New figures show ONE THIRD of teen moms failed to use birth control because they believed they could not get pregnant

New figures show ONE THIRD of teen moms failed to use birth control because they believed they could not get pregnant

A new government study suggests a startling amount of teenage girls are clueless about their chances of getting pregnant.

In a survey of thousands of teenage mothers who had unintended
pregnancies, about a third said they didn’t use birth control because
they didn’t believe they could get pregnant.

What were they thinking, exactly, isn’t clear. The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention survey didn’t ask teens to explain their
reasoning.

Growing up fast: One third of teen moms did not believe they could get pregnant, according to a new survey

Growing up fast: One third of teen moms did not believe they could get pregnant, according to a new survey

But other researchers have talked to teen moms who believed they
couldn’t get pregnant the first time they had sex, didn’t think they
could get pregnant at that time of the month or thought they were
sterile.

'This report underscores how much misperception, ambivalence and
magical thinking put teens at risk for unintended pregnancy,' said Bill
Albert, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based National Campaign to
Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Other studies have asked teens about their contraception use and
beliefs about pregnancy. But the CDC report released Thursday is the
first to focus on teens who didn’t want to get pregnant but did.

The researchers interviewed nearly 5,000 teenage girls in 19 states
who gave birth after unplanned pregnancies in 2004 through 2008. The
survey was done through mailed questionnaires with telephone follow-up.

About half of the girls in the survey said they were not using any
birth control when they got pregnant. That’s higher than surveys of
teens in general, which have found that fewer than 20 percent said they
didn’t use contraception the last time they had sex.

'I think what surprised us was the extent that they were not using
contraception,' said Lorrie Gavin, a CDC senior scientist who
co-authored the report.

'I think what surprised us was the extent that they were not using
contraception'

Some of the teen moms were asked what kind of birth control they
used: Nearly 20 percent said they used the pill or a birth control
patch. Another 24 percent said they used condoms.

CDC officials said they do not believe that the pill, condoms and
other forms of birth control were faulty. Instead, they think the teens
failed to use it correctly or consistently.

Only 13 percent said they didn’t use birth control because they had trouble getting it.

Another finding: Nearly a quarter of the teen moms said they did not
use contraception because their partner did not want them to. That
suggests that sex education must include not only information about
anatomy and birth control, but also about how to deal with situations in
which a girl feels pressured to do something she doesn’t want to, Gavin
said.

The findings are sobering, Albert said. But it’s important to
remember that the overall teen birth rate has been falling for some
time, and recently hit its lowest mark in about 70 years.

Albert said it would be a mistake to come away from the report
saying, 'They can’t figure this out' 'Most of them are figuring it
out,' he said.