By Lauren Mann of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
As shows like “Teen Mom 2” have depicted, having a child at a young age complicates all parts of a teenager’s life, and having more than one child only turns up the volume on the chaos. It also poses risks for the baby. Babies born from repeat pregnancies are often premature and/or underweight, putting them at a higher risk for medical problems. The good news is, according to a new CDC report, the number of repeat teen births has dropped from 25 percent in 1990 to 18 percent in 2010 — that’s a pretty steady decline but we’ve still got a ways to go. While this new report cites lack of awareness about these methods as one of the barriers to more young mothers using them, shows like “Teen Mom 2″ are doing their part to spread the word and educate other teens and young adults about all of the options available.
The decline tells us that most teen moms want to avoid another unplanned pregnancy, but many still aren’t taking advantage of the most effective methods. While the report says that 91 percent of teen moms are using some form of birth control after having a baby, only about 1 in 5 used the most effective types: LARCs (long-acting reversible contraception) like the IUD or implant. Once inserted by a doctor or healthcare provider, LARCs provide the most effective pregnancy prevention for up to 10 years without any action on the user’s part. Less than 1 percent of women using these methods get pregnant each year.
The girls on “Teen Mom 2″ know all about contraception, even if they don’t always follow their friends’ and family’s advice on the matter. Leah’s decision to remove her IUD was a conscious one, because she wanted to have another baby — even though she knows firsthand how difficult it is to raise multiple children. She understood the risks and was willing to take them, but it’s important for all teens to know the most effective methods of birth control so they can remain protected from those risks. If you want to learn more about LARCs or any of the other methods of contraception, check out Bedsider.org.
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