By Lauren Mann of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
It's been six years since we first met Maci, Amber, Catelynn and Farrah -- aka the "Teen Mom OG" girls -- during the inaugural season of "16 and Pregnant." But it's not just the young women who have grown and changed: The groundbreaking MTV docu-series and its respective spinoff programs have played a tremendous part in helping to reduce the teen birth rate and raise awareness about the challenges that go along with being a young parent. Take a look at the top five ways teen motherhood has changed since 2009, and be sure to catch the premiere of "TMOG" on Monday at 10/9c.
A lot fewer girls are becoming teen moms.
Simply put, the teen birthrate has dropped: Teen births in the U.S. are down 30% since "16 and Pregnant" premiered in 2009. And it's still dropping -- though we have a long way to go. Before the MTV show and "Teen Mom" began, the rate had been dropping by about 2.5% per year since the early 1990s. But more recently it’s been dropping by about 7.5% per year. Despite all this, though, roughly one in four girls in the United States will get pregnant at least once before age 20, and the U.S. has far higher rates than any comparable country.
Teen pregnancy prevention efforts have received some serious money.AFP/ Saul Loeb
President Obama signed into law nearly $1 billion for teen pregnancy prevention efforts that focus on evidence-based, age-appropriate and medically accurate approaches. Wahoo!
The shows are gaining attention from experts for their role in the decline.
Whether showing a cautionary tale of what lies ahead with teen parenthood or making viewers think about their own choices, "the Teen Mom effect" is being studied by economists and researchers for the impact it has on social change.
There is increased conversation and more people looking for information on prevention.
Experts have noted that in the hours after a new episode of "16 and P” or "TM" airs, Google searches and Twitter mentions about birth control go up considerably.
The use of the most effective methods of contraception are up, and getting more buzz.
Way back when, in the very first "Teen Mom" episode featured above, Cate was the first of the girls to get an IUD -- a safe, easy and highly effective method of birth control which we’ve raved about before. Since then, more women are choosing IUDs and other low-maintenance, long-acting, reversible contraception methods, and doctors have recommended them as the best form of birth control for teens.