According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, one in three teenage girls in the United States is estimated to become pregnant at least once before the age of 20. Once on the decline, the Guttmacher Institute recently reported teen pregnancies are back on the rise and remain a hot button issue, thanks in part to reality television, movies, and pop culture. Here's a look at how teen pregnancy is portrayed today. What do you think: Is the spotlight on this issue a healthy dose of reality or an unrealistic glorification?
Juno is a movie that tells the story of an independent-minded teenager confronting an unplanned pregnancy with her long-time admirer and friend. As the reality of pregnancy sets in, she is thrust into adulthood. The film follows Juno as she considers her options, including abortion and adoption.
The Pregnancy Pact
Remember the group of 17-year-old teen girls in Gloucester, Massachusetts, that were pregnant at the same time? Was it a coincidence, a pact, or a welfare scandal? We may never know, but the issue that stole headlines is now a Lifetime Original Movie, The Pregnancy Pact.
16 and Pregnant
MTV's 16 and Pregnant documents the real lives of teenage girls as they head into the unfamiliar territory of pregnancy. Young moms-to-be deal with family, school, making decisions, and the scary and intimidating idea of labor and childbirth. Some episodes touch on the issues of adoption, abortion, and co-parenting with grandparents.
Teen Mom, the 16 and Pregnant spin off on MTV, follows the same teens into motherhood. It portrays the difficulties of being a mother and a teenager, relationship struggles, emotional issues, and other realities of life as a teen mom. This program attempts to reflect the day-to-day struggles every new mom deals with.
The Secret Life of an American Teenager
ABC Family's The Secret Life of an American Teenager is a drama focusing on a pregnant teenage girl and her relationships with her friends and family, and her life in high school. The show also discusses topics such as abstinence.
The Baby Borrowers
This NBC reality show that aired in 2009 put real-life couples 18-20 years old on the fast-track to adulthood. In three weeks, these couples were filmed as they ran a home, worked jobs, and raised children at all stages. The show highlighted the stress of these responsibilities on young lives.
Jamie Lynn Spears
Young celebrities are also becoming young mothers. Jamie Lynn Spears, star of the popular Nickelodeon show Zoey 101, became pregnant and a mother at the age of 16. She was featured on the cover of OK! magazine with her newborn.
The eldest daughter of 2008 vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, became a mother at the early age of 17. Bristol Palin now works with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and the Candie's Foundation as an advocate for abstinence, and she speaks out against teen pregnancy. Her role as a spokesperson has been controversial as many question whether Bristol has been glamorizing or discouraging teen pregnancy.
Preventing Teen Pregnancy
Do you feel these shows or celebrities in the spot light educate kids about sex and pregnancy or glorify it? The best way to prevent teen pregnancy is to talk to your child about the responsibilities and consequences of sex, covering topics including abstinence, safe sex, STDs, and pregnancy. If you know your teen is sexually active, educate her on making responsible decisions, practicing safe sex, and different forms birth control.