigate their first few years of motherhood. The show presents a good and fairly realistic portrayal of the challenges and struggles of teenage parents highlighting how relationships change... especially those of family, friends, and the couples themselves.

16 and Pregnant is also on MTV and each episode features a different teenage girl in high school who is sharing her story of dealing with the hardships of teen pregnancy. In my opinion, this show does a good job showing the realities of being a pregnant teenager. The website StayTeen.org has links where you can watch 16 and Pregnant episodes. It also allows you to click on a discussion guide link for each episode that summarizes it and poses questions about situations that may have come up in the episode, gives you things to think about, discuss and keep in mind. Plus, they include related resources.

Most teens don’t want to be parents, so hearing real stories could influence their sexual decisions. You can also help your teen set meaningful goals for the future -- make sure they see how an unintended teen pregnancy could alter their lives and prevent them from reaching their goals. Also, don’t be afraid to let them know the facts:

  • Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school and more likely to end up on welfare.
  • Teen mothers have babies that are at greater risk of being premature, have low birth weight and/or mental retardation.
  • Babies born to teen mothers are more likely to grow up in poverty and become victims of abuse and/or neglect.

Finally, these are not discussions reserved only for female teens and their parents. The nearly 900,000 teen girls who become pregnant each year don’t do it alone. Parents need to talk to their teen sons, too, because the boys also need to understand that teen pregnancy has serious consequences for them as well. BOTH teen girls AND boys need to have talks with their parents about sexual consequences, responsibility/contraception, sex, love, values and the reality of teen pregnancy.


Abma JC, Martinez GM, Copen CE."Teenagers in the United States: Sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing, National Survey of Family Growth 2006–2008”. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Statistics. 2010. 23(30):1-47. Accessed October 2011.

CDC. "Prepregnancy contraceptive use among teens with unintended pregnancies resulting in live births: Pregnancy risk assessment monitoring system (PRAMS), 2004–2008". Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. January 20, 2012. 61(2): 25-39. Accessed 1/2012.

Lawrence B. Finer, Mia R. Zolna. “Unintended pregnancy in the United States: Incidence and disparities, 2006.” Contraception. 25 August 2011. Article in press. Accessed via private subscription.


KURY Radio - Voices - May 8

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month to promote and support effective teen pregnancy prevention initiatives. (Probably because there are so many pring Proms and graduation parties that get out of hand and people get too drunk to know what is really happening.)

About 1 million teenagers will become pregnant this year; 95% of those pregnancies are unintended, and almost one third will end in abortion.

The United States has twice the teen pregnancy rate of any developed country despite the fact that our teens are not more sexually active than Swedish teens, or Canadian teens, or British teens.

Why? Because we don't educate about birth control in sex education classes, we don't discuss it at home, we don't give teens good access to it, and we don't advertise it in our media. Other countries do, and they are rewarded with low rates of teen pregnancy and teen abortions. But, you say, making condoms available in school-based clinics would ‘give kids the wrong idea’. In fact, 5 recent research studies indicate that it doesn't.

Educating teenagers about contraception makes them more likely to use contraception when they begin having sex, but it doesn't lower the age at first intercourse.

Why? Probably because the decision where and with whom to become sexually active is a very complicated one, rooted in family, peers, religion, the media, and individual personality factors. But the decision whether to contracept or not is a very simple one: is it available? If so, I'll use it. If not, I’m still going to have sex, but I’m not going to go out of my way to get birth control.

Until Americans get over their hysteria about giving young people access to birth control, we will continue to have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world. It's really that simple.

May is also Masturbation Awareness Month? Is it a coinsidence?


How Much Does It Really Cost to Have a Baby?

A lot more than you think, according to results from our survey.

Special Offer Everybody knows that having a child puts a dent in your family finances, but not everybody plans for it. What's worse, even those who do plan have lots of misperceptions about just how big an impact a little baby can have, according to a survey of 1,000 new and expectant parents commissioned by Redbook and VISA. And in this case, what you don't know can hurt you: Financial strain only compounds the emotional challenges a newborn brings to a household. "The smartest thing you can do is sit down before you have your baby and map out a financial plan," says Rosetta Jones, a vice president at VISA USA, which provides a baby budgeting calculator at practicalmoneyskills.com . Unfortunately, fewer than half of expectant parents surveyed even bothered to create a new budget that includes expenses for their baby. Read on to learn about other money mistakes new parents make the most — and what you can do to avoid them.

Where'd All the Money Go?

76% of expectant parents say they feel financially prepared for having a baby — but 41% of new parents admit that, in hindsight, they were not as financially prepared as they thought.

Why the huge discrepancy? It turns out there's a major financial roadblock that expectant parents often fail to account for: hospital bills. One in four new parents ended up spending more than $2,000 on out-of-pocket costs for services associated with a normal delivery — costs that they thought would be covered by insurance. On average, expectant parents are allotting just $776 to cover out-of-pocket delivery costs.

Call your insurance company to find out exactly what will be covered for your delivery. And make sure you have the right idea about postdelivery costs too: Log on to the Internet to see what you could be paying for day care, a crib, a car seat, a stroller — even baby wipes, formula and diapers (at eight a day for newborns, they add up fast!). Then tally up what your costs will likely be, factoring in your family's lost income due to maternity and paternity leave. But don't forget — you'll have new savings, too, since you'll be going out a lot less once the baby arrives! "New parents don't spend on personal indulgences the way they used to," says Brette McWhorter Sember, author of Your Practical Pregnancy Planner. "These savings bring some balance to the enormous new costs."

Hey, Big Spender!

Nearly half of new parents say they spent more money than necessary on a car seat; 36% overspent on strollers; about 25% went overboard on baby photos, a crib and clothing.

All new parents say they won't lavish their child with toys and clothes. But many respondents to our survey did just that. And you can't really blame them. "There's been a huge surge in luxury items for babies," says Tamara Draut, author of Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead. "No matter what a couple's financial status is, they feel pressure to buy these things — the bar has been raised for everybody."

How can you fight the urge to splurge? Let someone else do it for you. If you've really got to have that $300 stroller, put it on your gift registry. Expectant parents in our survey were counting on their friends and family to buy 46 percent of their baby's first year of clothes, 40 percent of toys and 39 percent of baby-care items as gifts. Another alternative: Hit thrift stores or eBay to find what you want, albeit used. Miriam Nunberg, a 41-year-old mother of two from Brooklyn, scours yard sales for toys and tricycles. "People get rid of this stuff when their babies grow out of them and you can buy them for almost nothing," she says. Another tactic: Borrow. Ask your friends and family for hand-me-down clothes, used toys and gear.

Sweating the Small Stuff

48% of expectant parents think that managing everyday expenses will be their biggest financial worry, but only a third of new parents feel the same way.

Even though expectant parents tend to underestimate the overall financial impact of having a baby, they also overestimate the cost of daily expenses. Expectant parents figure on spending an average of $120 a month on diapers; new parents actually spend half that. What gives? New parents are savvier shoppers: Three-fourths of them shop for baby items at discount retailers, compared with only half of expectant parents. It makes sense: A Consumer Reports comparison recently found that some store-brand diapers work just as well as brand-name ones and cost a lot less — assuming you change six diapers a day, you'd save about $220 a year.

The best news about basic baby costs: "Daily baby expenses, such as for food, diapers and wipes, actually haven't gone up dramatically over the years," says Alan Fields, coauthor of the shopping guide Baby Bargains.

And Baby Makes Stress

36% of expectant parents anticipate that tension in their relationship will increase after their baby's birth. Watch out: Nearly half of new parents found that to be the case.

Of course, not getting any sleep and dealing with a crying baby don't help matters, but the added financial responsibilities also put a lot of added strain on relationships: Most new parents say baby expenses have increased their stress level, and the majority of expectant parents predict that they'll be in the same boat. In addition to the simple strain of all the new costs, there's uncertainty and disagreement as to what's really necessary — a sure formula for conflict. And once the baby arrives, couples tend to work together less on their finances. In our survey, the percentage of couples who split their family's financial management equally dropped from 44 percent before the baby was born to 32 percent after the baby's arrival. Who's taking on the added responsibility? Mom! Half of new mothers report that they handle the family money, up from 37 percent prior to the baby's birth.

"The combination of having a kid and all the financial pressures that involves, especially when one parent stays home for a while, naturally leads to relationship stress," says David Bach, author of Smart Couples Finish Rich. What can you do to cut down on the stress? Richard Ryan, a psychology professor at the University of Rochester, advises couples to keep one concept in mind: teamwork. Whether it's a big-impact issue like a budget or a small one like buying a toy, keep each other in the loop and discuss concerns openly. "The goal is to focus on agreement," says Ryan. That's not easy to do, but according to our survey, couples believe they can make it work: The majority of new and expectant parents say they are prepared to tackle any challenge. And that mutual optimism is money in the bank.

Baby Budgeting, Then and Now

Surprise — the prices on many baby items have gone down in the last decade. (1994 prices have been adjusted for inflation.)



Huggies 100 count Step 1 diapers


336 count Pampers Baby Fresh Wipes


16-oz. can of name-brand formula at grocery store




Average cost of first year's layette


How They Manage

The Bargain Hunters

•Kam Aures, 31, a stay-at-home mom, and T.J. Aures, 29, a corrections officer, Boulder Junction, WI - Parents of Cayden, 18 months

Kam and T.J. were both raised by stay-at-home moms and wanted the same experience for Cayden. So they saved for months before Kam even got pregnant. Once she did, she combed library sales for books and garage sales for clothing. "I've found Ralph Lauren outfits for a dollar," she says. Kam nursed Cayden for about nine months, then got three months of free formula by using coupons. The Aureses have kept their daily expenses low, so they can afford to splurge now and then. "Sometimes there's a really cute outfit that you just can't pass up," says Kam.

Caught Off Guard

•Lisa Hazen, 34, a Web designer, and Shawn Hazen, 32, an art director, Oakland

•Parents of Finn, 4 months

The Hazens knew a baby meant all kinds of new expenses, but they were still surprised: "Living in the San Francisco Bay area, I've been shocked by how expensive everything is for a baby," Lisa says. "Child care is going to cost $1,000 a month, even with me going back to work only three days a week." The Hazens have curtailed dinners out and other expenses, but they're still just scraping by. "We're trying to cut wherever we can," says Lisa.

Smarter with the Second

Caroline Morris, 35, a communications manager, and Andrew Morris, 38, a management consultant, Atlanta Parents of Lindsay, 3, and Claire, 7 months

The Morrises spent hundreds of dollars on high chairs, bouncy seats and other gear for Lindsay. "When you're a first-time mom, you just don't know what will work when you have a screaming baby," says Caroline. But once she realized that every toy looked battered within a few days, Caroline decided to shop at consignment stores. With Claire, the Morrises were money-conscious from the get-go, shopping at Costco for store-brand diapers. Says Caroline, "The child doesn't know the difference and it's usually just as good."

Facing a Scary Surprise

Devona Burt, 30, a stay-at-home mom and student, and Charlie Burt, 34, a construction manager, Houston, TX - Parents of Byson, 15 months

Devona and Charlie Burt thought they were financially prepared for their baby — they even had $4,000 saved for baby-related expenses. But Byson was delivered prematurely, and the Burts were hit with, among other bills, $200 in monthly insurance co-payments and $45 a week for hospital parking. "Our savings were completely wiped out," says Devona. Byson's health is improving, she says, a blessing that offsets any financial setback.

The 10-Year Plan
Here's what you can expect your annual kid expenses to be through
your child's 10th birthday, depending on your income.
Child's Age Household Income
< $41,700
$41,700 to $70,200
10 yrs
18 yrs*
18 yrs**

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture *-Single-parent family; **-Dual-parent family

Source: www.redbookmag.com/money-career/tips-advice/money-baby-cost and The Cost of Raising Children 0-18

How much does it cost to raise a child?

