May 2 is The National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy – a day to remember that three out of every ten teen girls in the U.S. become pregnant at least once by age 20.
And while the teen birth rate has dropped dramatically in recent years – fewer babies were born to teens in 2010 than at any other time since the 40′s – teen pregnancy is still a major social issue that costs taxpayers more than $10 billion annually.
Perhaps one factor behind the reduction in teen pregnancy rates is the popularity of shows such as Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant. Although some criticize these reality programs for making media stars out of young mothers, the shows do offer a valuable look at the realities they face: troubles with parents and boyfriends, money issues, the struggle to keep up with school and the daily challenges of raising a child.
Popular cast members such as Chelsea Houska, Maci Bookout, Leah Messer, Farrah Abraham, Kailyn Lowry, Jenelle Evans and Catelynn Lowell are more than just tabloid headlines – they’re young women who are determined to make life better for themselves and their children. They also want to get the message out that pregnancy is preventable.
Here are some of the lessons teenagers can learn from them!
And for more information, visit the website of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Chelsea Houska: Family support is essential 1 of 7Chelsea is lucky to have the love and support of her parents as she raises her daughter, Aubree. When a young mom has no support system, it makes her job all the more difficult - and makes it more likely that she'll get inadequate medical care, fail to complete school and go on welfare.
Talking to your children about sex can actually help prevent teen pregnancy. Here's how.
Kailyn Lowry: Education is important 2 of 7Like many of the other "Teen Moms," Kail knows the way to a better future is through schooling. She's a full-time student taking such courses as business law, psychology and Spanish.
Do you follow her on Twitter?
Leah Messer: Parenthood has unexpected challenges 3 of 7It's difficult enough for a teen girl to be a parent, but when her child has developmental delays - as Leah's twin daughter Aliannah does - a mom's life becomes even more complicated as she enters the world of doctors and therapists.
How you can make a difference for babies with health issues.
Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra: Adoption is a great option 4 of 7The teen sweethearts knew that they weren't financially or emotionally ready to raise a child, so they chose an open adoption. They have no regrets, and they're now devoted to educating other teens about pregnancy and adoption. Catelynn even wants to become a pregnancy counselor.
Read more about them on their website!
Maci Bookout: You can be an example to others 5 of 7A number of the "Teen Mom" cast members, including Maci, are active advocates of teen pregnancy prevention. Maci gets booked for many speaking engagements across the country to educate teens about the facts and their options.
Take a look at this important survey about parents, teens and pregnancy!
Farrah Abraham: Follow your dreams 6 of 7The mom of toddler Sophia is determined to forge a successful life for herself and her daughter. She's written a new book, hosts a dating website and even developed a line of jarred sauces.
Watch an interview with Farrah here.
Jenelle Evans: It can be hard to make good choices 7 of 7Teens who already have drama in their lives can find it hard to stay on track even when there's a child in the picture. Jenelle has struggled with bipolar disorder, fought drug and anger issues, gotten into bad relationships and had to give custody of her son, Jace, to her mother. On the plus side, she's off probation and attending community college.
See why Jenelle was in the hospital today.
[Photos: via Twitter]
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