STUDY: 1 in 6 teen moms simply believed they couldn’t get pregnant

The CDC has recently released a report based on a survey of thousands of young teenage mothers who had unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. While the pregnancy rate among teenagers is falling we still have the highest rate among all developed countries. Some of the findings in this report highlight probable reasons why.

This particular research is important because it’s the first major survey to focus on teens who didn’t want to get pregnant but did.

One of the questions posed to teen mothers in this survey that was conducted from 2004-2008 was:

Can having unprotected sex increase a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant?

For most of us the answer to that question would seem obvious but of the nearly 5,000 moms polled, 1 in 6 stated that they simply believed they couldn’t get pregnant. Here’s how those numbers shake down.

Half of those surveyed stated that they were not using any form of birth control when they got pregnant. Of this half, 31% stated that they did not believe they could get pregnant at the time. According to the CDC these findings make it apparent that:

“To decrease teen birth rates, teens need factual information about the conditions under which pregnancy can occur, along with public health efforts aimed at reducing or delaying teens’ sexual activities.”

Bill Albert, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy was more succinct in his evaluation. “This report underscores how much misperception, ambivalence and magical thinking put teens at risk for unintended pregnancy.”

The recent soundtrack for MTV’s hit show Teen Mom is having its proceeds donated to the campaign and this group has been a huge supporter of Teen Mom, Teen Mom 2 and 16 & Pregnant. Albert has been quoted as saying of the MTV franchise:

“This might be the best teen pregnancy public service announcement ever made.”

Other explanations that were given for not using birth control included their partner’s unwillingness to use contraception, difficulty attaining birth control, side effects from birth control and the belief that their mate was sterile.

Is spite of the fact that many young mothers out there simply believed for whatever reason that they magically were incapable of getting pregnant Albert is still encouraged by the declining overall birth rate among teenagers. He said, “It would be a mistake to come away from the report saying, ‘They can’t figure this out?.’ Most of them are figuring it out.”


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  • Suzanne

    They thought: I do not want to get pregnant and believed that their eggs would get the message? Can people that are so stupid be trusted with a baby? Anyway, there are enough people who shouldn’t have had children and other people who should.

  • Lexxie

    Then 1 in 6 teen moms are morons.

    But seriously, I wonder how many of the ‘1’ were taught abstinence instead of sex ed…

    • ds

      I was thinking this earlier today, actually. How many of the “16 and Pregnant” stories are girls who were told to not have sex, or had parents who refused to talk with them, and look where it got them? Seems like the majority.

      • Lexxie

        The only thing abstinence teaching does is ignore the fact that teens will and ARE having sex. By not preparing them with knowledge about birth control and how to use and obtain it, they are failing their kids. Parents who stick their heads in the sand and say ‘not my kid’ end up with unwanted grandkids and/or kids on drugs.
        I don’t remember which 16 and Pregnant episode it was, just that it was in the second season, when a group of girls were sitting around the pregnant girls room discussing why and how she got pregnant, one girl said, “well there is nothing you can do to not get pregnant’, all the rest of the girls looked at her like she was STUPID.
        In this day in age, there is no excuse for not having any knowledge about pregnancy, teen parenting and pregnancy prevention. Especially with the internet and all the access to it. Even school library’s are connect, phone internet connect, friends, doctor…I could go on.

        Words fail me, because having a baby is one of the hardest things ever and if it’s not, then you’re not doing it right.

  • Me

    Total brain-dead morons. I’ve never met a girl that stupid before.

  • Caitlin

    Maybe they were using the “Rhythm method”? They thought that at the time of the month that they did conceive that they were not ovulating?

  • Emma

    I have a very severe case of endometriosis that required surgery july of 2010. At that time my doctor said that there would be little to no possibility of pregnancy without a fertility specialist because the disease was so severe. Little did I know that 4 months after that surgery/diagnosis I fell pregnant with my daughter. So yes, I was one of those that believed that they couldn’t get pregnant; but it wasn’t for reasons people think.

    • Diana

      The same thing happened to me with my second pregnancy. I had been told the chance I would ever get pregnant again was less than 1%. Granted, I was in my 20s but, still, I didn’t think I COULD get pregnant.

      Our circumstances however, are different. We were told by medical doctors that the chances of pregnancy were pretty much nil. These girls on the other hand, weren’t taught about pregnancy and contraception in most cases…and we’ve all heard the ridiculous things some teens think when it comes to pregnancy and prevention. I believe had they been taught about protection and it’s importance, they probably wouldn’t have become teen moms.

      Abstinence is great I suppose, but we have to realize that teens need to understand the other side of the spectrum, just in case. I understand parents not wanting there children to consider sex but, it’s a reality that cannot be ignored. Teens will have sex, whether their parents want them to or not. SO TEACH THEM ABOUT CONTRACEPTION, NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTS. Teach them!

    • Amie

      My husband (boyfriend at the time) had a large lump on his testacles. I won’t go into great detail, but the doctors said he had a very slim chance of producing offspring. We figured that using the “rhythm method” and with his “slim chances” we were safe. We weren’t, and our son was born.

      After I had my son and we got the green light to engage in sexual activity, my doctor told me that nursing would be just like birth control. Apparently it was not, just ask my twin two year olds.

      I know what you’re thinking, and YES we switched doctors after the second pregnancy. But we were a classic case of younganddumb, believing what we were told and not doing any research of our own.

  • rdnkkkgrl

    no grls that age think its cool to have sex they think if they were knocked up that theyll truely have someone to love and who loves them they think the babies daddy will automatically marry them and they can be 1 lil happy family when id say 85% of the guys end up running the other way and the mommies left to take care of the kid w/no money no education and sometimes homeloss and most all jobless and educationalless(did that make sense sorry if it didnt)i no bible believing kids whos always been taught to say no and theyve actually waited till they were married. I still believe in teaching them abstinance but most kids today aint gonna listen so somebody needs to teach them something umm sorry the pill isnt that effective i got pregnant w/2 outta 3 boys while i faithfully took my birth control its basically all in gods hands wether u do or dont get pregnant