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Teen Pregnancy Prevention
This article will review tips for teen pregnancy prevention, strategies to prevent teen pregnancy, what to do if your teen is pregnant, group homes for prenant teens, adoption as an option for pregnant teens, and show statistics on teen pregnancy and abortion.
The primary reason that teenage girls who have never had intercourse give for abstaining from sex is that having sex would be against their religious or moral values. Other reasons cited include desire to avoid pregnancy, fear of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and not having met the appropriate partner. Three of four girls and over half of boys report that girls who have sex do so because their boyfriends want them to.
Tips for Preventing Teen Pregnancy
The best way parents can help prevent teenage pregnancy is by building close, strong, open relationships with their children long before they reach their teen years. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy offers these additional tips for parents.
Strategies to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
There are only two strategies to prevent teen pregnancy ? abstinence and contraception.
While more than two-thirds of Americans believe teens should practice sexual abstinence, teenage pregnancy rates (84 per 1,000 girls aged 15?19 in 2001) show it's unrealistic to expect all teens to abstain from sex.
If you discover your teen is sexually active and unlikely to practice abstinence, providing access to contraception may be your most effective option for preventing pregnancy.
If you feel unqualified to discuss contraception with your teen, then make an appointment with your family physician or with your local public health department and accompany your teen on the visit.
Alternatively, you can find a family planning clinic in the local yellow pages under Birth Control or Family Planning. You can also use an Internet search engine to search by city or zip code.
What To Do if Your Teen is Pregnant
There are a number of resources and options available to help teens and their parents through this difficult situation. Most services and resources can be accessed through local public health programs.
Depending on where you live, these programs may be administered though your county government or by a local public health department or agency. Services available typically include:
If living at home is unsafe for the teen mother, public programs can often help provide foster care for the teen in a secure, adult supervised environment.
Group Homes for Pregnant Teens
Foster care is sometimes provided in a group home setting. Group homes are operated by religious organizations, social services groups, or private individuals. Homes must pass state and local licensing requirements before they can open.
Group homes provide teen mothers a safe place to live before and after their babies are born. Services offered may include parenting classes, counseling, and access to GED courses and even job training.
In exchange, group home residents agree to abide by strict rules, often including curfews, assigned chores, mandatory class attendance, and constant supervision. The goal is to prepare the teen mother to take care of herself and her baby when she leaves the group home.
Fees for housing teen mothers in group homes are sometimes paid by the state. But a teen's parents may be required to pay some or all of the cost. Because group home facilities, services offered, and fees vary widely, the teen's parents should be sure to understand what is offered and how much it costs before agreeing to group home housing.
Adoption as an Option for Pregnant Teens
Adoption is supported by a large majority of Americans of all political persuasions. When a teenage mother decides to allow her child to be adopted by a family, the adoption services provider typically offers medical care, counseling, and perhaps even housing or help with living expenses.
Expenses associated with the adoption process are usually paid by the adopting family. A birth mother typically is allowed to select the family that will adopt her child. She often is allowed to meet the adopting family if she chooses. And in cases where all parties agree, the birth mother may even be allowed ongoing contact with the family after the adoption.
Adoption services providers can be found in your local yellow pages under Adoption or via Internet search.
About one-third of all teen pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion. Clinics offering abortions can be found in the yellow pages under Abortion, or on the Internet.
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