Tag Archives: teen pregnancy

Teens: Open and Honest Conversations Help Avoid Pregnancy

Julie Metzger has developed a great recipe for getting parents together with their children to talk about sex.

Let’s Talk (Frankly) About Sex by New York Times writer Bonnie Rochman is an excellent article on Metzger’s work, so we will just direct you right away and take the opportunity to provide a few select teasers:

Julie Metzger, has been trying for nearly three decades to turn what’s so often at best a blush-inducing experience — the “facts of life” talk — into a candid dialogue between parents and children. … Metzger, who is 56 and vigorous, with flushed cheeks and blue eyes, says she has always been comfortable talking about sexuality; her father was a urologist, her mother a nurse. “Hand me a microphone,” she says. “I get so into this topic that I can make myself cry in front of the class, and it’s real.”

Metzger tends to be asked: Why do we have pubic hair? What does it feel like to have a growth spurt? How do I know when I’m getting my period? Does having sex hurt?

LetsTalkFranklyAboutSex NYTimes

In a 2012 survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 87 percent of teenagers said “open, honest” conversations with their parents could help them put off sex and avoid pregnancy. Students who take part in comprehensive sex-ed programs delay having sex for the first time, have less sex and fewer partners and rely more on contraception than their peers. Conversely, abstinence-only instruction has not succeeded in extending virginity.

We can only applaud Ms. Metzger’s efforts and thank the Times’ Ms. Rochman for spreading the good word. We are happy to spread it further.

Our motto: It’s okay to talk about it.

Live Tweeting an IUD Insertion

For some women, having an IUD inserted is an easy five-minute, painless routine. For others, it entails perhaps 30 minutes and is accompanied by some discomfort, even pain. Most women wear their IUDs without incidence; some endure months of soreness. The point is, women are not one prototype.

But the IUD is ever-gaining on popularity due to its effectiveness in planning pregnancy and the increasing comfort level of medical professionals advising women about their contraception choices. Married or unmarried, teens and not are drawn to this mind-easing contraceptive. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently named the IUD the most effective method for pregnancy prevention for teenagers. No daily pill to remember. Spontaneity rules.

For many women who have not yet experienced an IUD insertion first-hand, shared experiences provide valuable insights to take away any angst. But not all women have a been-there friend. So in the name of education and transparency, in January 2015 New York reproductive rights activist Alison Turkos shared the process – her personal experience – on Twitter.


“I decided to live-tweet my IUD insertion process because I wanted to reduce the stigma and shrine of secrecy around reproductive and sexual health and the experiences so many people have,” Turkos explained. “Also, I rely on my feminist/reproductive health community for support in so many ways, why not this too?”‘

For many women, the IUD insertion procedure has remained a black box of anxiety. With initiatives like this from Ms. Turkos, hopefully more and more women will feel comfortable with pursuing this excellent option.

Ms. Turkos’ venture was appreciated by many, but criticized also by some. What’s your take?


US Teens Births Highest in S/SW, Lowest in NE; International Comparison Dismal

USA Today reported on teen births this week, noting the 2012 US average at 29.4 births per 1000 women aged 15-19.  The lowest rates fell in the Northeast with New Hampshire leading at 13.8. The highest rates fell in the South and Southwest, with New Mexico and Oklahoma sharing the honors at 47.5 and 47.3 respectively. The ethnic tallies showed Asians lowest at 9.7 and Hispanics highest at 46.3.
Overall, the average age of new mothers has risen while the incidence of teen pregnancy, though still troublesome, has dropped, and the state variances prove striking differences among youth behavior across the country.

While on the topic, we had a look at the US teen numbers in an international comparison from last year of 16 countries.


Despite improvements overall to the US data, in this group of western nations, only Romania comes in with higher teenage pregnancy rates than the US. It is also interesting to note the similarity in the birth/abortion option quotas between the two nations and how dramatically opposite these run from countries such as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.

Switzerland posts an astounding low rate of only 7 pregnancies per 1000 teens, only 15% of the US rate, while the Netherlands, Germany and Italy run second lowest with 12 and 13 pregnancies per 1000.

Why is it these countries have relatively rare incidence of teenage pregnancy? What can we do to markedly change that?

Reality TV & Reality: Is It Impacting Teen Pregnancy?

MTV’s 16 and Pregnant is beginning its fifth season on April 14th. Even more than the season opening trailer, we think this clip shows how poignant the show details incidents along the way:

16 and Pregnant Season 5 Preview

With the release of the final 2012 birth data at the end of 2013, the trend in lower fertility in the US was again well-documented. But the overall decrease was fully lead by the age group 15-29. All age categories 30+ were up in birth rates. So the message is that women are waiting longer – seemingly planning their pregnancies. Teens pregnancy rates remain high, but plummeting, as do the rates for young women aged 20-24.

All this sounds like great news though this positive trend is generating stories like Americans are having dogs instead of babies. We don’t get it. Either folks complain about teen pregnancy or now that the fertility rate has dropped – which is statistically of course the short-term result when one category within the overall numbers deviates, even if that deviation signifies a positive social trend in society.

But another thought occurs.

MTV describes their show as
“an hour-long documentary series focusing on the controversial subject of teen pregnancy. Each episode follows a 5-7 month period in the life of a teenager as she navigates the bumpy terrain of adolescence, growing pains, rebellion, and coming of age; all while dealing with being pregnant. Each story offers a unique look into the wide variety of challenges pregnant teens face: marriage, adoption, religion, gossip, finances, rumors among the community, graduating high school, getting (or losing) a job. Faced with incredibly adult decisions, these girls are forced to sacrifice their teenage years and their high school experiences.”

And anyone who has watched will agree, there are no hidden punch lines. It is, what it is – real reality TV.

Can the impact on teen pregnancy rates stem also from this show?

“More teens are using more contraceptives”
32% fewer abortions in 2009 than in 1990.
The rate of teen abortions in 2009 was less than one-half the rate it was in 1990.

These are really great headlines for a change!

So the title of the article really should read
“Women Now Planning Their Families”  or “Less Unintended Pregnancies Among Women”

Women are being empowered to take charge of their lives and plan their families through the use of contraception, including for teens, simply waiting longer before becoming sexually active.
More such highlights, please!

Read the CNN interview here