Missoula Measures - Teen Pregnancy
- Related Data
- Teen Girls and Older Partners
- Births vs. Abortions
- High Cost Infants
- Related Measures
- Related Websites
Why this topic?
The short- and long-term social and economic costs associated with teen pregnancy are high for the mother and, even more critically, for the child. Immature pregnant girls are often left on their own to make a host of challenging adult decisions — about carrying and keeping the baby, health care, education, and how to live and support themselves and their babies. While pregnant, these young women are less likely to access early prenatal care and are more likely to drink, smoke, and use other drugs, thus having a life-time negative impact on their children. Most teen parents are living in poverty when their children are born. Despite the best intentions of family and/or social services, most pregnant teens cannot overcome the challenges and obstacles to providing a stable, supportive atmosphere for their children during the critical first years.
How are we doing?
We’re doing better, but there are still some significant concerns. Some trend data include an increasing percentage of non-marital births and a slightly decreasing overall pregnancy rate. However, there is no measure of the specific portions of the pregnant teen population which warrant more help and attention.
Trends in Montana Teen Pregnancies and Their Outcomes: 1981-1995, MDPHHS 1997, Vital Statistics 1998-2000
Youth Sexual Behavior - Teens sexually active; teen condom use - Missoula Measures
According to BRFSS, about 10% of high school students report that, in their lifetime, they have been forced to have sex.
A series of studies in 1999 revealed that the age of partners, and the age differences between partners in particular, may affect the nature of relationships, which in turn may affect sexual behaviors. Female adolescents with an older partner are less likely to report using contraception at their first sexual intercourse as well as at their most recent sexual intercourse, and are more likely to become pregnant than female adolescents with a partner closer in age. Charting Parenthood by Child Trends
Teen births represent 9% of all live births in Montana. However, more than 1/4 of all "high cost" infants are born to teens. 2010 Montana Kids Count High cost infants, usually of low birth weight, are so called because of the extent of medical and social services required by the child well into maturity, and often for the child’s parent(s) as well.
- 2 in 10 Montana girls will become pregnant once before age 20
- 5 in 10 Montana Native American girls will become pregnant once before age 20
- 33% of all teens choose to terminate their pregnancies
- 12% of Native American teens choose to terminate their pregnancies
Montana Prevention Resource Center, 2000
Social impacts of teen parenting
The National Center for Fathering reports the following consequences for children who grow up fatherless, whose mother is a teen:
- Five times more likely to grow up in poverty
- Have a greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse
- Have an increased risk of physical and mental health problems
- Are twice as likely to drop out of high school
- Have a slightly elevated risk of becoming a chronic criminal offender
- Are 10 times more likely to become a juvenile criminal offender
- Are more likely to become teen parents themselves
The cost of unintended pregnancies
Very few pregnancies to women under age 20 are intended. In Montana in 2006, 53% of births resulting from unintended pregnancies were publicly funded, costing the state $33 million. Guttmacher Institute