Why is teenage pregnancy so common?

There are many different reasons why teenage pregnancy is increasingly common; the main reasons include:

  • Peer pressure: many young people feel that they are under pressure to have sexual relationships, even if they are not mentally and physically ready. People are having sexual intercourse much earlier than in previous generations and teenagers who do not have sexual relationships may be bullied or teased by their friends. Teenagers are also starting to enter relationships at an earlier age than in previous generations; it is common now for 15 and 16 year olds to have boyfriends and girlfriends, for example and sex becomes a part of these relationships much earlier as a result. Some teenagers may find themselves in the difficult situation of sleeping with somebody who refuses to use contraception; if this is the case, try to stand firm and say no.
  • Societal and cultural changes: everyone is familiar with the old adage ‘romance is dead’ and this is what older people frequently say about young people these days. In previous generations, couples spent a long time going out on dates (commonly known as ‘courting’) and getting to know each other before the relationship became physical; nowadays, couples tend to get together and move onto a physical relationship much quicker and sex is usually part and parcel of the relationship fairly early on.
  • Poor education: many teenagers admit that they believe common myths such as you can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex, you can’t get pregnant in certain sexual positions and you can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period, for example, so when they get pregnant it comes as a big shock. Many teenagers are also unaware of the widespread availability of contraception and many may be scared to go to their doctor or talk to their parents about contraception.
  • ‘It won’t happen to me’: recent documentaries have revealed that a large proportion of teenage girls assume that they won’t get pregnant when they have unprotected sex. It is important that sexual education classes and conversations with parents or relatives teach teenagers that it is possible for them to get pregnant if they choose to have unprotected sex.
  • Underage drinking: a large proportion of girls who fall pregnant blame alcohol; many girls say they would normally have protected sex but failed to do so on an occasion because they were drunk at the time and got carried away in the moment. Drinking affects your ability to make sound judgements and it is illegal under the age of 18; teenagers should be aware of the potential consequences of their actions and learn from their mistakes in order to avoid difficult situations further down the line.
  • Attitudes to contraception: it is important for teenagers to realise the importance of using contraception; with rates of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies on the rise, something is clearly going wrong. Contraception is now widely available and in many cases, condoms are available free of charge; yet a large proportion of people are still failing to use contraceptives. In some cases, young people may feel that it’s not ‘cool’ to use a condom; recent campaigns using high profile celebrities will hopefully help to turn this attitude around and encourage young people to have protected sex. Some girls also view the morning after pill as a means of contraception; this is an irresponsible attitude, which should not be encouraged. The emergency contraceptive pill should not be relied on as a regular contraceptive; there are plenty of other types of contraception which can be used instead.

Teenage Pregnancy:

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