Teens having multiple pregnancies on the rise

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Health officials call new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shocking. In 2010, more than 365,000 girls gave birth between ages 15 and 19. Of those births, almost 20 percent already had one child.

Interestingly, just months ago numbers showed teen birth rates actually declining. Health experts say the mixed news shows teen pregnancy is still an issue.

In fact, local nurses and outreach services say they see teen moms with more than one child every day, and you might find the reasons why surprising.

While the CDC pointed to unreliable birth control methods, people in the Heartland say that's only part of the issue.

Nurses like Amy Smith say they see steady numbers of teen moms at the Cape County Public Health Center. An issue that now almost seems too common.

"It's something that's more accepted now," said Smith. "Honestly a lot that I see, I think of myself at that age and I would have been devastated. It seems that they accept it quite well."

She says it's not it's not unusual for pregnant teenagers they see to be expecting their second or third child.

"We do educate them and explain that after they have a child they are more prone to get pregnant again," said Smith.

"It can be a touchy subject to address," said Sandy Gibbons, who works with the Teen Pregnancy and Responsibility Network. She says most schools now only talk about sex education and pregnancy in health classes, and kids may not be hearing about all the consequences.

"It's not just about teen pregnancy, but we have seen a large rise in STDs," said Gibbons.

TPRN works to bring speakers to schools to stress education and encourage teens to find other ways to show emotions besides sex.

Speakers include people who have experienced teen pregnancy, and AIDS survivors. Gibbons says the feedback from students is positive.

"The kids write down they are so happy that someone comes and talks to them and give them the information," said Gibbons. "The public needs to think about the injustice that they are doing by not talking to their kids," she said.

Carol Berens Works with Birthright and says many clients start as teenagers.

"For a lot of the young ladies, what they are looking for is love," said Berens. "They come in and they are a bag of nerves. We do have them as young as 12, not very often.

They offer resources and work to make the best of any situation. When pregnancy tests out to be negative, Berens offers this advice: "We do tell them, you know when you came in here how scared you were? Next time you find yourself in that situation remember how you felt when you came in here.

Of course, experts encourage parents to talk to their kids.

Meanwhile schools say issue of birth control can be a touchy one. But, local districts told Heartland News they work to do all they can to give nurses tools and resources to help pregnant students.

Meanwhile in Cape Girardeau, there are many resources available including Birthright and the health center, that can help moms get connected with help.

To contact Birthright call: 573-335-0750

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