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently came out with its latest figures on the cost of raising a child. The title should have read “How to scare the heck out of any parents-to-be”. Want to know the sticker price of that cutie pie? $286,050. That would be for the middle income families. If you are a “high” income family (read: earn more than $98000 before tax) the cost of raising a kid born in 2009 would be $475,680!!! Half a million for one kid? That is not even including college costs. If I include college and have 2 kids, it could be more than a million dollars! Is it just me or does this amount sound really high? Lets see what is included in this amount and what is not.

What is included in the cost of raising a child report?

The USDA survey had 7 categories

1. Housing consisting of shelter, utilities, house furnishings and equipment

2. Food expenses consisting of food and nonalcoholic beverages purchased at the grocery, convenience, and specialty stores, dining at restaurants and household expenditures on school meals.

3. Transportation expenses consist of the monthly payments on vehicle loans, down payments, gasoline and motor oil, maintenance and repairs, insurance, and public transportation(including airline fares).

4. Clothing expenses consist of children’s apparel such as diapers, shirts, pants, dresses, and suits; footwear; and clothing services such as dry cleaning, alterations, and repair.

5. Health care expenses consist of medical and dental services not covered by insurance, prescription drugs and medical supplies not covered by insurance, and health insurance premiums not paid by an employer or other organization. Medical services include those related to physical and mental health.

6. Child care and education expenses consist of day care tuition and supplies; baby-sitting; and elementary and high school tuition, books, fees, and supplies. Books, fees, and supplies may be for private or public schools.

7. Miscellaneous expenses consist of personal care items, entertainment and reading materials.

Since 1960, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided estimates of expenditures on children from birth through age 17. Here is a chart comparing the expenses in 1960 and 2009.

The major change comes from Child care and education (increasing from 2% to 17%).

What is not included?

This survey doesn’t include a few things which doesn’t seem right to me.
  • Cost of college : Or at least the money many parents start setting aside for education when their little ones are still in diapers. I am looking into 529s now, I don’t even have a kid.
  • Lost income or career opportunities : Lot of parents decide to have one stay at home parent to raise the kid.
  • Life insurance : I don’t have life insurance yet but I plan to get a term life as soon I have a kid, so I feel this should be included. If I am alone I won’t be buying life insurance for myself.
  • Tax benefits : Don’t parents get some kind of tax benefits?
  • Cost of living : According to the survey child care (day care) costs around $5000 per year. But I know for a fact that it costs around $1000 a month where I live.

How much does raising a child cost ME?

USDA also provides a handy calculator to figure out how much it will cost you to raise your child. Living in CA, it will cost me an extra $2000 to raise a kid every year than the national average. Just for fun I decided to enter a couple of more kids. If I have 3 kids, I will spend $832,728 over the next 17 years! That is without college costs. If I include that I am easily looking at $1+ million. Oh my!

I understand this is a very personal issue. For example I don’t think it will cost the amount of money they quote in the following categories :

  • Housing : The survey says you will have to move to a bigger home for each child. I plan to live in a modest home and that won’t change whether I have a kid or not. When I buy a home, I will make sure that it is in a decent school district even though I don’t have a kid right now.
  • Food : I do plan our meals and grocery shopping, so I might save a chunk on food expenses.
  • Transportation : I am not a parent yet, but at least until I have to start driving a lot for sporting events and such, I don’t see why I will spend $3380 for transportation. What am I missing here?
  • Health Care : I have good health care from my employer (fingers crossed) and that will continue for the kids. So except the co-pays for which I will use FSA or HSA, this won’t be a big part of our expenses.

But we will pay through the nose for the following:

  • Child care : As I mentioned my coworker pays $1050 for a shared day care situation.
  • Education : I plan to help my kids with college expenses, so I will set aside a good amount of money for their future college expense.
  • Sports and other extra curricular activities : If my kids are interested in sports or music or anything, I will encourage them as much as possible and pay for it.

I understand whether to have a kid or not is not purely a financial decision. There is no denying that they are going to cost money. A lot of money. There are other non financial concerns and my husband and I are committed to giving them the best possible life that we can afford. But these kinds of surveys and big numbers do scare me. I will have to create my own spreadsheet and run some numbers for my family and should probably try the stay-at-home calculator as well.

I am asking parents, what is the cost of raising a child? Are their numbers accurate? Or are they too low? Too high? Are you surprised by how much it costs to raise a child? What are your biggest expenses? What other categories that are not included here should I be aware of?

11 Step Program for those thinking of having kids

If you're still wanting to have kids before 25 or 30, complete this experiment.

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...

1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...

1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag of potatoes weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, Spounge Bob Square Pants, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent! But, do us a favor. Wait until you can afford to take care of a child for at least 18 years.

One Million Teen Pregnancies Each Year

Although teen pregnancy and birth rates in the U.S. declined significantly during the 1990s, approximately 1 million American teenage girls still get pregnant each year. That is by far the highest rate of teen pregnancies of any industrialized nation -- and eight out of 10 are unplanned, according to NCPTP figures. (See how many babies have been born to mothers under 15 so far this year .)

After rising 23% between 1972 and 1990, pregnancies among girls between the ages of 15 and 19 declined 17% between 1990 and 1996. The teen birth rate dropped by 20% between 1991 and 1999, to approximately 50 births per 1,000 young women.

So is the drop in teen pregnancies due to fewer adolescents having sex or to better contraception use among those who are sexually active?

The answer depends on whom you ask. Groups promoting abstinence until marriage say their message is finally getting through, and statistics do suggest fewer teens are having sex than a decade ago. High-profile celebrities who have gone public with their virginity, such as pop singer Jessica Simpson and NBA star A.C. Green, have helped to give the abstinence movement a certain cachet among the young.

"I go to a private school, and the majority of my peers are abstinent," 18-year-old high school junior Nick Reid tells WebMD. "I don't know if you can say that at most public schools, but that may be a gross generalization." Reid, who lives in Nashville, serves on the NCPTP's youth leadership team.

A report from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the nation's largest nonprofit organization studying reproductive health, suggests three-fourths of the recent decline in pregnancies among teens is due to better contraceptive use and only one-fourth is due to abstinence.

"If people are suggesting that abstinence is the primary reason for the decline in pregnancy rates, that is just not accurate," says Cynthia Dailard, senior policy analyst with the institute. "We see politicians, including the president, pushing abstinence-only education and calling for teens to abstain from sex. But research shows that comprehensive methods of sexual education that discuss methods of contraception, while encouraging teenagers to delay sexual activity, are most effective."

Abstinence vs. Contraception

As a presidential candidate, George W. Bush repeatedly expressed his support for abstinence-only school-based programs, saying a top administration priority would be to "elevate abstinence education from an afterthought to an urgent goal." In a speech delivered in July 1999, candidate Bush said, "It seems like to me the contraceptive message sends a contradictory message. It tends to undermine the message of abstinence."

The comments appear to contradict the findings of the nation's top public and private health organizations. A National Institutes of Health report, published in 1997, called sexual abstinence a desirable objective, but added that, "programs must include instruction in safer sex behavior, including condom use." The American Academy of Pediatrics weighed in on the issue in a report published early in 2001, noting that "all adolescents should be counseled about the correct and consistent use of latex condoms to reduce the risk of infection."

And a newly released NCPTP study evaluating sex education programs found that education efforts that discuss contraception use do not hasten the onset of sex, increase the frequency of sex, nor increase the number of sexual partners among teens. Likewise, making condoms and other contraceptives available in schools does not hasten or increase sexual activity, the report concluded.

A survey of parents, conducted last year by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, found that four out of five agreed that information about contraceptives should be included in school-based sex education programs. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy survey found that more than 90% of adults and teens said a strong abstinence message is important, but 69% of adults and 67% of teens said it was also important to teach contraception.

"Only a handful of conservative politicians are pushing the more stringent abstinence education, but they are very powerful," Dailard says. "And parents and teachers aren't willing to be real vocal about this issue."

Sanden calls the debate over abstinence vs. contraceptive use counterproductive and irrelevant, and high school junior Reid agrees.

"The fact is, teens need to choose either abstinence or contraception, and many aren't motivated to make that choice." Sanden says. "Kids who don't think about this ahead of time are the ones who have a huge risk of getting pregnant."

"I think you can get into a war of words with the abstinence vs. contraception debate, and you probably won't go anywhere with that," Reid adds. "Abstinence is the best and most desired method of preventing pregnancy, but it is also not very realistic for many teens."

Opening the Dialogue

So how do parents approach discussions of sex with their children? First, don't hesitate to express your own opinions about what is appropriate behavior, according to recommendations from the NCPTP. Make sure the discussions are age-appropriate, but be prepared to get specific with older children and teens.

Monitoring the magazines they read and the television they watch may be a good way of easing into discussions of sex, Sanders says. She admits that it takes some courage to watch teen-oriented nighttime soap operas like "Dawson's Creek" and "7th Heaven" with your kids. A story line on "Dawson's Creek" this season, for example, had main characters Joey and Pacey having sex, and Joey fearing that she might be pregnant.

"You may be cringing the whole time you are sitting there watching, but later on it is going to pay off," she says. "Instead of throwing up your hands and ranting about how the media is such a terrible influence, you could use the situation to talk about the consequences of sex."

Teens, Reid says, need to feel they can talk to their parents about sex.

"I think parents are pretty uncomfortable talking about sex, but it is important and they need to address it," he says. "Kids do respect their parents' opinions, but the parents don't really know that. They don't think they have an influence, but they actually do."
Source: my.webmd.com/printing/article/1687.50985

Keeping Up the Momentum: Together We Can Keep Teen Birth Rates Falling

In 2011, over half of teeens hd never hand intervcourse. 52.6% In 2011, more teen used contraceptions: 78% females, 85% males.

Since 1995, girls reported greater use of hormonal contraceptives (other than the pill) like shots and the patch4

1995 7%
2002 9.1%
2006 12.2%

Since 1988, increasing numbers of boys reported using condoms the last time they had sex5

1988 55.3%
1995 63.9%
2002 70.7%
2006 -2 0 1 0 74.7%

Prevention is Key

  • $9.4 Billion The 2010 cost of teen pregnancy and childbirth9 $125 MiLLioN Appropriated to the Family and Youth Services Bureau for prevention efforts in 2010
  • Teen parents may have a tougher time getting an education and making a living.10 90% Women who received their high school diploma by age 22 50%
  • Teen mothers who received their high school diploma by age 22
  • Teenage fathers are 25 To 30% less likely to receive a high school diploma by age 22 than similar young males who did not become fathers as teens.11 fysb’s response

We take a holistic approach to educating youth on pregnancy prevention by implementing evidence-based models, adulthood preparation subjects and other youth development programming that supports healthy transitions to adulthood while addressing risky behaviors.

The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (APP) Program’s State Personal Responsibility Education Program will have reached an estimated 300,000 young people by September 2014. APP’s comprehensive and abstinenceonly programs reach thousands more teens, including Native American teens, foster youth, homeless youth and teen parents.

PREP teens for the future.


1 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/teenbrth.htm

2 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6104.pdf

3 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_031.pdf

4 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_031.pdf

5 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_031.pdf

6 http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/aboutteenpreg.htm

7 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr62/nvsr62_09.pdf#table02

8 http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/aboutteenpreg.htm

9 http://thenationalcampaign.org/data/landing?id=10&sID=804

10 http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/aboutteenpreg.htm

11 Covington, R., Peters, H. E., Sabia, J. J., & Price, J. P. (2011). Teen fatherhood and educational attainment: Evidence from three cohorts of youth. Retrieved from resiliencelaw.org/wordpress2011/wpcontent/uploads/2012/04/Teen-Fatherhood-and-Educational-Attainment.pdf Fletcher, J. M., & Wolfe, B .L. (2012).

The effects of teenage fatherhood on young adult outcomes. Economic Inquiry, 50(1), 182-201

Fact Sheet on Adolescents who have Babies

Fifty percent of adolescents who have a baby become pregnant again within two years of the baby's birth.

Twenty-five percent of adolescents who have one baby have a second baby within two years of the first baby's birth.

In 1996, 22 percent of all births to 15-19 year old young women in the US were repeat births, i.e. a second birth or higher.

