It seems like teen pregnancy has become “popular” in the last couple of years with shows about teen pregnancy taking over our televisions, but as a teen what should you really know about teen pregnancy? As a teenage girl you probably have been taught that getting pregnant can lead to many struggles, whether it be struggles with your relationships, managing school, finding and keeping a job, or just trying to live life as a teen mom, but there is so much more to teen pregnancy that is often overlooked. In shows like “16 and Pregnant” or “Teen Mom,” different girls of all different backgrounds face the troubles of being a teen and pregnant or being a teen mom. Because it is a reality show and is only an hour long episode, it often avoids touching on some of the most important issues of teen pregnancy. What should you really know about teen pregnancy?
1. Plans For The Future?
Have big plans for the future? Plan on going to college to reach your dream career? Think again. Having a baby changes everything including your future plans. Becoming pregnant as a teen not only affects you for the 9 months you are pregnant, but for the rest of your life. Your plans for the future can be put on hold as you take on the tasks of having and raising a baby. Not only are you dreams for the future pushed aside, but you have to consider the cost of raising a baby. According to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy in 2008 it cost Texas taxpayers $1.2 billion for unplanned pregnancies and teen childbearing. While you personally won’t be paying $1.2 billion, it still costs a lot of money to raise a baby. Susie, now 22, became pregnant at the age of 17. When asked what challenges she faced she says, “Financial issues- I realized having a child is expensive. As a young single parent, it’s hard to have money most of the time.” Your dreams for the future may have to wait as you find time to get a job, hopefully finish high school, and pay the bills all while raising a baby. While many teen moms continue pursuing their educational and career goals, balancing that with raising a child is definitely made more challenging.
2. Bye Bye Social Life
Getting pregnant not only changes your plans for the future, but sadly takes away your social life. No more Friday night parties or movies and shopping with your friends, you’ll be stuck at home taking care of your baby. Reality starlets Farrah Abraham and Maci Bookout, both from MTV’s “Teen Mom,” lost their social life almost as quickly as they got pregnant. Farrah had to quit the cheerleading team and put aside her modeling career and Maci missed out on prom and graduating with all of her friends. Susie says, “Being a parent is not easy. Your whole life changes- school, money, stress, love relationships, living arrangements, health, and many other things.” Having a baby is a lot of responsibility. You can no longer be a care-free teenager. You have to grow up fast.
3. Hello? Is anyone out there?
While pregnant teens may feel completely alone there is actually a lot of help out there. Different support groups through different churches, hospitals, community groups and schools are always available and are willing to help. Planned Parenthood is also a great website to visit as they are there to inform you on ALL the risks of getting pregnant, what to do if you are pregnant, and how to avoid pregnancy in the future.
4. The Heath Risks
Risks? What Risks? Getting pregnant at any age has risks for the person getting pregnant, but getting pregnant as a teenager increases those risks as well as adding new ones. Increased blood pressure, low birth weight, and having a premature birth are just a few of the risks that are possible for teenagers who are pregnant. Isabel Fernandez, age 15, says, “There are a lot more health risks when your pregnant as a teenager. You are still young and your definitely not ready to have a baby.” While these health issues are not too extreme, why risk it?
5. Prevention Is Possible
What? Teen pregnancy is preventable? Yes, teen pregnancy is a 100% preventable. Some ways to lower chances of becoming pregnant are different types of birth control and condoms. Although these are not 100% preventable methods, abstinence is. Abstinence is a sure way to prevent getting pregnant as a teen as well as avoiding all the struggles that come along with being a teen and pregnant.
When asked what advice she would give teenage girls about sex and teen pregnancy, Susie said, “Wait until you have enjoyed your life. It’s not easy to get up and raise a child.”