May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. It’s a fact that many women in our culture today face an unexpected pregnancy in their teen years. There are many ways to try and prevent pregnancy through the use of birth control methods (including barrier methods). However, preventing pregnancy is more than just finding the right birth control method so we wanted take this opportunity to talk about that.
We have found that many women share they have not been educated about how the female reproductive system works. Knowing this information is the first step in preventing pregnancy! As we have opportunity to help them understand this important function of their bodies, they feel grateful and empowered. They are sometimes shocked to learn there is only really a couple of days each month in which a woman can even get pregnant! If you want to learn more about your monthly cycle, check out our blog Know Your Cycle.
Another important fact in preventing teen pregnancy is to understand that it is okay NOT to have sex. Many of the teens we see share that they feel sex is just expected in their dating relationships – “It’s just what you are supposed to do,” they say. Some don’t even want to have sex and they may feel something is wrong with them for NOT wanting to have sex. They are taught the mechanics of having sex and preventing pregnancy (i.e. using birth control and barrier methods) without understanding the emotional impact of sex which can cause them to feel confused and insecure about their sexuality. They are not always encouraged by our culture, educators or peers to say no to sex. It’s as if not wanting to have sex or even waiting to have sex isn’t an option. But the fact remains – waiting to have sex IS an option and it is okay to NOT have sex right now or to want to WAIT to have sex. After all, not having sex is the only 100% certain way of not getting an STD or STI and the ONLY sure way of not getting pregnant!
Knowing about birth control, how your reproductive system works, and knowing it’s okay to say no to sex is certainly important in preventing teen pregnancy. However, preventing teen pregnancy also starts with the knowledge and understanding of the goals and dreams you have for your future and doing everything in your power to achieve those goals so that when you ARE ready to be a parent, you will be better equipped to care for and support your child.