The second baby born to an adolescent mother is at higher risk than the first baby to be low birth weight.

Adolescent mothers who return to school after the first birth are less likely to have a repeat birth in the first year after the first birth.

The children of adolescent mothers are at increased risk for being a teen parent themselves.

The children of adolescent mothers are at increased risk for dropping out of school as adolescents.

The children of adolescent mothers who continue to have close ties with their fathers while they are growing up have better outcomes in education and employment as adults.
Source: Marianne E. Felice, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, University of Massachusetts, Board of Directors, Campaign For Our Children, www.cfoc.org/4_parent/4_facts.cfm?Fact_ID=124&FactCat_ID=12

New Study Links Teen Pregnancy and Dropout, Spotlights Solutions

A new report released by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy shows that teenage pregnancy and high school dropout are linked. This newly released report puts the spotlight on innovative ways that some school systems—particularly those with low achievement levels and high birth rates—are working together with organizations that oversee teen pregnancy prevention programs to help teens avoid pregnancy and parenthood and go on to complete their high school education.

Key highlights include the following facts:

  • Parenthood is a leading cause of school dropout among teen girls. In fact, this is true for 30% of all teen girls, with minorities having higher rates (36% for Hispanic girls and 38% for African American girls).
  • One in three (34%) teen mothers earned neither a diploma nor a GED, compared with only six percent of young women who had not had a teen birth.
  • Over the course of a lifetime, a college graduate will earn, on average, $1 million more than a high school dropout. Over the course of his or her lifetime, a single high school dropout costs the nation approximately $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes and productivity.

The report then lists various ways that communities across the United States are working on the issue and offers the following strategies to address the link between teen pregnancy and high school dropout with education leaders and community partners. They suggest the following:

  • Ask parents (input from parents can lead to rich data or bottom-up strategies)
  • ?Educate community leaders and parents
  • ?Professional development for district staff and teachers
  • ?Periodic outreach to school administrators
  • ?Enlist new champions

Different Programs Do Help Reduce Teen Pregnancy Rates

Programs designed to address teen sexuality, and several that do not address sex at all, have played a major role in reducing teen pregnancy rates over the past decade, a newly released study suggests. But it is not yet clear whether the abstinence-only programs favored by the Bush administration are effective.

Research from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, or NCPTP, found that sex education programs discussing and/or providing contraception did not hasten the onset of sex, increase the frequency of sex, or increase the number of sexual partners teens had.

"We now know that several different types of programs actually do reduce sexual risk-taking behavior, either by delaying sex or increasing condom and contraceptive use," study author Douglas Kirby, PhD, tells WebMD. "This research shows that a variety of different programs are effective. This is important because it means organizations and communities can pursue different approaches and still have an impact upon teen pregnancies."

Kirby reviewed research on a wide range of programs aimed at children and teens, including school-based sexuality and abstinence programs, those associated with contraceptive and family planning clinics, those focusing on voluntary community service, and those combining education, healthcare, community involvement, and recreation.

As a presidential candidate, George W. Bush repeatedly expressed his support for abstinence-only school-based programs, saying a top administration priority would be to "elevate abstinence education from an afterthought to an urgent goal." In a speech delivered in July 1999, candidate Bush said, "It seems like to me the contraceptive message sends a contradictory message. It tends to undermine the message of abstinence."

According to Kirby, there have not been enough good studies to determine whether abstinence-only education is effective in reducing teen pregnancies. A large, federally funded study addressing the question is now under way, but findings aren't expected for several years.

"We don't know whether abstinence-only programs work. They might or they might not," Kirby says. "But the evidence is overwhelming that talking about condoms and contraception, while emphasizing abstinence, does not increase sexual activity among young people."

Approximately 1 million teenage girls get pregnant in the United States each year, by far the highest rate of teen pregnancies of any industrialized nation, and eight out of 10 are unplanned, according to NCPTP figures. After rising 23% between 1972 and 1990, pregnancies among girls between the ages of 15 and 19 declined 17% between 1990 and 1996. The teen birth rate dropped by 20% between 1991 and 1999, to approximately 50 births per 1,000 young women.

The report, released today, highlighted several types of programs that are effective in delaying the onset of sex among teens, improving contraceptive use, and preventing pregnancy. Several programs focusing on sex and HIV education, with strong condom and contraception components, were found to successfully do all three.

Some programs that do not address sex at all, but instead get teens involved in volunteer work within the community, were found to have a significant impact on teen pregnancy.

"To be honest, we don't know why these programs are effective in reducing teen pregnancy," Kirby says. "It may be that they keep kids busy, or they may increase self esteem and cause kids to think about the future. For some very high-risk youth, participation in these programs may represent one of the first times that they are recognized by adults and the community for doing good, and that, in turn, makes them feel good about themselves."

The NCPTP report suggests that comprehensive programs incorporating a host of services for teens and preteens may be the most successful in reducing pregnancies over the long-term among high-risk adolescents. Among the best of these programs, the report found, is the Children's Aid Society Carrera program in New York.

Founded in 1985 in central Harlem by Michael A. Carrera, PhD, the program is now the model for 50 similar programs operating in 20 states. In addition to counseling and medical services, kids receive general education, sex education, and help finding after-school jobs. They are also given the opportunity to participate in sports and the performing arts.

Although other programs take a comprehensive approach to dealing with at-risk children and adolescents, Carrera says his program is unique because kids are followed closely and treated more like family than program participants.

"When a kid enters our program at 11, 12, or 13, we generally work with them until they graduate from high school," Carrera tells WebMD. "We see these kids almost every day, 12 months a year. And if they don't show up, we go and find them. There is a person on staff whose sole job is to track kids once they are in the program."

Program officials also released their own report Wednesday, outlining the findings from a three-year evaluation of six New York City sites and six sites in other urban areas. There were one-third fewer pregnancies and births among the 941 program participants than among a control group. Young girls in the program were also found to be able to avoid coercive sexual situations better than those who did not participate in the program.

"That is a stunning outcome, because it can easily impact a young woman's sexuality for the rest of her life," Carrera says. "If you can help a young woman withstand coercive sexual pressure, you may be influencing how she deals with sexual pressure from then on."

The Carrera program, while effective, is also expensive -- about $4,000 per year per child. It is funded entirely through private contributions, with the largest grants coming from the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City and Michigan's Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

"The federal government has basically stayed away from programs that provide reproductive healthcare services that include contraception," Carrera says. "I would urge them to take a very careful look at this study and what we do. Without equivocation it indicates that we do know how to prevent teen pregnancy, and the government needs to have the will to enact it."

This month we will be celebrating the work that Advocates for Youth does on behalf of the OAH with these 10 communities to test the effectiveness of innovative, multi-component, community-wide initiatives in reducing rates of teen pregnancy and births in communities with the highest rates, with a focus on African American and Latino youth aged 15-19. A key component driving this initiative forward in the communities is the Youth Leadership Teams (YLT). The YLT is a leadership team of young community mobilizers who have become recognized as leaders by their peers and their community because of their extensive sexuality information, and their direct involvement, and voice in the design, implementation and evaluation of TPP initiatives. In celebration of NTPPM, Advocates will be highlighting the work the youth are doing to prevent teen pregnancy.

To close out National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, we are highlighting the exciting work that our youth are doing in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, and Spartanburg, South Carolina.

A. Bronx Teens Connection (BxTC), Bronx, NY

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Maternal, Infant, and Reproductive Health (NYCDOH) has implemented “Bronx Teens Connection,” a multicomponent, communitywide teen pregnancy prevention initiative in two community districts in the South Bronx. Key partners include the Bronx District Public Health Office, the Department of Education, the Administration for Children’s Services, private clinical service providers, and a number of minority- and youth-serving organizations in the community. Evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention curricula are being implemented in high schools in the target community, as well as for teens in foster care and out-of-school settings. Links to clinical services are being strengthened in school-based and community health centers. This initiative includes an innovative social marketing campaign using new media to educate community youth and stakeholders. NYCDOH provides training and technical assistance to community partners, including training on long-term institutional sustainability.

The Bronx Teens Connection has a very active and engaged Youth Leadership Team that serve as peer educators and advocates and also provide valuable input in creating teen pregnancy prevention media campaigns such as the development of the Teens in NYC app and the contraception campaign. Here is what the BxTC YLT Members have to say:

B. Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, Hartford, CT

The Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (HTPPI) aims to create a community in which all youth will be educated and equipped to make informed decisions about their reproductive health and every young person is healthy and self-sufficient. To help reach that goal the HTPPI has established a Youth Leadership Team (YLT) to provide direct links to young people to engage, educate, and build youth support for the project, and works collaboratively with other components of the project.

C. Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, Springfield and Holyoke, MA

The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy one of only 9 organizations across the country awarded a grant to support its Youth First initiative in Springfield and Holyoke. The grant is an initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test the effectiveness of community-wide approaches to reducing teen pregnancy. The goal of Youth First is to reduce teen births by 10% over 5 years in Holyoke and Springfield.

Our community's vision is that all young people in Springfield and Holyoke have:

Access to quality health education and healthcare that supports their ability to make informed decisions about relationships, sexual health, and their lives;

Consistent community messaging that empowers them to have a hopeful perception of their futures; and

Support in being community leaders, role models, and advocates. In collaboration with the Hampden County-based YEAH (Youth Empowerment Adolescent Health) Network and many community partners, the Alliance will spearhead a community-wide effort to:

  • Increase youth access to quality sexual health information and evidence-based programs
  • Increase youth access to sexual health clinical services
  • Increase community awareness of teen pregnancy issues
  • Promote sustainability of teen pregnancy prevention in the community

We are working to bring together all sectors of the community in this effort. Parents of adolescents, teachers, faith leaders, youth, business owners, school administrators, social workers, community-based organizations, clinical providers, employers, pediatricians all have a role to play.

The youth in our community have been hard at work this year. Their activity has included peer education to several community peer agencies, presenting for community leaders, presenting at community health fairs and most recently hosting a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day event that had 100 + attendees. One of our Youth Leadership pods has been trained as peer educators and has been implementing an EBI in their community. The Dunbar Family and Community YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts is one of a few organizations that have a specific program targeting Teen Reproductive Health. The Dunbar Y, has 4 peer leaders, who are apart of the Youth First Youth Leadership Team. The 4-member team is made up of two males and two females, who range in experience, ethnicity, age, and leadership style. The Peer Educators facilitate Making Proud Choices! to their community of peers. Within the group there one leader who has an outstanding record of service and dedication to his community and the work the he is a part of.

Adegoriola (Adey) Thomas, is a senior in high school in Springfield, MA. Adey has an amazing sense of dedication and reliability. He recently received recognition from the Mayor of Springfield for have a four year streak of perfect attendance. Adey’s dedication and passion for education his peers go far past facilitating an EBI. He is often observed talking to his peers about making good decisions and encouraging them to reach their goals.

Adey comments on his experience as a Peer Educator - “I attend the program "Making Proud Choices" every Thursday at Dunbar Community Center. The program talks about teen pregnancy, STD's and how to prevent an individual from falling victim of the negative consequences of sexual practices. The program has impacted my life in so many ways because from attending this program, I have learned how to protect myself by using a condom the proper way. I have also learned how to communicate with my partner so we can both be on the same page when it comes to protecting ourselves. Also, I take the information I learn from this program and inform my friends in school especially how HIV is transmitted from one person to another.”

D. IMatter!, Philadelphia, PA

I Matter is a community driven, teen pregnancy prevention project in West and Southwest Philadelphia. Our goal is to provide communities with teen-friendly sexual and reproductive health education and services.

