Nationally, more than 750,000 teenagers become pregnant each year. That means that approximately 3 in 10 teenage girls become pregnant at least once before age 20.
What should I know about teenage pregnancy?
- Teenage birth rates in the United States rose in 2007 for the second year in a row. These increases follow a continuous decline between 1991 and 2005. Teenage birth rates in the United States are high, exceeding those in most developed countries.
- High teen birth rates are an important concern because teen mothers and their babies face increased risks to their health, and their opportunities to build a future are diminished.
- Teen mothers are more likely than mothers over age 20 to give birth prematurely (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy). Between 2003 and 2005, preterm birth rates averaged 14.5 percent for women under age 20 compared to 11.9 percent for women ages 20 to 29. Babies born prematurely face an increased risk of newborn health problems, long-term disabilities, and even death.
- For information on how a teen’s health and behaviors can affect the baby and other health risks to babies of teenage mothers, click here.
- It is important to talk to your teen about sex, including the consequences of unprotected sex—STDs and pregnancy—and how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
What should I do if my teen is pregnant?
- Hearing that you have a pregnant teenager will likely come as a shock to everyone. Allow yourself and your teen to experience the shock briefly, and then accept the reality of the situation. You may be upset, furious, disappointed, hurt, scared, and experiencing a whole gamut of emotions. That is not going to change the facts.
- Both of you should take a deep breath and take it one day at a time. Whether she agrees to continue or not continue the pregnancy, your immediate concern should be for the health of your teen because she is going through so much emotionally and physically. Remember, being mad isn’t going to help anyone. What she needs now is your support.
- You are not on your own. Each community has programs and resources available. If you don’t know where to start, call your doctor, your local Planned Parenthood center, or the Center for Adolescent Health at Milford Regional Medical Center. They can point you in the right direction to find education classes and counseling resources.
For more information on parenting a pregnant teen, click here.
For a list of local resources including adolescent medical services, mental health counseling, substance abuse, violence, grief, suicide, and after-school programs for teens, click here.