Why do so many girls get pregnant when there is plenty of birth control information available?

27. October 2009


Some teens who become pregnant actually do so on purpose. Their reasons? To feel loved by someone. To escape from what they perceive to be a bad home situation. To trap a guy into marriage. To put a mark on the world. To do something meaningful. To become an adult. Unfortunately, most teens who plan their pregnancies have very unrealistic expectations about pregnancy and parenting, and they regret their decision later. With regard to unplanned pregnancies, there are many reasons. Some younger girls may not understand how one becomes pregnant or how to avoid pregnancy, or may believe local myths about pregnancy prevention. Occasionally, a girl gets pregnant before she ever has a period (a girl ovulates or releases an egg 1-3 weeks before her first period, and thus pregnancy is possible). Some teens have sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and either forget to use birth control or use it incorrectly. Some girls may be afraid to use a more reliable method of birth control because they are misinformed about risks. Others simply don’t like some of the side effects, like the possibility of weight gain. They don’t think about the possibiilty that they may gain 35 pounds if they get pregnant. Some feel that if they seek out contraception, they will be seen as “easy”. These girls believe that planning to have sex is bad, and that purchasing a birth control method is evidence of planning. Some simply think it can’t happen to them. Many teens who become pregnant have a history of sexual abuse, and feel like they have no control over what happens to them. Some are afraid that their parents will find out, or they fear their friends or relatives will see them walking into a family planning clinic. Finally, some girls use contraception, but do so incorrectly or inconsistently. And, unfortunately, a few become pregnant even when they use their birth control method perfectly. Remember, only abstinence works 100% of the time.

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