Teens play a critical role in our program’s efforts to reduce teen birth rates. Currently, I Matter’s Youth Leadership Team (YLT) is actively engaged in many communities as advocates for healthy sexual choices. YLT members have created media, participated in leadership development, and gained the skills and education needed to make healthy decisions now and for their futures. I Matter’s Youth Leadership Team represents the teens of West & Southwest Philadelphia. We seek teens that demonstrate leadership and confidently make healthy decisions

E. Not Right Now, Put Pregnancy on Pause, Spartanburg, South Carolina

The South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (SC Campaign) has implemented innovative, multicomponent, communitywide initiatives to prevent teen pregnancy in two communities, with a focus on reaching African American and Latino youth aged 15–19 years. SC Campaign works to reduce teen pregnancy among ethnic minority youth in Spartanburg and Horry Counties by increasing access to high quality, evidence-based and evidence-informed youth development and teen pregnancy prevention programs, and increasing linkages between these programs and community-based clinical services. Major activities include developing a Community Advisory Group with representatives from a Youth Advisory Panel and local clinics, educating leadership on evidence-based programming, and developing content for an Online Learning Center aimed at building capacity among local partner organizations.

Young people have the right to lead healthy lives. Providing them with honest, age appropriate comprehensive sexual health education is a key part in helping them take personal responsibility for their health and well-being. Providing young people with the skills and tools to make healthy decisions about sex and relationships is far more effective than denying them information and simply telling them not to have sex. Young people need sex education policies that respect their autonomy and includes all of the necessary information, not programs that deny important and relevant information.

Abstinence only until marriage programs do not serve the needs of young people, and often contains and perpetrates stigmatizing, shaming, and stereotyping messages. Comprehensive sexual health education programs include medically accurate, age-appropriate information about healthy sexual growth and development; healthy relationships; prevention of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections through abstinence and contraception; gender, gender identity and sexual orientation; and is inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth.

There are two bills currently introduced in Congress, the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act and the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act, which together would promote federally-funded sex education programs and remove funding for harmful abstinence only until marriage programs. Make sure that your elected Members of Congress know that you support these key pieces of legislation, and encourage them to show their support of providing young people with the education, tools, and skills to make healthy and responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
Source: Salynn Boyles, my.webmd.com/printing/article/1728.80597

Teen Pregnancy Rate Declines in US - 1990 to 2004

Fewer U.S. teens got pregnant in 2004 but more women in their 20s had out-of-wedlock pregnancies, according to new federal statistics released on Monday.

The latest look at U.S. pregnancy trends also shows more women are keeping their babies even if they are not married, with the exception of black women.

While 45 percent of all pregnancies are among women who are not married, the typical "unwed mother" is no longer a teenager but in fact an older woman, said Stephanie Ventura of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

"More of them are likely to have the baby rather than having an abortion compared to 1990," Ventura, who led the study, said in a telephone interview.

The report found that nearly 38 percent of pregnancies in 2004 were to women under the age of 25, which is down from nearly 43 percent in 1990.

Just 12 percent of all pregnancies were to teenagers, compared to 15 percent in 1990.

Overall, there were almost 6.4 million pregnancies in 2004 among U.S. women of all ages, down 6 percent from 1990.

Out of these pregnancies, 4.11 million babies were born. There were 1.22 million abortions and 1.06 million stillbirths and miscarriages. That means 64 percent of all pregnancies resulted in a live birth.

In 2006, 4.3 million live babies were born but data is not yet complete on abortions.

Ventura said it takes years to gather this kind of data.

Better Contraception

She said other studies have shed light on why pregnancy rates are going down among teens.

"There have been some changes in behavioral and contraceptive use among teenagers who are sexually active," Ventura said.

The report said pregnancy rates fell the most among sexually experienced teens, suggesting that better use of contraception may be responsible.

"There is some evidence that contraceptive use (for example, at first intercourse and at most recent intercourse) was increasing among teenagers through 2002," they wrote.

Meanwhile, more women are delaying childbearing.

"Among older women, birth rates have been going up -- that's something we have been watching for 20 to 30 years," Ventura said.

According to the study, 77 percent of births to unmarried women in 2006 were to women 20 and older.

"I guess maybe it is changes in attitude and a willingness

to have children when you are not married and that kind of thing," Ventura said.

About 3.5 million pregnancies were among married women and 2.98 million were to unmarried women.

"There are large racial disparities in most of these measures," Ventura said.

About two-thirds of white and Hispanic women who got pregnant ended up having their babies while 48 percent of black women did. Thirty seven percent of pregnancies to black women were aborted.

There are two possible reasons for this, the report found.

"First, non-Hispanic black women were less likely to use a contraceptive method at first intercourse and currently than white women," the researchers wrote.

Second, blacks had double the rate of "contraceptive failure" compared to whites.
Source: Maggie Fox, news.aol.com/health/story/ar/_a/teen-pregnancy-rate-declines-in-us/20080415102209990001

I Want it Now! or why becoming a parent should never be rushed

The majority of adolescent pregnancies are unplanned. But a good many teen pregnancies -- a general estimate is usually about one in five -- are intended or planned. One reason that sex education likely hasn't reduced teen pregnancy rates as much as it might is that some teens know full well what birth control is and how and when to use it, but choose not to, sometimes because they -- maybe you -- want to become pregnant.

In many cases, young women want to become pregnant for the same or similar reasons older women want to become pregnant (excerpted and adapted from the forthcoming Scarleteen book by Heather Corinna)

Teenage Sex: Can You Influence Your Child's Decisions?

Not all teenagers have sex, but many of them do. By some estimates, more than half of all teens have had sex by the time they've finished high school. Even before high school, a minority of young people begin experimenting with sexual activity or even full-fledged sexual intercourse.

Can you, as a parent, steer the course of your teenager's sexual behaviour? The answer is: it depends. Parents who live in tightly knit social or religious communities that condemn premarital sex may find it easier to steer their teenagers' sexual choices. In mainstream society, parental control may be more tenuous. The strategy of ordering teens to abstain from sex has not proven very successful, whether the order comes from parents or from community initiatives (unless these iniatives were developed by the teens themselves).

Still, research shows that teens whose parents communicate with them tend to have less sex, and more responsible sex, than teens of noncommunicative parents.

Teenagers have the ability to think abstractly and to consider the consequences of their behaviour, but they also have a developmentally appropriate streak of independence that may lead them to resist any "orders from on high." You stand a better chance of reaching them by inviting a two-way discussion about sexuality than by trying to impose your views on them - or ignoring the issue altogether. Not knowing about sex doesn't prevent teens from having it, often to disastrous consequences.
Source: www.sexualityandu.ca/eng/parents/TS/influence.cfm


  • The United States has the highest teenage pregnancy rate of all developed countries.
  • About 1 million teenagers become pregnant each year; 95% of those pregnancies are unintended, and almost one third end in abortions.
  • Public costs from teenage childbearing totaled $120 billion from 1985–1990; $48 billion could have been saved if each birth had been postponed until the mother was at least 20 years old.
  • Birth rates during 1991–1996 declined for teenagers in all racial and ethnic groups.
  • Birth rates among teenagers vary substantially from state to state; some states have rates almost three times higher than those of the states with the lowest rates.
  • 13 community partnerships in 11 states are implementing comprehensive, integrated youth programs to prevent teenage pregnancies and related problems.
  • 8 nongovernmental organizations are supported to assist states to develop and implement strategies to prevent pregnancy among teenagers.

Sources: www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/teen.htm

Overall Teen Pregnancy Rates

• The teen pregnancy rate continued to decrease in 2003 and 2004. The teen pregnancy rate in 2004 was 72.2 pregnancies per 1,000 teen girls aged 15-19. There were a total of 729,000 pregnancies to teen girls age 15-19 in 2004.

• The teen pregnancy rate has decreased 38% between 1990 and 2004 (from 116.8 per 1,000 to 72.2 per 1,000 respectively). Rates by Age

• The teen pregnancy rate for girls under 15 years was 1.6 pregnancies per 1,000 girls in 2004. A decrease of 53% since 1990 (rate of 3.4 per 1,000). Note that the pregnancy rate for girls under 15 did not change between 2003 and 2004. There were a total of 16,000 pregnancies in 2004 to girls under 15 years of age.

• The teen pregnancy rate for girls age 15-17 years was 41.5 pregnancies per 1,000 girls in 2004. A decrease of 46% since 1990 (rate of 77.1 per 1,000). The pregnancy rate for girls age 15-17 also decreased 6% since 2002. There were a total of 252,000 pregnancies in 2004 to girls age 15-17.

• The teen pregnancy rate for girls age 18-19 years was 118.6 pregnancies per 1,000 girls in 2004. A decrease of 29% since 2002 (rate of 167.7 per 1,000). The pregnancy rate for girls age 18-19 also decreased 5% since 2002. There were a total of 477,000 pregnancies in 2004 to girls age 18-19. Rates by Race/Ethnicity (aged 15-19)

• The teen pregnancy rate was 45.2 per 1,000 for non-Hispanic white teen girls in 2004. Since 1990, the teen pregnancy rate has decreased 48% among non-Hispanic white teens. Among non-Hispanic white teen girls by age the teen pregnancy rate was 22.4 per 1,000 and 79.3 per 1,000 for girls age 15-17 and 18-19 respectively. There were a total of 289,000 pregnancies to non-Hispanic white teens in 2004.

• The teen pregnancy rate was 128 per 1,000 for non-Hispanic black teen girls in 2004. Since 1990, the teen pregnancy rate among non-Hispanic black teen girls has decreased 45%. Among non-Hispanic black teen girls by age the pregnancy rate is 80.1 per 1,000 teen girls age 15-17 and 202.9 per 1,000 teen girls age 18-19. Since 1990, the pregnancy rate has decreased 53% among non-Hispanic black teens aged 15-17 and has decreased 35% among non-Hispanic black teens age 18-19). There were a total of 198,000 pregnancies to non-Hispanic black teens in 2004.

• The teen pregnancy rate was 132.8 per 1,000 among Hispanic teen girls in 2004. Between 2003 and 2004, the teen pregnancy rate among Hispanic teen girls increased from 132.1 per 1,000 to 132.8 per 1,000. Since 1990, the teen pregnancy rate has decreased 21% among Hispanic teen girls. There were a total of 214,000 pregnancies to Hispanic teens in 2004.

• Among young Hispanic teen girls (age 15-17) the teen pregnancy rate was 82.9 per 1,000, a slight increase between 2003 and 2004 (from 82.8 in 2003). Among older

Hispanic teen girls (age 18-19) the teen pregnancy rate was 210.0, an increase of 1% from 2003 (207.5 per 1,000).
Source: www.thenationalcampaign.org/resources/pdf/NCHS_pregdata08.pdf

Sexual Acitivity

• Most very young teens have not had intercourse: 8 in 10 girls and 7 in 10 boys are sexually inexperienced at age 15. 1

• The likelihood of teenagers' having intercourse increases steadily with age; however, about 1 in 5 young people do not have intercourse while teenagers.2

• Most young people begin having sex in their mid-to-late teens, about 8 years before they marry; more than half of 17-year-olds have had intercourse.3

• While 93% of teenage women report that their first intercourse was voluntary, one-quarter of these young women report that it was unwanted.4

• The younger women are when they first have intercourse, the more likely they are to have had unwanted or nonvoluntary first sex--7 in 10 of those who had sex before age 13, for example.5

• Nearly two-thirds (64%) of sexually active 15-17-year-old women have partners who are within two years of their age; 29% have sexual partners who are 3-5 years older, and 7% have partners who are six or more years older.6

• Most sexually active young men have female partners close to their age: 76% of the partners of 19-year-old men are either 17 (33%) or 18 (43%); 13% are 16, and 11% are aged 13-15.7

Sex is rare among very young teenagers, but common in the later teenage years.

40% who have had sexual intercourse at different ages, 1995

Sources: 1995 National Survey of Family Growth and 1995 National Survey of Adolescent Males.

