The condom is still the most used form of contraceptive amongst teens – used by 66% of sexually active females and 71% of males – and the pill is the second most common, however the more risky method of rhythm birth control is becoming increasingly popular in sexually active teenagers between the ages of 15 – 19 (thanks to the iPhone app?). A recent government survey found that there is an increasing number of teenage girls in the U.S who say they rely on the rhythm method of birth control. The survey also reveals why teen pregnancy rates are no longer dropping. Young adult attitudes since 2002 have not changed much concerning pregnancy and birth control, but there are some notable differences in the survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rhythm birth control is essentially a way of tracking the period and noting days of ovulation and high conception risk. The idea is not to engage in sexual activity on days of ovulation. However this method is only 25% reliable as ovulation does not always occur according to a set schedule. About 17 of sexually experienced girls say they have used the rhythm method compared to the 6% back in 2002. Although they may have also used another form of birth control, it is still a concern considering that a sexually active teen who does not use contraceptives has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within 12 months.
The survey was based on interviews with 2,800 teens 15 – 19 years old. About 42% of unmarried teens had had sex at least once in their lifetime, and of those teens, 98% reported using a method of birth control. Although these findings were the same as a survey in 2002, they do not explain why teen birth rate rose in 2005 – 2007. The only possible reason must be because of the increase in the use of rhythm method birth control, and a change in teen’s attitudes towards teen pregnancy. About 64% of teenage boys believe its okay for an unmarried girl to have a baby. This shows an 50% increase from the statistic in 2002. 70% of girls agreed that it is okay for an unmarried girl to get pregnant compared to the 65% who agreed in 2002.
One possible reason for the more liberal approach to sex and pregnancy amongst teens is that the survey was conducted in the year of several publicized pro- pregnancy incidents including Jaimie Lynn spears’ pregnancy, Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol’s pregnancy, and the release of the movie “Juno”, where a teen accidentally becomes pregnant.
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