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Some Teens Unaware Sex Can Cause Pregnancy

By Lauren Jimeson |

I hate to admit it, but one of my guilty pleasures is watching the MTV show, Teen Mom. It follows the lives of girls who were featured on another MTV show 16 and Pregnant. Both shows reveal the difficulties and struggles of being a teenager while taking care of a baby. The shows have become very popular and continue to be a success for the network year after year.

With the popularity and success of the show, especially with teenagers, it may come as a surprise that many of the teens watching the show still might be unaware that sex can cause pregnancy.

A new survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week revealed that the United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy of any developed country in the world. The survey compiled answers from 5,000 teenage girls who experienced unplanned pregnancies and gave birth between 2004 and 2008.

What’s even more shocking to me is that of the teens surveyed that got pregnant while not using any form of contraception, about half of them didn’t use it because they didn’t know they could get pregnant at the time! And a small percentage said they didn’t use birth control because they thought either they or their partner were sterile. A third of overall girls surveyed said they didn’t use birth control because they thought they were immune to pregnancy.

I have two teenage brothers that are both in high school, and while we don’t talk about the birds and the bees on nearly any occasion (that’s my parents job,) they are very aware that sex can have major consequences at their age, one of which being pregnancy. It was no secret to them how I got pregnant with both my daughter and now this little girl.

Even if my brothers weren’t exposed to having an older sister who has been through pregnancy, I would hope that there is some sort of sex education in the schools that reveal that having intercourse can cause pregnancy. As a former sixth grade teacher, we taught sex education in the classroom (with written consent from the parents.) Some of the topics we discussed were sex, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy. With the help of a slide show presentation, my students learned about male and female reproductive organs and how they are able to procreate.

The rest of the survey revealed that a quarter of those that didn’t use birth control didn’t because their partner didn’t want them to. We all remember how naive and lovestruck we could get as teenagers.

The thought of making my high school boyfriend happy was a top priority for me  because in my fantasy world, I thought we would be together forever.  I thought we were in love. Apparently the trend hasn’t changed in the past ten years, and girls are still vying for the love of their boyfriends. So much so that they won’t use protection for their partner’s pure pleasure. What’s sad to me is that most of these girls that happen to get pregnant from this don’t end up with their boyfriends and are left to care for a baby by themselves.

I hope that this survey can bring awareness to teens, parents, and the education system about the sex and pregnancy. Maybe then shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant will become obsolete.

What do you think about the results of this survey?

Read more from Lauren at A Mommy in the City. For more updates, follow Lauren on Facebook and Twitter !

Photo credit: morgueFile/taliesin

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About Lauren Jimeson

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Lauren Jimeson

Lauren Jimeson is the author of A Mommy in the City, which chronicles living the city life with a suburban mentality. Read bio and latest posts → Read Lauren's latest posts →

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5 thoughts on “Some Teens Unaware Sex Can Cause Pregnancy

  1. Vanessa aka mamascribble.com says:

    Obviously, the parents of theses teens did not do their job of talking to them about Sex/Reproduction 101.

  2. N says:

    Could not agree more with Vanessa–why do we always put it on the schools? No way! PARENTS need to teach their children. So many parents aren’t involved in their kids lives like they should be. Nor do they teach good values and morals, like, how about not having sex at all??? Too outlandish in today’s world? It’s about teaching values, reasons, and morals and setting a high expectation. Maybe not 100% foolproof…but way more than the “kids will be kids” and “just let them do whatever they do, because they will do it anyways” mentalities that run so rampant.

  3. emily says:

    luckily, our school had great sex ed, starting in 5th grade. i learned everything i needed to know to be safe by the time i had sex in high school. fortunately for my mother, who gave me the safe sex talk after i was already active. she was terrified/relieved by how much i knew!

  4. Eva says:

    I’m not sure N is getting at – should teens NOT be told that sex leads
    To pregnancy?? Abstinence only education hasn’t worked!
    Kids DO have sex, just in secret, with no protection and in
    Ignorance.
    Personally I think teens have a right to know how
    Their bodies work, how they came into this world
    and how to protect themselves. But even if you dont agree with
    that opnion, its a logical fallacy of epic proportions to assume
    that knowing how not to get pregnant will make teens have
    sex. It’s actually the opposite! The premise of this article
    is after all that American teens get unintentionally pregnant
    more than any other developed country – and American teens know less
    than teens in developed countries. Pls compare teen pregnancy, STD’s, age of sexual debut w. countries like The Netherlands or Scandinavia – every comparison is to America’s disadvantage and American teens are paying that price. What do Scandinavia and the Netherlands have in common? Comprehensive, evidence-based, age-appropriate sexual education in schools.
    Turns out that when teens are trusted with information – correct information – they overwhelmingly make better, healthier, more responsible choices.
    An informed, confident teen will not be as easily manipulated, bullied or pressured – or pressure and bully him/herself.

    And healthy teens turn into healthy adults -a staggering HALF of all
    pregnancies in the US are unplanned! HALF! It’s not
    Just our teens who need sexual education, it’s everybody! But teens are a good
    place to start! And as a parent I find it awful to
    say that you’ll essentially withhold true information for fear
    that your values will be damaged by the truth. Trust your own values AND your
    teen a bit more I think. If you want your teen to, say wait until marriage, trust you’ve done a good enough job explaining WHY, not that knowing how babies are made will undermine those values. Teens deserve to know the truth about their own bodies, and taking their reproductive health as hostage is not a way to win any culture war or parental power struggle.

  5. Ruth says:

    Agreed. It’s the PARENTS job to educate their kids about this stuff. When I was growing up, anything related to sex was off limits. So when I got into my teens, I had no idea about anything! And since all my parents ever told me was “no sex!” instead of explaining WHY; the first thing I did was go find out for myself!
    Contraception should be offered because like Eva said; kids are doing it, just in secret!! They should at least be protected.

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