Teens Having Sex Are Clueless

Sex education is needed for all teens

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Is your teenage daughter smart about protected sex? Maybe not: A government study reports that teen girls aren’t doing much to prevent pregnancy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at data on thousands of teenage moms who had teenage pregnancies and found that about one-half of these teens (50.1%) were not using any type of birth control at all when they got pregnant.

And about one-third (31.4%) of these women didn’t use birth control because they didn’t think they could get pregnant.

"Talk with your teen about contraceptives."

Although the rate of teen pregnancy is still at an all-time low, the U.S. still has a teen pregnancy rate that ranks as the highest of all developed countries, reports the CDC.

The study reports that 21% of the teens said they used contraception that is classified as "highly effective", which includes intrauterine devices, injectable birth control, oral contraceptives, hormonal patch, and vaginal rings.

Roughly 24% of pregnant moms said they used condoms, and about 5% of the moms said they used the “least effective” methods, including rhythm, diaphragm, cervical cap, and withdrawal.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from the 2004-2008 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), in which 5,000 teenage girls in 19 states answered questions about contraceptive use. All study participants were white, black and Hispanic teen girls between 15 and 19 years of age.

The teens who said they didn’t use contraception had a variety of reasons for non-use. According to the report, nearly one-quarter of the teens said that their partner did not want to use contraception, 13% reported having trouble getting birth control, while 8% of these teens said they thought their partners were sterile.

The report also says that black teens were less likely to use highly effective methods of birth control, compared with whites and Hispanics.

Unplanned teen pregnancy can be stressful for a teen girl, says Lauri DeVillez, executive director of Austin Pregnancy Resource Center (APRC), which provides prenatal care, life skills coaching and adoption assistance to pregnant women.

DeVillez says that the organization tries to teach young women the value of abstinence, at least until marriage. The center does not provide birth control. Instead, women requesting birth control are referred to a doctor.

Many pregnant moms at APRC report having used condoms and birth control, says DeVillez.

According to CDC officials, these forms of birth control are reliable. The problem is that teens usually fail to use the birth control correctly or consistently.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 20, 2012
Last Updated:
October 21, 2012