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Contemporary Parenting Questions

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Last updated on 01/05/09

What should I do if I suspect my daughter is pregnant?

Even though the rates of teenage pregnancy have declined since the 1990’s, the United States continues to have higher rates of teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion than other industrialized nations. Teens ages 18 and 19 account for as much as 66 percent of U.S. teen births. Most teenage mothers come from socially and/or economically disadvantaged backgrounds and adolescent motherhood often compounds this disadvantage.

Pregnant teens are often clueless about the responsibilities of motherhood. It costs an estimated $11,000 to care for a baby for one year. Most teens do not have access to that kind of money and are not aware that caring for a child takes an extreme amount of energy and funds. If parents suspect that their child is at risk for becoming pregnant, they should make them aware of the responsibilities that teenage parents have. All teens should know that they are expected to receive a high school diploma or GED whether or not they decide to become pregnant. Teens should also be aware that both they and their unborn children face additional health risks, and they must refrain from activities such as smoking and drinking.

Teenage pregnancies can be prevented by open communication between parents and their teens. Talk to your teens about the repercussions of teenage pregnancy before it becomes a problem; save your teen’s childhood.

In the Jewish Community

Although teen pregnancies do occur in the Jewish community, the subject is taboo as premarital relationships are forbidden for religious Jews. Pregnant teens in the Jewish community often have both spiritual and emotional difficulties and desperately need the support of their friends and parents to help them through this difficult time. Although it may be difficult for parents to support and express their love for their teen who defied their wishes, it is in their best interests to do so. Pregnant teens learnt their lessons the hard way; they do not need parents or friends to tell them that what they did was wrong.

When Jewish parents find out that their teen is pregnant, they should ask a trusted Rabbi whether abortion is an option. Barring extenuating circumstances, parents should allow their teens to decide whether to keep the baby or give it up for adoption, as it is their child. Both the parents and teens will face criticism for whatever they do about the situation. It is important for families to stick together during this time and support each other, as that is the first step in mending trust and relationships.

Use the following links to educate yourself about teen pregnancy. Learn how to prevent teen pregnancies and what to do if your child is pregnant. Find out where you and your teen can go for help.

Frequently Asked Links

How common are teenage pregnancies?

How can watching television increase my daughter’s risk for becoming pregnant?

Why is it important to prevent teen pregnancies?

What can I do to help my children avoid teen pregnancy?

What can parents do to prevent teen pregnancy?

How can I talk to my teenager about intimate relationships? more

Do teenage boys plan on pregnancy?

What should teens know about teen pregnancies?

How would my teen know if she is pregnant?

What should I do if my teenage daughter is pregnant?

What are some of the pregnancy options for adolescents?

How can I help my teen with her pregnancy?

What should pregnant teens be aware of?

What are some of the health problems associated with teen pregnancies?

What are some of the consequences of teen pregnancies?

What are some of the unanticipated emotions my teen might have once her child is born?

Related Articles

Questions and Answers About Sex
Answering kids' questions about sex is a responsibility many parents dread. However, by answering these questions honestly, parents can help foster healthy feelings about sex.

STDs
In many ways teens today are growing up faster than ever. That is why it is important to talk to your child about sex, particularly sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

A Quarter of Teen Girls in the U.S. Have an STD
According to eye-opening new government findings, 1 in 4 teenage girls in the United States has a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Abstinence-Only Education Inadequate, Says Study
Abstinence-only education has little to no impact on whether teens have sex or how many sexual partners they have, according to a new study.

Resources

Parenting Resources for the Jewish Community

Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

Social Service Resources for the Jewish Community

Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

Mental Health Resources for the Jewish Community

Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

American Social Health Association
http://www.ashastd.org/
This nonprofit organization is dedicated to preventing sexually transmitted diseases and offers hotlines for prevention and control of STDs.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
http://www.aap.org
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
http://www.teenpregnancy.org/teen
This site provides teen pregnancy facts, resources, and prevention tips for parents and teens.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children - better known as the WIC Program - serves to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, & children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care.

Birthright International
http://www.birthright.org/htmpages/
Birthright International is an independent, non-profit group that provides resources and support for pregnant teens. It has local chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada. It is not affiliated with any religious or governmental organization.

Maternal and Child Health Bureau
http://www.mchb.hrsa.gov
This U.S. government agency is charged with promoting and improving the health of mothers and children.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America
http://www.plannedparenthood.org
Planned Parenthood offers information on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods, and other issues of sexual health.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
http://www.acog.org
This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.

Adoption.com
http://www.adoption.com
This site examines all aspects of adoption and the adoptive process.

Teenwire
http://www.teenwire.com
This site from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has information on relationships and sexual health for teens.

Sidelines National Support Network
http://www.sidelines.org
Sidelines is a network of support groups across the country for women and families experiencing complicated pregnancies.

MayoClinic.com
http://www.mayoclinic.com
Mayo Clinic Health Information's website offers health information, and self-improvement and disease management tools.

Rabbi Horowitz does not endorse any external sites or monitor or approve content on these sites. When considering information presented here, you should consult your experts to determine what is best for you. Our sole purpose is to help you access information that Rabbi Horowitz and others have made available on the internet.

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