Teens and pregnancy

Dear Editor:I am writing in response to the letter by Lyanne Lares in the Dec 18, 2009 issue regarding the issue of the increasing amount of teen pregnancies at her high school. I have been an OB nurse for 31 years and I work in a clinic setting that has an excellent Teen Pregnancy Program and Substance Abuse in Pregnancy Program. Part of this program is a Teen Birth Control class for teens 13 to 17 years old that are pregnant. Our goal is to make the girls aware of what methods of birth control are available to them so that they can make an informed decision after they deliver. All of the points made by the author are valid: lack of parental guidance, lack of education and lack of responsibility. In a perfect world abstinence is the answer, but as we all know this world is far from perfect. Condoms are an excellent choice: protection from pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, inexpensive and easily obtained. They won't use them because their boyfriends "don't like the way they feel". These young girls get pregnant because the majority of them think that "withdrawal" is a form of birth control or because they want to be pregnant. In fact, the majority of them plan the pregnancy. After speaking to these girls it is obvious that they lack attention at home, they feel unloved and they feel a baby guarantees someone to love them. Society makes it too easy for teens to have babies. Half of them stop going to school and are on home study. There is no reason for them to stay home, they need to keep going to school and be responsible. If they don't have insurance there is MediCal to pay for the delivery and the infant's care after it is born. After the initial shock of their parents becoming aware of the pregnancy, they rally around them like it is the second coming. Two or three baby showers are given to honor the new mother and baby, everyone celebrates the baby's birth and the teen dad sticks around long enough to show his baby off to his friends. Then the attention fades and the the reality of raising this child is overwhelming for some. I see this scenario until it exhausts me and I really wish I had an answer. - Cynthia Engel, Downey

********** Published: January 22, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 40