Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Preventing Teen Pregnancy

We can all celebrate recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that teen birth rates in the U.S. are down and have been declining for the past 20 years. Good news indeed, but hold the applause, the CDC also points out that the teen birth rate in the U.S. remains nine times higher than in other developed countries. Furthermore, while the number of pregnancies may have declined, the number of teens who are having a second child, or third, before they are 20-years-old is on the rise. This is called a repeat birth. The data show that one out of five teen moms have repeat births. According to the CDC, every day in the U.S., 183 "repeat" teen births occur with the majority of these (86 percent) being second births and 13 percent being a third child. Teen pregnancy and repeat births among adolescents are an important public health issue because they are closely linked to a number of negative social and health outcomes including, poverty and income, child well-being, responsible parenthood, health issues, education, child welfare, and others. Preventing unplanned pregnancies is considered a Colorado and Jefferson County winnable battle. 

Jefferson County Public Health’s Family Planning Program has been reaching out to teens and their parents with reproductive health education and services since the 1970’s. Different birth control methods, the importance of spacing pregnancies, how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and abstinence education are all topics that one of the JCPH family planning nurses can help with. Parents and teens are encouraged to call our clinic at 303-232-6301 with any questions about our family planning services or to make an appointment. As the month of May is Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month, JCPH would like to remind all of its residents that the best way to prevent teen pregnancy is through education. For more information, please visit our website or call 303-232-6301. Also, check out our “Teen Health Matters” educational display in several county libraries and the Courts and Administration Building.

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