Teenage pregnancy sure has been in the news a lot lately. First, teen pregnancy hit the big screen in the much talked about movie Juno ,which is the tale of a high school student who ends up in an unplanned pregnancy, realizes she isn’t ready to be a parent, and makes an adoption plan.
Teen pregnancy splashed the headlines again when Jamie Lynn Spears, sixteen year old star of the Nickelodeon show Zoey 101, announced the news of her own unplanned pregnancy. Interestingly, the ratings of her show have gone up (they doubled!) since the announcement.
Then teen pregnancy hit the evening news when students in Denver, Colorado asked for maternity leave (of about four weeks) that will give them time to heal and bond with their babies without being penalized for their absence from school.
With all the talk of teen pregnancy, comes the news (from the National Center for Health Statistics) that for the first time in fourteen years the rate of teens that have given birth has increased.
In light of that and the fact that about 750,000 girls under the age of 20 become pregnant each year, Seventeen Magazine partnered with The Candie’s Foundation to reach teenagers. They are sponsoring a video contest and released the results of a groundbreaking survey in the February 2008 issue (on news stands now.) The results of the survey features some surprising results:
- Nearly 50% of teen girls think it might be possible they’ll become pregnant in the next 5 years.
- 67% of teen girls have friends who are or became pregnant as teenagers.
So, are teens running out and getting pregnant just because role model Jamie Lynn Spears did or because Juno is a big hit in the theaters? No, probably not, but it certainly is making teen pregnancy less taboo. A positive aspect to all this talk about teen pregnancy is that it could create an opportunity for parents to discuss teen pregnancy and prevention with their adolescents.