By Paige Whipple of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
There was plenty of drama between Farrah and her mother on this week’s “Teen Mom OG.” But when Farrah was uninvited to the Hamptons white party — and said it was because of her involvement with “Teen Mom” — Debra had her daughter’s back.
“I think the work you have done on the show has changed the world,” she said. And Debra’s right!
The show’s entire cast has proclaimed that they want viewers to learn from their experiences — and that has certainly happened. Studies show that “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” have led to a dramatic acceleration in the decline in teen births. The show has motivated people to think, talk and learn about these issues, and to use birth control. In fact, teen birth rates are down 36% since we first met the “Teen Mom” girls in 2009.
In this episode alone, Amber and her cousin Krystal talked about Krystal’s current pregnancy, and Amber explained that she’s still on the depo shot because she’s not ready to have another child. That kind of honesty about birth control and being ready for parenthood has opened the door for many more real-life conversations on these topics.
But the Teen Moms have always been open about their birth control methods: Catelynn got a Mirena IUD after having Carly and then switched to the ParaGardIUD after having Nova. Incidentally, IUD use is up over the past decade — more than 10% of women who use birth control are using IUDs now. It’s probably safe to say that among young women especially, many first heard about the IUD on “Teen Mom.”
“Teen Mom” educates and informs millions of teenagers in other ways too. According to a survey by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 77% of teenagers who have seen the show say it helps teens better understand the challenges of pregnancy and parenting. And 75% of teens say that when a show or character they like deals with teen pregnancy it makes them think about their own risk and how to avoid it.
We owe the Teen Moms a big “thank you” for sharing their stories and contributing to the success story of historic declines in teen birth rates. So join us in saying, “Thanks, ladies!” And be sure to catch the next episode of “Teen Mom OG” Monday at 10/9c.