Contraceptive Use

• A sexually active teenager who does not use contraceptives has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within one year. 8

• Teenage women's contraceptive use at first intercourse rose from 48% to 65% during the 1980s, almost entirely because of a doubling in condom use. By 1995, use at first intercourse reached 78%, with 2/3 of it condom use.9

• 9 in 10 sexually active women and their partners use a contraceptive method, although not always consistently or correctly.10

• About 1 in 6 teenage women practicing contraception combine two methods, primarily the condom and another method.11

• The method teenage women most frequently use is the pill (44%), followed by the condom (38%). About 10% rely on the injectable, 4% on withdrawal and 3% on the implant.12

• Teenagers are less likely than older women to practice contraception without interruption over the course of a year, and more likely to practice contraception sporadically or not at all.13

Sexualy Transmitted Diseases

• Every year 3 million teens--about 1 in 4 sexually experienced teens--acquire an STD.14

• In a single act of unprotected sex with an infected partner, a teenage woman has a 1% risk of acquiring HIV, a 30% risk of getting genital herpes and a 50% chance of contracting gonorrhea.15

• Chlamydia is more common among teens than among older men and women; in some settings, 10-29% of sexually active teenage women and 10% of teenage men tested for STDs have been found to have chlamydia.16

• Teens have higher rates of gonorrhea than do sexually active men and women aged 20-44.17

• In some studies, up to 15% of sexually active teenage women have been found to be infected with the human papillomavirus, many with a strain of the virus linked to cervical cancer.18

• Teenage women have a higher hospitalization rate than older women for acute pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is most often caused by untreated gonorrhea or chlamydia. PID can lead to infertility and ectopic pregnancy.19

Teen Pregnancy

• Each year, almost 1 million teenage women--10% of all women aged 15-19 and 19% of those who have had sexual intercourse--become pregnant.20

• The overall U.S. teenage pregnancy rate declined 17% between 1990 and 1996, from 117 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15-19 to 97 per 1,000.21

• 78% of teen pregnancies are unplanned, accounting for about 1/4 of all accidental pregnancies annually.22

Teen Pregnancy Outcomes 41

More than half (56%) of the 905,000 teenage pregnancies in 1996 ended in births (2/3 of which were unplanned).

• 6 in 10 teen pregnancies occur among 18-19 year-olds.23

• Teen pregnancy rates are much higher in the United States than in many other developed countries--twice as high as in England and Wales or Canada, and nine times as high as in the Netherlands or Japan.24

• Steep decreases in the pregnancy rate among sexually experienced teenagers accounted for most of the drop in the overall teenage pregnancy rate in the early-to-mid 1990s. While 20% of the decline is because of decreased sexual activity, 80% is due to more effective contraceptive practice.25


• 13% of all U.S. births are to teens.26

• The fathers of babies born to teenage mothers are likely to be older than the women: About 1 in 5 infants born to unmarried minors are fathered by men 5 or more years older than the mother.27

• 78% of births to teens occur outside of marriage.28

• Teens now account for 31% of all nonmarital births, down from 50% in 1970.29

• 1/4 of teenage mothers have a second child within 2 years of their first.30

Teen Mothers and Their Children

• Teens who give birth are much more likely to come from poor or low-income families (83%) than are teens who have abortions (61%) or teens in general (38%).31

• 7 in 10 teen mothers complete high school, but they are less likely than women who delay childbearing to go on to college.32

• In part because most teen mothers come from disadvantaged backgrounds, 28% of them are poor while in their 20s and early 30s; only 7% of women who first give birth after adolescence are poor at those ages.33

• 1/3 of pregnant teens receive inadequate prenatal care; babies born to young mothers are more likely to be low-birth-weight, to have childhood health problems and to be hospitalized than are those born to older mothers.34


• Nearly 4 in 10 teen pregnancies (excluding those ending in miscarriages) are terminated by abortion. There were about 274,000 abortions among teens in 1996.35

• Since 1980, abortion rates among sexually experienced teens have declined steadily, because fewer teens are becoming pregnant, and in recent years, fewer pregnant teens have chosen to have an abortion.36

• The reasons most often given by teens for choosing to have an abortion are being concerned about how having a baby would change their lives, feeling that they are not mature enough to have a child and having financial problems.37

• 29 states currently have mandatory parental involvement laws in effect for a minor seeking an abortion: AL, AR, DE, GA, ID, IN, IO, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, ND, OH, PA, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, WV, WI and WY.38

• 61% of minors who have abortions do so with at least one parent's knowledge; 45% of parents are told by their daughter. The great majority of parents support their daughter's decision to have an abortion.39

Sources The data in this fact sheet are the most current available. Most of the data are from research conducted by The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) or published in the peer-reviewed journal Family Planning Perspectives and the 1994 AGI report Sex and America's Teenagers. Additional sources include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics.


Sexual Activity

1. Singh S and Darroch JE, Trends in sexual activity among adolescent American women: 1982- 1995, Family Planning Perspectives, 1999, 31(5): 211- 219; special tabulations by The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) of data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth; and Sonenstein FL et al., Involving Males in Preventing Teen Pregnancy: A Guide for Program Planners, Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 1997, p. 12.

2. Ibid.

3. AGI, Sex and America's Teenagers, New York: AGI, 1994, pp. 19-20.

4. Moore KA et al., A Statistical Portrait of Adolescent Sex, Contraception, and Childbearing, Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 1998, p. 11.

5. Ibid.

6. Darroch JE, Landry DJ and Oslak S, Age differences between sexual partners in the United States, Family Planning Perspectives, 1999, 31(4):160- 167, Table 1.

7. Sonenstein FL et al., 1997, op. cit. (see reference 1), p. 18.

Contraceptive Use

8. Harlap S, Kost K and Forrest JD, Preventing Pregnancy, Protecting Health: A New Look at Birth Control Choices in the United States, New York: AGI, 1991, Figure 5.4, p. 36.

9. AGI, 1994, op. cit. (see reference 3), Figure 22, p. 33; and Moore KA et al., 1998, op. cit. (see reference 4), p. 23.

10. Piccinino LJ and Mosher WD, Trends in contraceptive use in the United States: 1982-1995, Family Planning Perspectives, 1998, 30(1):4-10 & 46, Table 1; and Moore KA et al., 1998, op. cit. (see reference 4), p. 25.

11. Piccinino LJ and Mosher WD, 1998, op. cit. (see reference 10), Table 8.

12. Special tabulations by The Alan Guttmacher Institute of Ibid, Table 5 and of data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth.

13. Glei DA, Measuring contraceptive use patterns among teenage and adult women, Family Planning Perspectives, 1999, 31(2):73- 80, Tables 1 and 2.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

14. AGI, 1994, op. cit. (see reference 3), p. 38.

15. Ibid., p. 31.

16. Donovan P, Testing Positive: Sexually Transmitted Disease and the Public Health Response, New York: AGI, 1993, p. 24.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid., pp. 24-25.

19. Ibid., p. 24.

Teen Pregnancy

20. AGI, Teenage pregnancy: overall trends and state-by-state information, New York: AGI, 1999, Table 1; and Henshaw SK, U.S. Teenage pregnancy statistics with comparative statistics for women aged 20- 24, New York: AGI, 1999, p. 5.

21. Ibid.

22. Henshaw SK, Unintended pregnancy in the United States, Family Planning Perspectives, 1998, 30(1):24-29 & 46, Table 1.

23. Henshaw SK, 1999, op. cit. (see reference 20).

24. AGI, 1994, op. cit. (see reference 3), Figure 55, p. 76.

25. AGI, U.S. teenage pregnancy rate drops another 4% between 1995 and 1996, news release, New York: AGI, April 29, 1999.


26. Ventura SJ et al., Births: final data for 1997, National Vital Statistics Report, 1997, Vol. 47, No. 18, Table 2.

27. Lindberg LD et al., Age differences between minors who give birth and their adult partners, Family Planning Perspectives, 1997, 29(2):61-66.

28. Ventura SJ et al., 1997, op. cit. (see reference 26), Table 2.

29. Ibid., Table C; and National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics of the United States, 1970: Vol. 1--Natality, Rockville, MD: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975.

30. Kalmuss DS and Namerow PB, Subsequent childbearing among teenage mothers: the determinants of a closely spaced second birth, Family Planning Perspectives, 1994, 26(4): 149-153 & 159.

Teen Mothers And Their Children

31. AGI, 1994, op. cit. (see reference 3), p. 58.

32. Ibid., p. 59.

33. Ibid., p. 61.

34. Ibid., p. 62.


35. AGI, 1999, op. cit. (see reference 20).

36. Ibid.

37. Torres A and Forrest JD, Why do women have abortions? Family Planning Perspectives, 1988, 20(4):169-176, Table 1.

38. AGI, The status of major abortion-related policies in the states: state laws, regulations and court decisions as of July 1999, Washington, DC: AGI, 1999.

39. Henshaw SK and Kost K, Parental involvement in minors' abortion decisions, Family Planning Perspectives, 1992, 24(5):196-207 & 213.

40. CHART 1--Sources: reference 1.

41. CHART 2--Source: Henshaw SK, (reference 20), Table 1.

Source: www.agi-usa.org/pubs/fb_teen_sex.html  

10 Things You Should Know About Babies

When I was pregnant with my first child, ten years and a million sleepless nights ago, I went about pregnancy the same way I had gone about my college courses: by reading everything I could get my hands on, studying notes, attending classes, and joining message boards. I was always a great student — and definitely an overachiever — and now I intended to get an A-plus in Motherhood 101.

I diligently attended my birthing classes, toured the hospital, and dragged my husband to the breastfeeding prep class. I washed all the bodysuits and the gowns in hypoallergenic, dye- and scent-free detergent. I practiced my kegels.

Then, I had a baby.

And, like postpartum women everywhere, I found myself in my bed, body fluids oozing from far and near, stitches in places I didn’t know I had, my breasts growing at an exponential and alarming rate, my hormones crashing down around me, and all I could think was, “Nobody told me about this. There was no chapter that said anything about this!”

“Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

The answer is simple: because I didn’t want to hear it. The truth is, when I was pregnant, I only wanted to talk about pregnancy and childbirth and strollers and Diaper Genies. No one told me that birth was only, literally, the beginning. I can’t blame a universal motherhood conspiracy, though; I would not have listened.

Here are ten things I wish someone had told me — and I wish that I had heard:

1. The first time you see or hold your baby, you might not hear angel choirs in the distance. You might have a doctor still halfway up your body stitching you, or a nurse pumping your stomach to help you deliver your placenta. You might be in a lot of pain. You might be more exhausted than you have ever been in your whole life. It’s okay if you don’t hear the angels. There will be time to have those magic moments with your new baby.

2. After you deliver, your first trip to the bathroom will be an event. Don’t be embarrassed to let someone help you there; do not risk passing out alone. Be prepared that this is only the beginning of your loss of dignity as a mother. After all, you will have years ahead of you during which you will not be able to visit the potty alone. Might as well start now.

3. Breastfeeding is hard. It takes a little while to get used to the “holds” and find the one that works best for you and your likely hysterically screaming newborn. Whether you are doing it right or not, breastfeeding hurts at the beginning. Sometimes a lot. My nipples cracked and bled with my first baby. Engorgement was scary and extremely uncomfortable. My breasts radiated heat and actually pulsed. But my lactation consultant was my knight in lanolin-coated shining armor, and after the first two weeks, breastfeeding became more comfortable and much more manageable. Also: if breastfeeding is not for you or if it just doesn’t work out, that is — REALLY — fine. In the end, the way you feed your baby is inconsequential compared to the way you love your baby.

4. On your fourth day postpartum, you will most likely cry. A lot. This is usually when your hormones crash. This is the day when you will be certain that your life is over, that your partner is a jerk, and that you cannot do anything right. You’ll cry just because. You’re allowed. (BUT — if you continue to cry and continue to feel down, seek help pronto.)

5. If at all possible, do not put on real clothes for at least two weeks. Once you get out of your pajamas, people start expecting you to be competent. Wear clean, fresh pajamas if you must, but stay in our pajamas unless you want to cook and clean and entertain visitors along with the bleeding, oozing, leaking, and caring for another human life parts of the first two weeks.

