Alcohol and Teen Pregnancy

Teen pregnancy can sometimes be a result of impaired judgement while under the influence of alcohol. Continued alcohol use during the course of the teen pregnancy may create dangerous and sometimes fatal health issues for both the teen mother and baby.

Not only can teen drinking and alcohol use potentially cause serious health issues and sometime fatal outcomes during the gestation period of a teen pregnancy, but it may also account for what got the teen into the sexual encounter in the first place. 

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy, more than a third of of sexually active adults age 15 to 24 have revealed the use of alcohol influenced them to do something sexual. 

While under the influence of alcohol, the teen can become impaired not thinking to use birth control properly or even at all during that sexual experience resulting in unwanted pregnancy. 

About 72 percent of teens in high school have consumed alcohol, According to the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).  SADD's statistics also revealed that 46 percent, almost half, of all teen students have had sexual intercourse. Prior to the teen sexual activity, 21.6 percent of these teens drank alcohol beforehand. Only 38 percent of teens used birth control or spermicide. 

Although teen pregnancy rates have steadily been declining since 2008,  unwanted teen pregnancy rates are still upwards of 750,000 each year, according to the Center for Disease Control. 

Continued use of alcohol throughout the pregnancy can result in severe and sometimes fatal outcomes for the baby including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

How Alcohol Affects Teen Pregnancy:

  • Possible miscarriage
  • Possible stillbirth
  • Child learning and developmental delays 
  • Child speech and hearing impairments
  • Abnormal facial features at birth
  • Damage to the infant's central nervous system
  • Behavioral problems for the child

Alcohol and Teen Pregnancy Prevention: 

  • Open communication between teens and parents is vital. Parents need to talk to their teens about the struggles with alcohol, drugs and pressures to have sex. It is important to help the teen understand that they are not alone and can always seek help from a parent or trusted adviser.
  • Although not all teens are striving for abstinence, it is important parents to explain to their teens that the only way to completely avoid pregnancy 100 percent is to abstain from sex altogether. 
  • Having knowledge of the different types of birth control is also critical for both parents and their children. Teens need to have access to information explaining the different types of birth control and  how to use it properly.
  • Understanding legal implications of underage drinking might also help put the illegal consumption of alcohol into perspective for teens. Parents and advisers need to ensure their teen understands the legal implications of drinking under the proper age limit, and that it can impair one's thinking in crucial moments like when being faced with a sexual decision. They also need to be aware impaired judgment can play a role in knowing how to properly use birth control when placed in that situation. 


Related Article: Parental Support of Pregnant Teens >>