Written by Jennifer Coffaro, PA-C, advanced practice provider at UK Adolescent Medicine and the Young Parents Program. This post is part of a series written by Dr. Hatim Omar and his team in Adolescent Medicine related to the unique health concerns faced by teens and young adults.
Teen pregnancy rates have dropped to historic lows in the United States, but compared to other developed countries, our rates remain high. Regardless of why this is, teen pregnancy continues to be a public health concern.
Teen pregnancy rates are higher in minorities, particularly African-American and Hispanic populations. Low education levels and low household incomes are associated with increased risk of teenage pregnancies.
Young people born to teen parents are more likely to become teen parents themselves, and current teen mothers are at greater risk for repeat teen births. Young women in foster care are twice as likely to be a pregnant teen.
In Kentucky, nearly half of all high school students are sexually active. However, only about 40 percent of these students use hormonal birth control and only 40 percent use condoms.
Starting a conversation
Sexuality and sexual desire are normal parts of human development. Teens need to be provided with an environment where they are comfortable discussing their sexuality. Ideally, these conversations should happen before teens become sexually active.
It is important for parents and guardians to be willing to discuss abstinence and safe sexual practices with teens. Too often, teenagers look to their peers or the internet for advice, which can be inaccurate. Medical providers are also great resources for teens and parents who may be uncomfortable discussing sex.
How we can help
UK Adolescent Medicine provides contraceptive education and care for teenagers and their families. Our counselors are experts at communicating with adolescents and will work with you and your family to address any concerns you might have related to pregnancy or contraception.
We offer additional resources and information about numerous contraceptive methods that are safe and effective in reducing the risk of pregnancy.
We respect the privacy of teens and their families. You can be sure that all discussions and care are absolutely confidential.