6. Babies don’t always sleep. This is not the result of Something You Did Because You Are Already a Failure as a Parent. These same babies will, eventually, sleep. Promise. You cannot ruin them for life. Other parents will tell you their babies are sleeping. I promise you they are a) stretching the truth, b) defining “sleep” differently than you do, c) still due for sleep disruptions, or d) flat-out lying. You will face these same alternate versions of parental realities again when you talk to other parents about potty-training and reading further down the road. Seriously, babies are as different as adults. Some sleep better than others. But they all struggle sometimes. Your child will sleep sooner or later.

7. Don’t let anyone make you think you don’t know your own baby best, and don’t let anyone make you think you’re not doing a good job. There is no one right way to parent and there are many ways to be a good parent. Related: You don’t have to do what your mom, mother-in-law, or grandmother did. Listen to your gut.

8. Find support — neighborhood groups, breastfeeding groups, hospital new mom groups, whatever you can find. Networking with other new mothers can be a crucial lifeline, even if you go back to work after your maternity leave. Having a newborn is like going off to college for the first time — you need to find other newbie freshmen so you can all be clueless together.

9. Don’t be a martyr. Kids don’t visit martyrs for the holidays when they grow up. Hire someone or beg your friends to come and hold the baby while you shower and nap sometimes. It’s not easy to adjust to being a mom. One day, you are a person just taking care of yourself; the next day, you can’t button your shirt straight. Don’t be afraid to say, “This is hard,” or “this sucks!” It is hard and it does suck sometimes. That doesn’t mean you aren’t 110% grateful for the blessing of a baby or completely in love with your child.

10. Take lots of pictures (and get in them), because you won’t remember much of this later. Trust me.

More than anything, I wish someone had told me this: The first year of your first time being a mother is like nothing you will ever experience again, no matter how many children you have. Every day is a miracle. Every day is a journey. Every day might seem like it lasts 100 hours. There are lights at the end of every tunnel, but you won’t know it. You will never again feel like you are getting an A-plus. You will be forever changed. At some point, you will realize that “nobody ever told you” because some things you have to experience for yourself; There’s no book or class or even little old lady in the grocery store who can tell you what to really expect when you’re expecting.

When your teen is having a baby

If your daughter is pregnant and planning to have the baby, many changes await your family. And though it's certainly not what most parents expect, it happens every day: nearly 1 million teenage girls in the United States give birth every year.

If your teen is about to become a mother (or your son has fathered a child), it can be overwhelming for all of you. How can you support your child through the challenges that lie ahead?

What You May Be Feeling

If you have just learned that your teen is having a baby, you're probably experiencing a wide range of emotions, from shock and disappointment to grief and worry about the future.

Some parents feel a sense of guilt, thinking that if only they'd done more to protect their child this wouldn't have happened. And although some parents are embarrassed by their teen's pregnancy and worried about how family, friends, and neighbors will react, others are happy about the news of a soon-to-be grandchild — especially if the teen is older and in a mature relationship.

Whatever feelings you're experiencing, this is likely to be a difficult time for your family. The important thing is that your teen needs you now more than ever. Being able to communicate with each other — especially when emotions are running high — is essential. Teens who carry a baby to term have special health concerns, and your daughter will have a healthier pregnancy — emotionally and physically — if she knows she doesn't have to go it alone.

So what can you do as the parent of a teen having a baby? Recognize your feelings and work through them so that you can accept and support her. Does that mean you don't have the right to feel disappointed and even angry? No. Such reactions are common. You might have a strong flood of emotions to deal with, especially at first. But the reality of the upcoming baby means that you'll have to get beyond your initial feelings for the sake of your daughter and her child.

If you need help coping with your feelings about the situation, talk to someone you trust or seek professional counseling. A neutral third party can be a great resource at a time like this.

What Your Teen May Be Feeling

Just a short time ago your teen's biggest concerns might have been hanging out with her friends and wondering what clothes to wear. Now she's dealing with morning sickness and scheduling prenatal visits. Her world has been turned upside down.

Most unmarried teens don't plan on becoming pregnant, and they're often terrified when it happens. Many, particularly younger teens, keep the news of their pregnancies secret because they fear the anger and disappointment of their parents. Some might even deny to themselves that they are pregnant — which makes it even more important for parents to step in and find medical care for their teen as early in the pregnancy as possible. Younger teens' pregnancies, in particular, are considered high risk because their bodies haven't finished growing and are not yet fully mature.

Teen boys who are going to become fathers also need the involvement of their parents. Although some boys may welcome the chance to be involved with their children, others feel frightened and guilty and may need to be encouraged to face their responsibilities (the father is legally responsible for child support in every state).

That doesn't mean, however, that you should pressure your teen son or daughter into an unwanted marriage. Offer advice, but remember that forcing your opinions on your teen or using threats is likely to backfire in the long run. There's no "one size fits all" solution here. Open communication between you and your teen will help as you consider the future.

Special Concerns of Pregnant Teens

Even though most teen girls are biologically able to produce healthy babies, whether they do often depends on whether they receive adequate medical care — especially in those critical early months of pregnancy.

Teens who receive proper medical care and take care of themselves are more likely to have healthy babies. Those who don't receive medical care are at greater risk for:

  • fetal death
  • high blood pressure
  • anemia
  • labor and delivery complications (such as premature labor and stillbirth)
  • low birth-weight infant

The earlier your teen gets prenatal care, the better her chances for a healthy pregnancy, so bring her to the doctor as soon as possible after finding out she's pregnant. If you need help finding medical care, check with social service groups in the community or at your child's school.

Your teen's health care provider can tell her what to expect during her pregnancy, how to take care of herself and her growing baby, and how to prepare for life as a parent.

Some topics that will be addressed include:

Medical Care

At her first prenatal visit, your teen will probably be given a full physical exam, including blood and urine tests. She'll be screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and for exposure to certain diseases, such as measles, mumps, and rubella.

Her health care provider also will discuss:

  • how often prenatal visits should be scheduled
  • what she may be feeling physically and emotionally
  • what changes she can expect in her body
  • how to deal with some of the uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy, like nausea and vomiting

Knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of the fears your daughter may have about being pregnant. Her health care provider will probably prescribe a daily prenatal vitamin to make sure she gets enough folic acid, iron, and calcium. Folic acid is especially important during the early weeks of pregnancy, when it plays a role in the healthy development of the neural tube (the structure that develops into the brain and spinal cord).

Lifestyle Changes

Your teen's health care provider will talk about the lifestyle changes she'll have to make for the health of her baby, including:

  • not smoking (smoking while pregnant increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome)
  • not drinking (alcohol causes mental and physical birth defects)
  • not using drugs (drugs are associated with pregnancy complications and fetal death)
  • avoiding excess caffeine (too much caffeine has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage)
  • eating right
  • getting enough rest
  • avoiding risky sexual behaviors (such as having unsafe sex)

If your daughter smokes or uses alcohol or other drugs, her health care provider can offer ways to help her quit.


Fast food, soft drinks, sweets — teen diets are notoriously unbalanced. Eating well greatly increases your teen's chances of having a healthy baby, so encourage her to maintain a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads (use the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate as a guide).

Important nutrients include:

  • proteins (lean meat, fish, poultry, egg whites, beans, peanut butter, tofu)
  • calcium (milk and other dairy products)
  • iron (lean red meats, spinach, iron-fortified cereals)
  • folic acid (green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, fortified cereals)

Drinking plenty of water is essential, too.

Pregnancy is not the time for your daughter to go on a diet. When pregnant, some teens might be tempted to counter normal pregnancy weight gain by cutting calories or exercising excessively — both of which can seriously harm their babies.

If you suspect that your teen has an unhealthy preoccupation with her weight, talk to her health care provider.


If your teen was physically fit before getting pregnant and is not experiencing any pregnancy complications, her health care provider will probably encourage her to continue exercising.

Most women benefit from getting some exercise during pregnancy, although they might have to modify their activity. Low-impact exercises, such as walking and swimming, are best. Have your daughter discuss her exercise plans with her health care provider early on.


Most teens enter parenthood unprepared for the stress a new baby brings, and many experience frustration, resentment, and even anger toward their newborns — which may explain why teen parents are at higher risk for abusing and neglecting their babies.

You may want to talk with your teen's doctor to discuss ways you can help her manage her stress levels so that she can better cope with changes in her life. She also may want to spend some time with other parents of newborns to get a better sense of what caring for a baby involves.

Prenatal Classes

Your daughter's health care provider will probably recommend that she take classes on pregnancy, giving birth, and parenting. These classes (some of which are held just for teens) can help prepare her for the practical side of parenthood by teaching skills such as feeding, diapering, child safety, and other basic baby care techniques.

Preparing for New Responsibilities

Many practical issues must be considered. Will your teen keep the baby or consider adoption? If she keeps it, will she raise the baby herself? Will she continue to go to school? Will the father be involved in the baby's life? Who will be financially responsible for the baby?

The answers to these questions often depend on the support your daughter receives. Some teens raise their child alone, some have the involvement of the baby's father, and some rely on their families for support.

As a parent, you need to think about your own level of involvement and commitment and discuss it with your teen. How much support — financial and otherwise — are you willing and able to offer? Will your daughter and her child live with you? Will you help pay for food, clothing, doctor visits, and necessary items like a car seat and stroller? Can you assist with childcare while your she's at school and/or work? A social worker or counselor can help you and your teen sort through some of these issues.

If at all possible, it's best for girls who are pregnant to finish school so they can get better jobs and create a better life for themselves and their babies. This is no easy task — 60% to 70% of all pregnant teens drop out of school. And going back after quitting is especially hard, so try to offer your daughter the support she needs to stay in school — both she and the baby will benefit. Check for school and community programs that offer special services for teen mothers, such as childcare, transportation, or tutoring.

Help your teen understand that as rewarding as having a child is, it isn't always fun — caring for a baby is a huge responsibility and a lifelong commitment. Prepare her for the reality that she won't have as much time for the things she used to do — that her life is about change and the baby will take priority.

As a parent, you can have a great impact on your teen's life and on her baby's. You may still wish that she had made different choices. But by supporting your daughter, making sure she gets good prenatal care, and listening as she shares her fears and anxieties, both of you may find that you're better parents in the long run.

Teenage Fathers Often Born to Teenage Fathers, Study Finds
Sons of adolescent fathers are nearly twice as likely to perpetuate the cycle of young parenthood and become teenage dads themselves, a new study by the Yale School of Public Health has found.

Previous studies have documented the intergenerational cycle of adolescent motherhood (in which the daughters of adolescent mothers are more likely to become teenage mothers), but this is believed to be the first research that confirms a similar relationship between teenage dads and their sons.

The Yale research team, led by YSPH doctoral candidate Heather Sipsma, analyzed data from 1,496 young males who were 19 years old or younger and found that sons of adolescent fathers were 1.8 times more likely to eventually become adolescent fathers than were the sons of older men. This intergenerational effect remained significant even after controlling for a number of related risk factors including the influence of having an adolescent mother.

“We often neglect the importance of men in reproductive and maternal-child health. We need to recognize that men play a significant role in the health and well being of families and children,” said senior author Trace Kershaw, associate professor in the division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology.

Teenage parenthood is associated with a range of problems for both the young parents and their offspring. Adolescent fathers typically have less educational achievement and poorer earning potential than their peers who delay parenthood. There is also evidence of poor parental attachment and low levels of parental support. The children of such parents are often raised in low-income homes and they are at higher risk for neglect and abuse.

“The mechanism of this intergenerational cycle remains unclear. However, research suggests that parents are a major factor in shaping adolescent attitudes and often communicate their values and expectations through their behavior,” Sipsma said. Previous studies have found that youths who have more involved fathers are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.

Heather Cole-Lewis and Katie Brooks Biello, both doctoral students at Yale, also authored the study. All of the authors are also affiliated with the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale.

#MakingTeenDadsVisible Campaign

During the month of April, join the #MakingTeenDadsVisible Campaign to help raise awareness about teen dads!

The #MakingTeenDadsVsible Campaign is a month-long social media effort aimed at increasing awareness about the unique experiences, needs and strengths of teen dads, and about the unique public policy issues impacting them.

