Prevention of Teenage Pregnancy

Bringing a new person into this world is wonderful, but this is not the case with teenage pregnancy. There is a host of possible negative consequences for the teenage mothers: reliance of government assistance, financial issues and a lower chance of graduating from high school. What’s more, their children are more likely to suffer from health and cognitive disadvantages, drop out of school, and live in poverty. With so many bad things that can result, the prevention of teenage pregnancy is very important.

How to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy

1.   Avoid Peer Pressure

The pressure to fit in or go along with what other people do can be strong, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. In fact, chances are that most of your friends or peers having sex will regret their decision in the future, even if no one gets pregnant.

2.   Say No

The only 100% effective form of birth control is abstinence; even the most effective birth control methods used today still have a slight chance of failure. Therefore, if you don’t feel it’s the right time to have sex, feel free to say no. Putting your foot down can be awkward, but the consequences of unintended pregnancy are worse.

3.   Know the Chances

The highest risk of pregnancy comes from unprotected vaginal intercourse where sperm is released inside the vagina. In theory, vaginal intercourse where the male pulls out should avoid pregnancy, but it doesn’t reduce the risk completely. Because of sperm found in pre-seminal fluid and imperfect timing when pulling out, there’s a 15%-20% risk of pregnancy from the withdrawal method of birth control. The two sexual activities least likely to result in pregnancy are anal sex and oral sex, but these carry the risk of STDs. 

4.   Understand Birth Control

The knowledge of birth control is very essential in the prevention of teenage pregnancy. Not all forms of birth control are as effective as others. For example, in perfect usage, condoms are extremely effective. But due to the fact that condoms are widely misused, condoms are less than 85% effective in preventing pregnancy.

The birth control pill is one of the most effective, but sometimes women forget to take the pill, which reduces its effectiveness. Intrauterine devices are also very effective, but they can have unwanted side effects, such as heavy or painful periods.

5.   Use Birth Control

If you’re going to have sex, the only way to prevent teenage pregnancy is to use birth control. Before having sex, you should discuss birth control with your partner. It might feel weird, but if you’re prepared to have sex with someone, you must be prepared to discuss birth control with him/her. Even if you’re a girl, knowing how to put a condom on may be helpful if a guy doesn’t know how to use one properly. Even though you use a condom, things can go wrong; don’t assume everything will be OK. Take the Plan B emergency contraception birth control pill if necessary. But this emergency pill should not be consistently used.

How Can Parents Help to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy?

Parents can do a lot in the prevention of teenage pregnancy. Here are a few tips:

  • Talk to your child about sex. This doesn’t just mean talking about what sex is and how it works, but also about whether or not to have sex.
  • Discuss what safe sex really means. If sex is going to happen, there are several ways to do it as safely as possible. Explain what these ways are and how they work.
  • Encourage abstinence. You should explain how abstinence is the only way to be absolutely sure you won’t have an unwanted pregnancy. But it may not be realistic to expect your child not to have sex until they are married and ready to have children.
  • Explain the risks of sex. Sex can be very enjoyable, but when one or both partners aren’t ready for it, bad things can happen. Explain the risks of sex, from pregnancy to sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Discuss what happens if someone gets pregnant. Provide a hypothesis to your child about what would happen if she or his partner got pregnant. Whether it’s an abortion, or raising the baby, tell your child that both of these options have consequences.
  • Don’t make sex taboo. This will do no good in prevention of teenage pregnancy. If you make sex a big no-no, there’s a good chance it will make it harder for you to prevent your child from creating a teenage pregnancy.
  • Encourage your child to babysit a young child. By showing teenagers the firsthand responsibilities of having a baby, it can help remind them that they aren’t ready to become a parent.

As parents, all you can expect of yourself is to do your best and you need to know that no matter how hard you try, your child will have to ultimately make his/her own decision about having sex.

Here is a video to learn more about the parents's role in prevention of teenage pregnancies.

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