Teen pregnancy prevention is a national priority. Despite declines in teen pregnancy and birth rates in the U.S., the national teen pregnancy rate continues to be higher than the rates in other Western industrialized nations.1 Racial and ethnic disparities remain, with higher rates of teen pregnancy for Hispanic and non-Hispanic black adolescents than non-Hispanic white adolescents.2 Teen pregnancy prevention is a major public health issue because it directly affects the immediate and long-term well-being of mother, father, and child. Teen pregnancy and childbirth contribute significantly to dropout rates among high school females, increased health and foster care costs, and a wide range of developmental problems for children born to teen mothers.
Addressing teen pregnancy prevention requires broad efforts that involve families, service providers, schools, faith- and community-based organizations, recreation centers, policymakers, and youth. The development and implementation of evidence-based prevention efforts require an understanding of the problem including knowledge of target populations, trends in the rates of teen pregnancy and birth, and the risk and protective factors associated with teen pregnancy. This information can be used to inform decisions—such as choosing which risk and protective factors to focus on—in order to help better guide the effective implementation of evidence-based practices to prevent teen pregnancies. Currently there are a number of initiatives being implemented through the support of the federal government and other organizations to better address the issue of teen pregnancy.
PREVENTING AN UNINTENDED PREGNANCY
Not ready for a baby? Then make sure you know how to prevent pregnancy. The best way to prevent pregnancy is not to have sex, of course. Choosing abstinence (meaning choosing not to have any kind of sex at all) not only protects you from pregnancy, but also from sexually transmitted infections (STI). If you do make the decision to become sexually active, make sure you know how to reduce your risk of getting an STI and prevent unplanned pregnancy.
While condoms help prevent both STIs and pregnancy, other forms of birth control (also called contraception) only help prevent pregnancy. While you may choose different forms of birth control, remember that condoms are the best form of protecting against STIs as well.
There are many options available for preventing pregnancy, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you are sexually active and don’t want to get pregnant, download our birth control method comparison chart to help you make the choice that’s best for you. Remember: many options to prevent pregnancy do not protect you against STIs.
DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE!
Maybe you’ve heard some “facts” about pregnancy (and ways to avoid it). Like, a girl can’t get pregnant the first time she has sex. Or that you can’t get pregnant is you are on your period. Right? Wrong. Learn how to to separate the myths from the facts. A girl can get pregnant even if:
- she is having a period
- she does not have an orgasm
- she does not have vaginal intercourse very often
- she has vaginal intercourse standing up
- she urinates right after sex
- she douches right after sex
- a man pulls his penis out of her vagina before he ejaculates
- she jumps up and down after intercourse
- she hasn’t had her first period yet
- she is under 12 years of age
- it is her first time
- the man only touches the outside of her vagina with his penis
If you’ve had sex and didn’t use any type of birth control, or if the birth control you used failed, you have the option of emergency contraception up to three days afterwards. Plan B-One Step prevents pregnancy for up to 72 hours (3 days) after having unprotected sex. It is not intended for regular use and does not protect you from STIs or HIV. It can’t be used if you are already pregnant. If you are 15 or older, you can purchase Plan B-One Step over the counter at almost all drug stores. You will need to present a government issued photo ID (like a driver’s license) as proof of your age.
There are many options available for preventing pregnancy, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you are sexually active and don’t want to get pregnant, you can explore the range of contraceptive choices available. You can download our birth control method comparison chart and print out a copy to bring to your healthcare provider, so your provider can help you make the choice that’s best for you.
ADOLESCENT PREGNANCY PREVENTION
The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative uses sex education, counseling and health services to reduce the birth rate among teens in high school. Sixteen SBYS schools participate, with at least 60 young women and men served at each site.
Any at-risk youth is eligible. Risk factors include sexual abuse or neglect at home, low school achievement, poverty-level family income, substance abuse or living in a home where siblings or relatives gave birth during their teen years.
Referrals can come from peers, family members, guidance counselors, or foster families. Students also may enroll themselves.
In an effort to decrease teen pregnancies in Idaho, the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (APP) program aims to provide youth and their parents/caregivers with access to sexual health education. Studies find that sexual health education helps teens delay sexual activity, use condoms and birth A group of teenagers smilingcontrol correctly, avoid sexually transmitted infections, and prevent pregnancy.
Unplanned teen pregnancies cost Idaho taxpayers approximately 39 million dollars a year in Medicaid, foster care, and incarceration. These figures are not surprising given that children born from teen pregnancies often have poor mental and physical health compared to children born from planned adult pregnancies.
WHAT IS SEXUAL RISK AVOIDANCE EDUCATION?
In our highly sexualized culture, it is easy for students to feel like ‘everyone is doing it.’ However, CDC statistics show 54% of high school students have not had sex. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 66% of teens regret their first sexual experience. Sexual Risk Avoidance Education, or SRA, is a health and safety message based on the latest medical research to help prevent teen pregnancies and STI’s.
SRA programs provide a ‘risk avoidance’ message, not a ‘risk reduction’ or ‘safe sex’ message. It tells teens that avoiding teen sexual activity and other risk behaviors increases their potential for obtaining their goals and dreams. They learn the rates of effectiveness of condoms and birth control for protecting them from pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and emotional consequences of teen sexual activity.