The Resilience Advocacy Project (RAP) is pulling together research and data about teen fathers. We encourage organizations with an interest in teen parents, adolescent development, and intergenerational poverty to use the #MakingTeenDadsVisible information and social media tools to promote research-based messages about teen fathers.

Here’s how to get involved in the campaign!

Follow @endyouthpoverty on Twitter and Like Resilience Advocacy Project on Facebook

Retweet #MakingTeenDadsVisible tweets to colleagues and policy leaders

Use the resources on this page to direct message media, opinion and policy leaders

Re-visit the #MakingTeenDadsVisible webpage throughout the month for facts, info and resources!

Make sure to use hashtag #MakingTeenDadsVisible to unify information shared and messaging!

Teen father research and resources! (Keep checking back for updates!)

Research Articles

Research Articles

Unique Needs of Young Fathers
Effect of Teenage Fatherhood on Outcomes
Promising Teen Father Programs
Teen Fatherhood and Educational Attainment


Teen Fathers: The Missing-Father Myth
Cornell Transition to Fatherhood Project

Source: resiliencelaw.org/discussion-forums/teen-fathers/making-teen-dads-visible/


Many Teen Boys View Pregnancy as Inevitable

More than half of sexually active teenage boys don't plan on getting someone pregnant but believe it's likely to happen anyway.
Source: my.webmd.com/content/article/111/109956.htm
(See also
Teenage Attitudes Towards Fatherhood Revealed in New Report )

Birth Control: What You Need to Know

Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article for teens about birth control and find out just how effective some methods are - and others aren't.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/contraception/contraception.html

When Your Teen Is Having a Baby

Finding out their child is pregnant and planning to have the baby is certainly not what most parents expect, but it happens every day: nearly half a million teenage girls give birth every year. How can you support your child through the changes and challenges that are ahead?
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/teen_pregnancy.html

Having a Healthy Pregnancy

If you're a pregnant teen, you're not alone - in fact, about half a million adolescents give birth each year. The most important thing you can do is to take good care of yourself so that you and your baby will be healthy and safe.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/girls/pregnancy.html

UK Lags Behind US in Teenage Births

The UK's embarrassment over sex helps explain the failure to control the high level of births among teenagers, according to a United Nations report which says the US is the only developed nation with a higher proportion of teenage mothers than the UK. Both are failing to prepare young people for the world they are growing up in, with its increasing number of sexual images in the media.
Source: The Guardian

National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Journalism Contest!

Students, enter now! The New York Times, Learning Network and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy announce the launch of a new contest that calls on students to write news articles, feature stories, and editorials about teen pregnancy.
Source: www.teenwire.com/warehous/articles/wh_20020410p139.asp

Community Initiatives Can Lower Adolescent Pregnancy Rates

Community-wide initiatives, including sex education in 7th and 8th grade, can reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy, according to the results of a study published in the April issue of Health Education and Behavior.
Source: www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/8799/22002/347893.html

How to tell your parents you’re pregnant or you made someone pregnant

Telling your parents you are pregnant is one of the hardest things you will do. You may feel scared, ashamed, embarrassed, nervous, anxious, or depressed.

1. Stay calm
2. Write a letter if you need to
3. Make a plan beforehand
4. If you plan to continue the pregnancy, be specific about the future. Explain how you’ll finish school,provide for the baby, etc.
5. Bring a supportive friend or relative along
6. Tell them first--don’t let them hear it somewhere else
7. If they freak out, leave for a bit and come back later. Hopefully they will have calmed down a little.

National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month - May (NTPPM)

Advocates for Youth sponsors National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM). Observed each May by states and communities throughout the country, NTPPM seeks to involve communities in promoting and supporting effective teen pregnancy prevention initiatives. From Hawaii to Maine, NTPPM's momentum continues to grow. Councils and other pregnancy prevention organizations continue to initiate new and innovative ideas.

Advocates for Youth recently updated its National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM) Planning Guidebook. The guidebook provides strategic tips and examples to help local communities plan and implement activities for NTPPM. It also includes fact sheets, guidance for involving youth and working with the media, and sample forms.

The NTPPM activities implemented in your community or state this year can make a huge difference to teens and their families and can also offer a good basis from which to build more inclusive and multi-faceted initiatives in the years to come. In fact, when community leaders and organizations are committed and work together to make an impact this year, NTPPM planning will continue throughout the year.

Please join Advocates for Youth in making NTPPM an effective year-round catalyst to highlight and promote sexual health information and services for teens. Also, please let Advocates for Youth know what you are planning and if Advocates can help. Please send your questions and examples of your campaign materials to Advocates for Youth's Director of Education and Outreach at: 2000 M Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20036 or 202.419.3420
Source: images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.roanoke.k12.va.us/schools/Fleming/Potter_ITGS_%2520project/images/fb_teen_sex_f1.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.roanoke.k12.va.us/schools/Fleming/Potter_ITGS_%2520project/links.htm&h=422&w=451&sz=9&hl=en&start=19&um=1&tbnid=YrjHKFwWEHbq8M:&tbnh=119&tbnw=127&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dteen%2Bsex%26start%3D18%26ndsp%3D18%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address%26rlz%3D1I7RNWE%26sa%3DN

Teen Pregnancy and Addiction: Why Suicide Becomes a Concern

An alarming number of pregnant teenagers continue to use drugs or alcohol. Sadly, substance abuse and a life-changing event (such as teen pregnancy) are also risk factors for suicide.

According to a recent study, published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors, 16% of expectant teenage girls drink alcohol throughout their pregnancy. Another 14% admit to smoking Marijuana while pregnant, and an additional 5% even used other illicit substances, such as Cocaine. This harmful practice is concerning for the physical and mental health of mother and baby. Both major life changes (such as an unexpected pregnancy) and substance abuse are risk factors for suicide. As such, when these factors combine, suicide becomes a true concern.

Teen Pregnancy and Suicide

A study published in the British Medical Journal stated that, “the myth that suicide does not occur during pregnancy must be dismissed.” In fact, any major life changing event, especially those seen as negative, can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Common examples typically include loss of a loved one or break up of a relationship. Such experiences can lead to depression (including feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness) and eventually contemplation of suicide.

Teenage pregnancy, especially when unexpected or unwanted, can lead to a plethora of emotions and negative mental states. This could be derived from:

  • Contemplation of abortion, especially if against her beliefs;
  • Contemplation of adoption;
  • Lack of familial or societal support;
  • Denial or lack of support from the father;
  • Confusion about resources;
  • Pressure to marry the father;
  • Feelings of shame or stigma;
  • Financial strain;
  • Poor experiences with her own parents;
  • Fluctuation of hormones during pregnancy;
  • Feelings of concern for the future; or
  • Concern for the health or safety of herself or her baby.

Any of these factors can lead to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or helplessness. These emotions are all associated with depression, which may lead to suicide. If you or a loved one are pregnant and experiencing these feelings, reach out to:

  • A doctor or nurse;
  • A guidance counselor or teacher;
  • A religious mentor (such as a pastor or Rabi);
  • Supportive friends or family; or
  • A mental health professional.

These individuals can get you the help you need throughout your pregnancy, especially if you are dealing with complicated emotions.

Teen Pregnancy and Substance Abuse

Teen pregnancy alone creates complex physical and emotional issues, especially when compared to pregnancy of older women. Pregnant teens are at higher risk of:

  • General pregnancy complications;
  • Early delivery; and
  • Having children with developmental issues.

When pregnant teens abuse (or even occasionally use) drugs or alcohol, the risks and dangers are even worse. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to:

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome;
  • Premature birth;
  • Damage to the baby’s organs
  • Growth and developmental delays;
  • Low birth weight; and
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth.

Smoking Marijuana during pregnancy can lead to:

  • Birth defects;
  • Low birth weight;
  • Gastroschisis (a disorder where intestines protrude from abdomen); and
  • Behavioral issues.

If you are a teen struggling with substance abuse, especially during a pregnancy, it is important that you reach out for help to a trusted friend, family member, or mentor.

Teen Substance Abuse and Suicide

The risk of using any drugs or alcohol during pregnancy can be detrimental to the health of the baby, as well as the mother. Often, a pregnant teenager uses drugs and alcohol to self-medicate for feelings associated with depression. Additionally, since teenage brains are still developing, she may not fully understand the ramifications. As such, all pregnant teenagers should be educated on the dangers and continually screened for depression. Any and all mental health issues should be treated promptly. Untreated substance abuse issues (especially when the underlying cause is not addressed) can lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts.

Furthermore, substance abuse can actually change the way the brain functions. This is especially true for teenagers whose brains have not developed enough to properly handle the effects of alcohol. This change in brain function can also lead to depression or suicidal ideations.

In sum, while these two factors both increase the risk of suicide, when substance abuse and teen pregnancy are combined, the risk may increase dramatically. For more information on teens and suicide, please feel free reach out to help a loved one get the help and support they need.

Suicidal behavior risks during adolescent pregnancy in a low-resource setting: A qualitative study


Suicide is one of the most common causes of death among female adolescents. A greater risk is seen among adolescent mothers who become pregnant outside marriage and consider suicide as the solution to unresolved problems. We aimed to investigate the factors associated with suicidal behavior among adolescent pregnant mothers in Kenya.


A total of 27 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and 8 Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) were conducted in a rural setting (Makueni County) in Kenya. The study participants consisted of formal health care workers and informal health care providers (traditional birth attendants and community health workers), adolescent and adult pregnant and post-natal (up to six weeks post-delivery) women including first-time adolescent mothers, and caregivers (husbands and/or mothers-in-law of pregnant women) and local key opinion leaders. The qualitative data was analyzed using Qualitative Solution for Research (QSR) NVivo version 10.


Five themes associated with suicidal behavior risk among adolescent mothers emerged from this study. These included: (i) poverty, (ii) intimate partner violence (IPV), (iii) family rejection, (iv) social isolation and stigma from the community, and (v) chronic physical illnesses. Low economic status was associated with hopelessness and suicidal ideation. IPV was related to drug abuse (especially alcohol) by the male partner, predisposing the adolescent mothers to suicidal ideation. Rejection by parents and isolation by peers at school; and diagnosis of a chronic illness such as HIV/AIDS were other contributing factors to suicidal behavior in adolescent mothers. Violence during pregnancy (estimated to be 38% among low-income adolescent mothers) has been associated with a heightened risk for suicidal behavior (resulting to about 55% pregnancy-related suicides) [16], mental illnesses, miscarriage, missed antenatal visits, still birth, fetal injury, premature labour and birth and low birth weight [17].


Improved social relations, economic and health circumstances of adolescent mothers can lead to reduction of suicidal behaviour. Therefore, concerted efforts by stakeholders including family members, community leaders, health care workers and policy makers should explore ways of addressing IPV, economic empowerment and access to youth friendly health care centers for chronic physical illnesses. Prevention strategies should include monitoring for suicidal behavior risks during pregnancy in both community and health care settings. Additionally, utilizing lay workers in conducting dialogue discussions and early screening could address some of the risk factors and reduce pregnancy- related suicide mortality in LMICs. Read More
Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7375578/

Suicidal ideation among single, pregnant adolescents: The role of sexual and religious knowledge, attitudes and practices


Pregnant adolescents are a high-risk population for suicide. However, a knowledge gap still exists on how sexual and religious knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) influence suicidal ideation (SI) in teenage pregnancy. We aim to explore the interplay between psychiatric diagnoses, sociodemographic factors and KAP of sexual and religious issues as risk factors of SI among 114 pregnant Malaysian adolescents from 6 rehabilitation centers and a tertiary hospital. Single sexual partner was an independent predictor of SI, suggesting the role of less sexual experience as a risk factor for SI after controlling for major depression. Participants who were unsure versus those who agreed with the statement that most religions' viewed sex outside marriage as wrong had a lower risk of SI after controlling for major depression. Pregnant adolescents with a single sexual partner were significantly associated with current SI. Ambivalence towards religious prohibitions on premarital sex may protect against suicidal ideation.
Source: /www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140197116300835

Teen pregnancy is the leading cause of death for girls, and the problem is as urgent as it sounds

A new report from Save the Children, which is an NGO that works with children worldwide, found that teen pregnancy is the leading cause of death among girls age 15 to 19 years old. They concluded that “teenage pregnancy kills one girl every 20 minutes,” which is a scary and tragic figure. It’s usually the result of complications from pregnancy and lack of access to quality care, like bleeding, blood poisoning, labor complications, and unsafe abortions. According to the World Health Organization, there are 3 million unsafe abortions every single year performed just on teen girls.

