MTV's hit documentary series "16 and Pregnant" will return on March 27 at 10 p.m. ET with 12 new episodes telling the stories of 12 new girls and their struggles to deal with unexpected pregnancies. The series, which gives viewers an honest, intimate look at the complicated lives of teens facing parenthood during high school, will kick off season four with two back-to-back episodes.
The difficult choices and dramatic ups and downs of being a teen parent will be chronicled through the stories of multiple pregnant teens, including one who has to determine if adoption is the right choice for her, because she fears her boyfriend will continue to be unreliable.
Another young woman struggles with her decision to keep her baby while her sister deals with the fact that she chose not to continue her pregnancy. Viewers will also meet a girl whose dream of going to college is suddenly halted after she becomes a teen mom, another young woman who fights to raise her baby while dealing with a drug-addicted parent and one who has to struggle with her mother's disapproval of her baby's father.
From giving up on their dreams of modeling careers to carrying on after the death of a fiancé, each girl's journey is unique, but they're all dealing with the dramatic challenges that make being a teen mom so difficult. Through the tears, joys, and fears, they're all doing their best to make their lives and those of their children the best possible.
And they're not alone. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, more than 700,000 teenage girls in the U.S. become pregnant each year, and one out of every 10 children in the U.S. is born to a teenage mother. The vast majority of these pregnancies are unintended.
"16 and Pregnant" has been cited by experts as having an impact on the recent decline of teen birth rate, and a study in 2010 by the National Campaign found that 82 percent of teens who have watched the series think the show helps teens better understand the challenges of teen pregnancy and parenthood and how to avoid it.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) recently announced that the U.S. teen birth rate declined 9 percent in 2010 and is now at the lowest level ever reported. Experts from the National Campaign cite the "Teen Mom" franchise as one of the key factors contributing to this steep decline.
The network has also given the green light to "Teen Mom 3," which will document the challenges of four new teens who are struggling to navigate parenthood. Details on "Teen Mom 3" will be announced at a later time, but the girls featured on the show typically are introduced to viewers from the "16" franchise.
Viewers can find more information about sexual health issues affecting young people, including unintended pregnancy, at the It's Your (Sex) Life website, a public information resource developed by MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation.