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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | May 22nd, 2016


    We know that the pregnancy was not planned –80% of pregnancy in teenagers is unplanned.

    We know that she is less likely to graduate from high school – Only 38 % of teenagers who become pregnant as a teenager will get a high school degree compared to 90 % of teens who do not become pregnant.

    Most likely she will get pregnant again while she is a teenager because we know that 1 in 4 teenagers will have another baby as a teenager and about 30 per cent will become pregnant within 18 months.

    Her children will become teen parents because her children are three times more likely to be teen parents.

    Her children will be less likely to be ready for school and will do poorly on math and reading tests.

    She will most likely be a single mother living in poverty.

    According to the CDC, in 2010, teen pregnancy and childbirth accounted for at least $ 9.4 billion in cost to U.S. taxpayers for increased health care and foster care, increased incarceration rates among children of teen parents, and lost tax revenues because of lower educational attainment and income among teen mother.

    May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month.  The good news is that teen birth rates have decreased in the United States; however when we compare ourselves with other industrialized countries like us, we have one of the highest. According to the CDC, non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic teen birth rates are still two times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic whites and American Indian/Alaska Native teen birth rates are one and half times higher than non-Hispanic white teen birth rates.

    When it comes to prevention, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has been in the forefront. They have asked teens from all over the country a fairly simple question: If you could give your parents or other adults advice about how to help you and your friends avoid pregnancy, what would it be? Below are the answers to the question.  For more details, please click here.

    1. Show us why teen pregnancy is a bad idea
    2. Talk to us honestly about sex, love, and relationships
    3. Telling us not to have sex is not enough
    4. Whether we’re having sex or not, we need to be prepared
    5. Pay attention to us before we get into trouble
    6. Sometimes, all it takes not to have sex is not to have the opportunity
    7. We really care what you think, even if we don’t always act like it
    8. Show us what good, responsible relationships look like
    9. Help us avoid unhealthy relationships
    10. We hate “The Talk” as much as you do – instead, start talking with us about sex and responsibility when we’re young, and keep the conversation going as we grow older

    If you have problems addressing any of these issues, the same website as a guide Ten Tips for Parents to Help Their Children Avoid Teen Pregnancy. They also have a Parent Guide.

    We do not have to be a parent of a teenager to make a difference. I know when I come in contact with a teenager, I always ask about school and their future goals. Taking an interest in a teenager can make a difference.

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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

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