Teen Pregnancy: Facts and Prevention
To help prevent teen pregnancy, it is essential to educate teens on sex and birth control methods. Sex education is important for both girls and boys, and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy has effectively implemented programs that promote healthy decision-making among the teen population. These decisions include delaying sexual activity, reducing the number of partners an individual has, and increasing the use of contraceptives and condoms.
Q: If your 15-year-old daughter wanted a prescription for birth control pills, would you give her your permission?
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ACOG recommends that girls begin visiting an ob-gyn between the ages of 13-15. This increases the chance that she will have had her first visit before becoming sexually active. Ob-gyns are well equipped to offer accurate information about sex, pregnancy, and STDs. They can discuss pregnancy prevention, such as types of birth control methods, as well as educate teens on the importance of safe sex practices. Teens are often too embarrassed to ask certain questions, and ob-gyns can address the subject in a thorough and professional manner.
Although doctors are a good resource for information on sex, parents play a major role as well. Teens are less likely to become sexually active if they feel their parents disapprove of it. The National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health found that the more connected teens feel to their parents, the less likely they are to begin having sex at an early age. Research has shown that positive communication between parents and their children helps young people to establish values and make healthy decisions. And, according to the Advocates for Youth, teens who receive accurate information about sex from their parents are more likely to delay becoming sexually active, and to use contraceptives when they do.