May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention month

By: 
Central Montana Family Planning

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, when people focus on the need to reduce teen pregnancy in our communities. If parents, youth, schools, businesses, faith leaders and health care providers join together to address teen pregnancy, we can make a difference.

Each day in Montana, approximately three teens give birth. Teen childbearing has serious consequences on parents, children and communities. Parenthood is the leading reason why teen girls drop out of school. Only 40 percent of teen mothers graduate from high school, and fewer than 2 percent earn a college degree by age 30.

Young women who become pregnant and give birth often experience serious health effects, as do their children. Compared to older parents, teens are more likely to have late or no prenatal care, babies born too small or too soon, and babies who die within the first year of life.

Teen childbearing also has economic costs. In Montana, the cost to taxpayers associated with teen parenthood is estimated to be $18 million. The costs of childbearing are greatest for younger teens. The average annual cost associated with a child born to a mother 17 years of age or younger is $3,285.

Montana youth are at risk for teen pregnancy. The YRBS shows that almost half (44 percent) of all Montana high school students have had sex. Among twelfth graders, 60.8 percent had had sexual intercourse. Statewide, 32.3 percent of students had sexual intercourse with at least one person during the three months before the survey. Among those students who had sexual intercourse during the past three months, 19.7 percent had drunk alcohol or used drugs before their last sexual intercourse.

The good news is that unintended teen pregnancy is 100 percent preventable. Take action today by promoting open and honest discussions about teen sexuality and pregnancy prevention. Early and comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention strategies remain the best approach and are exceedingly more cost effective than the choices available once pregnancy occurs. Encourage teens to delay sex, and to use contraception if they choose to have sex. Get involved by contacting Central Montana Family Planning.

 

Central Montana Family Planning provides reproductive healthcare and education to all genders and is located in Lewistown. For more information, visit http://www.cmtfp.org.

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