Updated: May 31, 2022
Greetings! It’s May, can you believe it? May is really when Spring kicks in for me. It’s a month full of festivals, 70-degree weather and it’s also National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. The National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (or NTPPM) is recognized every May. This May we want to recognize the historic decline in the United States teen birth rate and highlight the importance of helping these young people reach their full potential. As a former teen mom, this is music to my ears. Despite the progress made, we still see some trends worthy of examination at multiple intersections.
Race and ethnicity are two avenues that immediately come to mind for me.
Other intersections include vulnerable populations such as homeless youth, foster children, or those involved in the juvenile justice system when compared to the general population.
Recognizing NTTPM does more than lift up the cause of preventing teen pregnancy. It is the lynchpin for those who find themselves experiencing teen pregnancy as well as those who are allies for them. This points to both the collective responsibility and benefit of ensuring positive outcomes for teen parents. The purpose of the national holiday is to strongly state that several teens still use birth control by accident. The National Day Challenge is designed to help teens figure out that making active choices to prevent pregnancy is part of being responsible for their futures.
Connecting teens with services and opportunities that help them reach their full potential and help prevent teen pregnancy. This means engaging young people in their communities, schools, organizations, and families in productive and constructive ways. Caring adults can work with community partners to engage these new parents in activities that use and build on their strengths, furthering their ability to care for their families.
That's why we advocate the importance of continuing to build the capacity in our local communities to serve at-risk youth so we can continue to reduce America's teen delivery rate across the population. This means connecting youth with services and opportunities and developing programs that help them gain the knowledge and skills they need to become healthy, productive adults.
Although teen pregnancy in the United States has dropped dramatically over the last two decades, the teen birth rate is still higher than in other developed countries like the United Kingdom and Canada. Teen pregnancy statistics show that almost 3 in 10 girls will get pregnant at least once before the age of 20.
For this reason, May has been declared National Youth Prevention Month by the Federal Government.
Recognizing that information is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against teen pregnancy, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and Unplanned Pregnancy is focused on encouraging young people to think carefully about decisions that could lead to pregnancy.
How Does NTPPM Help?
The National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month provides parents and allies a chance to aid teens to consider their future plans, how having children will affect those, and ensure there are measures in place to empower teens to meet those goals.
Parents can discuss with their children what is expected of them and aid them to consider how to communicate with their partners, use protection, and resist peer pressure.
Parents must teach young people the essentials of consent. For instance, it must be mutual, verbal, conscious & enthusiastic. They can change their consent at any time. No one should be ridiculed, judged, or harassed for their personal limitations.
It is important to talk to teens about preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy. The ideal way for sexually active teens to avoid pregnancy and STDs is to always use effective contraception and condoms.
It also is an avenue to evaluate how the teen parents in our community are served. Having been through the struggles of being a teen mom, I understand the pressure, the stigmas, and the pitfalls encountered. While I am proud to say that I have come out on the other side stronger; achieving success after the setbacks the lessons I have learned were hard. It was never lost on me that some of these trials and obstacles could have been avoided.
Nevertheless, we don’t look back. If you (or someone you know) finds themselves a teen parent know that there is Life After Detour. Despite the detours and in the face of statistics I am grateful to God that I am where I am. This is why I have a passion for helping other women and teens maneuver through and come out the other side with hope, confidence, and a desire to design the life you deserve.
Reach out to me via my website at https://www.deannajspeaks.com and let’s put you on the path to having the future you desire.
Deanna J. Speaks
National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. Office of Population Affairs. https://opa.hhs.gov/NTPPM
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. National Prevention Information Network. https://npin.cdc.gov/pages/national-teen-pregnancy-prevention-month