Pregnant teenagers getting help from other teens
Teen doulas offer support
Each year 750,000 teen girls become teen moms. If you don’t think it can happen to your daughter, think again. Thirteen percent of all girls are having sex by age 15. By age 19, that number skyrockets to 70 percent. Now, teens are turning to teens to learn what not to do.
Allie and Brianna have more than school in common; Allie helped deliver Brianna’s baby. A doula at just 17 years old, she offers birthing and peer support to pregnant teens.
The fact that these moms come to me because they think I have something special to offer is really touching," said Allie.
As new moms, teen support comes from Parenthesis Family Center. But trust among teens is often misplaced in television shows that turn teen parents into celebrities.
"It shows like the basic stuff but not like everything that’s hard, like financial issues, day cares, like trying to find everything and balance everything," said Jessica, a teen mom.
Studies show babies born to teen moms are at higher risk for problems such a low birth weight and premature delivery. The younger the mother is, the more chances there are of her baby dying during its first year of life. Many teen girls don’t understand that they have a 90% chance of getting pregnant every time they have unprotected sex. Experts believe the problem is girls are too embarrassed to ask for birth control.
"If I had felt more open about when I wanted to start having sex, I feel I could have gotten started on the pill then," said Knikia, a teen mom.
Briana had her first baby at seventeen and her second eleven months later.
"I would just say be safe and really think and know about what you're doing before you get yourself in to something that you can't get yourself out of," Brianna said.
When teenagers have babies everybody pays. Annually, teen parents cost tax payers 9 billion dollars. And when a teen has a baby, studies show a quarter of them will have a second baby within two years.
The teen birth rate in the U.S. has dropped to a record low in the seven decades since such statistics were last collected. A 2012 report released by the National Center for Health Statistics showed the teenage birth rate for American teenagers fell 9 percent from 2009 to 2010.
The CDC believes that prevention messages, as well as an increase in the use in contraceptives, have been effective in stopping teenage pregnancy. Despite the gains in teen pregnancy prevention, the U.S. still lags behind other industrialized countries.
- There are nine times as many teen mothers in America than in any other developed country
- Only 50% of teen moms will get a high school diploma by the age of 22
- Hispanic teens, who normally have a higher birth rate than the rest of the population, reported less young birth mothers than ever before in 2010
- While there are still 55.7 teen births in the Hispanic community for every 1,000 births, numbers declined 12 percent for Hispanic and American Indian or Alaskan Native teens
- Rates dropped 13 percent for Asian and Pacific Islander mothers
- Non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black teenage mothers saw their rates drop 9 percent
- States in the South and Southwest still have rates high above the national average
- While teen pregnancy has been on the decline, it still costs an estimated $10.9 billion annually and carries an elevated risk both for the young mothers and babies
For more information on teen pregnancy, visit http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/.
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