Sunday, November 4, 2007

This presentation is part of : Adolescent Care Issues
Out from Under the Covers: Let's Talk about Pregnancy and Pregnancy Prevention
Jo Anne Weiss, PhD, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Port St. Lucie, FL, USA
Learning Objective #1: examine the historical, cultural, and social barriers that inhibit open communication abut pregnancy and pregnancy prevention with adolescents.
Learning Objective #2: discuss strategies for promoting open communication about pregnancy and pregnancy prevention with teens.

Teen pregnancy is a concern of leaders in many countries. Since the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate of all industrialized nations, preventing unwanted pregnancy in adolescents is a particular concern in the USA. While the teen pregnancy rate in the US dropped significantly in the last 20 years, those declines are becoming much less significant. In fact, in 2004 the actual number of births to teen mothers increased for the first time since 1990. These increases were most prevalent in Hispanic teens and in teens younger than 15. Nearly 1 million adolescents have unwanted pregnancies each year and nearly half of these pregnancies end in abortion. While teen pregnancy is a multifaceted problem, the lack of communication with teens about sexual issues could play a role. According to the National Survey of Family Growth, in 2002 25% of teens did not have any discussions with either a parent or guardian about how to say no to sex, or about using birth control or condoms. Why is it so difficult to discuss sexual issues including the risk of pregnancy and the use of condoms and contraception to adolescents? Even the terminology is vague, for example, the terms “family planning” and “birth control measures” are used when prescribing contraceptives rather than pregnancy prevention. In moments of intimacy, plans for family, controls for birth and contraception are probably not in the forefront of teens’ minds. Risk of pregnancy may be. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss barriers to open communication about sexual issues, particularly pregnancy and pregnancy prevention with adolescents, including historical, social and cultural factors that play a role. The second purpose is to discuss strategies to break down these barriers to promote open, honest communication with teens about important sexual issues.