Teenage pregnancy rates in the United States are astonishingly high. Many people are calling it a crisis, or even an epidemic. What is this all about, and what is the driving force behind our shamefully high amount of teenage pregnancies? Here are five startling things you need to know about teenage pregnancy in the United States:

Teenage pregnancy statistics. The United States is the not-so proud recipient of the “most teenage pregnancies in the entire world” award. That’s right: America has the highest teen pregnancy rate there is – twice as high as the teen pregnancy rate in Canada and England, and a whopping ten times higher than that of Switzerland!

It’s a cycle. Statistically speaking, teen mothers who give birth to girls are more than likely to see their daughters become teen mothers; at the same time, teen mothers who give birth to boys are highly likely to see their sons end up living life in a prison. This is a truly disturbing cycle, and one that will undoubtedly continue to have ongoing negative effects if we don’t do something to end it.

The importance of contraceptives. One of the reasons for our high teenage pregnancy rate is the fact that Americans seem to be so squeamish about sex education and contraception. The taboo we put on contraception, especially, has seriously detrimental effects. Studies show that 90 percent of all teenage girls who are sexually active and who don’t use contraceptives will become pregnant!

The media message. Six out of ten teenagers feel pressure to have sex, even though they are not sure they are ready. Much of this pressure comes from messages delivered through the media. Although we can’t blame everything on the media, it is undeniable that the media is a causal factor. Who can we blame? We are the people who give the media power, and who determine what is popular in the media; therefore, we can only blame ourselves . . . and it is up to us to induce change.

What it is costing us. In addition to costing our teenagers their youth, teenage pregnancy costs the government over nine billion dollars a year! Who pays this price? We, the taxpayers, do.

As you can see, the facts surrounding teenage pregnancy in the United States are disturbing, to say the least. Fortunately, teenage pregnancy rates have slowly decreased over the last several years, but we are still head and shoulders above the rest of the world. It is obvious that we need to change some things. Perhaps we need to look to our European neighbors for pointers.

About the Author: Ali Rycroft works for a women’s health clinic and sees teen girls with everything ranging from a yeast infection to a pregnancy on a daily basis. She often refers young girls to a candida specialist site to learn about common medical conditions but she sends her pregnant teens straight to counseling so they can begin preparing themselves for the road ahead.