This is even more troublesome given that Donald Trump reinstated the global gag order this year, which means that no American funding — to the tune of $9 billion — can go to organizations that perform (or even talk to patients about) abortion, meaning that teens and women everywhere will be more susceptible to labor complications and unsafe abortions. Those organizations also do things like provide medical care, like prenatal checkups, postnatal care, or breastfeeding training after birth. Which is important since it isn’t just the mothers that are at risk when it comes to teen pregnancy. Babies born to teen moms are 30 percent more likely to die than babies born to even slightly older women in their twenties. false

Those organizations also provide contraception to women and treat STIs. Kirsty McNeill, Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns of Save the Children UK said in a statement, “It’s unacceptable that so many young girls are dying simply because they don’t have access to contraceptives like condoms or the pill, or because of myths and cultural barriers.”

Unacceptable is an understatement. Giving young women the choice to control when they get pregnant could actually save their lives. Save the Children concluded that if more isn’t done, the situation would get worse. Already, 30,000 teenage girls die every year because of unplanned pregnancy. If governments don’t start funding organizations that can help them, that number will just go up, which is so unnecessary when the world definitely has the resources to help it.
Source: hellogiggles.com/news/teen-pregnancy-is-the-leading-cause-of-death-for-girls/

Adolescent pregnancy in the United States: an interstate analysis


Rates of teenage pregnancy, birth and abortion vary greatly among states. Because states that have high birthrates tend to have low abortion rates, pregnancy levels vary much less than do the birth and abortion measures. The role of unintended pregnancy is highlighted by the fact that in states that have very high pregnancy rates, the adolescent abortion rate is higher than the birthrate and the abortion rate combined in states that have the lowest pregnancy rates. A series of multivariate analyses that controlled for the percentage of the state population that was black, poor and metropolitan showed that social factors tend to be more important determinants of state differences in teenage pregnancy, birth and abortion levels than are policy-related variables, particularly for whites. Nevertheless, some policy measures have important associations for both races, especially for blacks. Social factors. High rates of population growth and residential mobility over the previous decade, a high crime rate, a high teenage suicide rate, extensive circulation of sexually explicit magazines, a large percentage not voting in elections and a high level of stress are all associated with high pregnancy-related rates for teenagers. The percentage of children living in female-headed households correlates positively with abortion and pregnancy levels among white teenagers, but has no significant association with the birthrate. The percentage of a state's population that belongs to fundamentalist religious groups is positively associated with adolescent birthrates. Political liberalism correlates with relatively low pregnancy rates and birthrates but with a somewhat higher likelihood of pregnancies being terminated by abortion. In states where women's status is higher, birthrates are lower, but abortion levels are higher. Policy measures. States that have high proportions of teenagers dropping out of school and of young women not graduating from high school tend to have high pregnancy rates and birthrates and a somewhat lower proportion of pregnancies ending in abortion. Increased spending on education is associated with relatively high abortion rates (and, therefore, pregnancy rates). The higher the teacher-student ratio, the lower the adolescent birthrate and the more likely the pregnant teenager is to have an abortion. Welfare payments to teenage mothers are negatively associated with both black and white teenage birthrates, and higher maximum payments are associated with relatively high abortion levels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

PIP: Rates of US teenage pregnancy, birth and abortion vary greatly among states. Because states that have high birthrates tend to have low abortion rates, pregnancy levels vary much less than do the birth and abortion measures. The role of unintended pregnancy is highlighted by the fact that in states that have very high pregnancy rates, the adolescent abortion rate is higher than the birthrate and the abortion rate combined is states that have lowest pregnancy rates. A series of multivariate analyses that controlled for the % of the state population that was black, poor and metropolitan showed that social factors tend to be more important determinants of state differences is teenage pregnancy, birth and abortion levels than are policy-related variables, particularly for whites. Nevertheless, some policy measures have important associations for both races, especially for blacks. High rates of population growth and residential mobility over the previous decade, a high crime rate, a high teenage suicide rate, extensive circulation of sexually explicit magazines, a large % not voting in elections and a high level of stress are all associated with high pregnancy-related rates for teenagers. The % of children living in female-headed households correlates positively with abortion and pregnancy levels among white teenagers, but has no significant association with the birth rate. States that have high proportions of teenagers dropping out of school and of young women not graduating from high school tend to have high pregnancy rates and birth rates and a somewhat lower proportion of pregnancies ending in abortion. Increased spending on education is associated with relatively high abortion rates. The higher the teacher-student ratio, the lower the adolescent birth rate and the more likely the pregnant teenager is to have an abortion. Welfare payments to teenage mothers are negatively associated with both black and white teenage birth rates, and higher maximum payments are associated with relatively high abortion levels. The availability of Medicaid funds for abortion is associated with relatively high abortion levels and significantly lower birthrates.
Source: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3803557/

The Truth Behind The Suicide Statistic For Older Teen Girls

For years, Suzanne Petroni, senior director at the International Center for Research on Women, would speak — backed by mountains of evidence she studies — about the number one cause of death among women around the world: maternal mortality.

Then, in September, 2014, the World Health Organization released its report on "Health for the World's Adolescents: A Second Chance in the Second Decade."

"I read the report, and there was one line tucked away," says Petroni. The line addressed females age 15 to 19. "The number one cause of death had changed," she says. "It was suicide."

That finding made headlines around the world last month after it was cited at a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation event.

Petroni checked and rechecked, even made some phone calls to friends at WHO, and confirmed that it was true. The number one cause of death around the world for older teen girls had shifted from maternal mortality to "self-harm." Self-harm can refer to any form of violence to oneself: cutting, drug overdosing. Some self-harm is survivable. But when the term ends up in a column labeled "mortality" in a WHO report, it means suicide.

But curiously, the shift doesn't reflect a sudden increase in self-harm.

What it does reflect is a bit of good news: Maternal mortality has been dropping. The number of women dying from pregnancy and childbirth complications has dropped for women of all ages by almost 50 percent between 1990 and 2013, according to WHO. And in the age range of 15 to 19, the rate of death from maternal conditions fell from 15.74 per 100,000 in 2000 to 9.72 in 2012.

Rates of suicide have also been dropping in that same time period, but the rate is still high enough to outpace maternal mortality among females 15 to 19. The suicide rate in that age group fell from 15.85 per 100,000 in 2000 to 11.73 per 100,000 in 2012.

It's also worth noting that suicide in the 15-to-19 age range already had passed maternal deaths by the year 2000 by fractions of percentage points. But the trend wasn't noticed until the release of the 2014 report.

The suicide statistic is propelled by extraordinarily high rates in Southeast Asia, a WHO-designated region that includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste. There, the rate of death by suicide is 27.92 per every 100,000 females between 15 and 19, more than twice the global rate in that group.

"Those numbers make peoples' heads turn," says Petroni. "Clearly, Southeast Asia is the predominant driver." The rate there is about five times higher than in Europe or the Americas.

Numbers on suicide are not easy to compile. WHO acknowledges gaping holes in some nations' vital statistics along with cultural taboos that often seek to cover up suicide as a cause of death. But the organization stands by the data as an accurate representation of suicide. Each year, WHO asks its 194 member nations to report on causes of death for their population. Not every country can comply. "We can say that there are 90 countries who report on an annual basis on suicide," says Alexandra Fleischmann, a project coordinator for WHO's "Preventing Suicide" (92 page PDF) report, based on the same statistics used in the organization's adolescent report. Of those, 60 countries are deemed by WHO to have good quality vital statistics on suicide, and 28 countries have a national strategy for suicide prevention.

But some countries don't even officially register births and deaths. In those cases, WHO relies on country or regional surveys and other published data, and extrapolates to a national level. "Suicide is still a taboo issue, and yes, there is some underreporting," says Fleischmann, "but it's the best we have, and we believe overall it is a picture of reality."

With those caveats in mind, Petroni says the statistics on suicide among older teen girls ring true. "In South and East Asia, there are very stark gender differences in expectations," she says. "You see girls excluded from education, forced into marriage, being victims of violence, abuse, trauma, social isolation. Those risk factors are higher for girls in many parts of the world, putting them at higher risk for suicide."

Indeed, one study of Nepali girls and young women found suicide the leading cause of death in women between 15 and 34. The suicide rate was 22 per 100,000 in 1998; it rose to 28 per 100,000 by 2009. Those most vulnerable, according to the study, were socially isolated, poor, rural women. They often marry young and are victims of domestic abuse. Wives are often considered their husbands' property and "become trapped in a perennial cycle of dependence which may lead some to view suicide as their only option," the study says. The recent earthquakes could well increase suicides in Nepal. Displacement, in this case due to a natural disaster, increases suicide rates for men and women of all ages, according to the study.

The overall rate of suicide among girls and young women has fallen somewhat in the years studied by WHO. In 2000, the worldwide rate was 15.85 per 100,000; it fell to 11.73 per 100,000 in 2012, though it remains the leading cause of death in females 15 to 19.

The report doesn't explain the drop, but efforts by a few countries offer some clues.

"China is just one major example. It has brought down youth suicide rates, especially in women in the past ten years, through a range of interventions," says Vikram Patel, professor of International Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "Both social interventions, such as improving employment opportunities in rural areas, and improving mental health care."

India, too, has made changes after noticing that some young people, under great stress to do well in school, resorted to suicide if they felt they did poorly. "In South India, they observed higher suicide rates after exam periods among schoolchildren who failed," says Fleischmann. "Then they introduced the possibility of redoing the exams, and that reduced the suicide." That information was reported to WHO from a collaborating center in India.

And there are proven preventive efforts that can help reduce suicide around the world. "Irrespective of the variations between nations, there are universal strategies which will work in all societies, such as means restriction and improving access to mental health care for young people," says Patel. By "means restriction" he is referring to reducing access to the methods of suicide.

In high-income countries, hanging is the leading method of suicide, accounting for half of suicide deaths, followed by 18 percent due to firearms (led by the Americas, where firearms account for 46 percent of suicides.) In low- and middle-income countries, methods are less clear, though WHO estimates that about 30 percent of global suicides are due to pesticide poisoning, mostly among men and women of all ages in poor, rural areas.

But it's easier to restrict access to pesticides than to address the cultural and societal issues cited as risk factors for suicide: young girls being forced to marry or seeing educational opportunities closed to them, for example.

"Changing a society, and how equal or not equal it is, is more difficult than changing, say, the harmful use of pesticides," says Fleischmann. "Fighting poverty, fighting for equality — certainly that plays an important role. That, however, takes more time."

It will also take time to tease out additional information about self-harm. In a report whose scope is the cause of death for every adolescent on earth, there are findings buried deep within the data.

"Actually, in the suicide prevention report," says Fleischmann of WHO, "among the key messages was that [self-harm] was the second leading cause of death for both sexes. This might be even a stronger point."
Source: www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/06/02/409731413/suicide-no-1-cause-of-death-for-older-teen-girls

Teen Pregnancy Prevention information and resources

MMWR – CDC Vital Signs: Vital Signs: Births to Teens Aged 15–17 Years — United States, 1991–2012

CDC Vital Signs: Preventing Pregnancy in Younger Teens

CDC Press Release: Younger teens still account for 1 in 4 teen births

Source: www.advocatesforyouth.org/topics-issues/teen-pregnancy-prevention/1304-tpp

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Condoms are easier to change than diapers.

It's always better to have a child when you're ready and have planned for it.

According to the USDA, the sticker price to raise a child to 18 is $286,050, not counting college, lost income or career opportunities, and life insurance

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