Teenage pregnancy and sexual health, information for parents in Dorset

Sexual Health & Teenage Pregnancy

Young people get messages about sex everyday - on TV, in magazines, from friends and on the internet and more and more boys and girls feel confused or under pressure to start having sex earlier.  Many young people believe that everyone is having sex at a young age but two thirds of young people are aged 16 or over the first time they have sex.

Boys and girls need to be able to avoid pressure to have sex before they are ready and think about the impact of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections on their lives.  Talking openly to your child about sex makes them more likely to delay first sex and gives them the confidence to talk about it with boyfriends or girlfriends and practice safer sex when the time comes. 

They may be confused about their sexuality and their feelings and worry that no-one will be interested in them, or that they aren’t interested in sex.  They may think or know that they are bisexual, lesbian or gay.  Homophobic bullying is very common, so your son or daughter may need help and support to cope with this.

Your teenager needs to know about contraception.  It is really important that they understand the importance of condoms and feel confident enough to insist they are used and comfortable enough to get them from a clinic or pharmacy themselves.

Risks:

•  Young people who start having sex earlier are more likely to become teenage parents
•  Having children at a young age can damage young people’s health, education and career prospects.  
•  Young people are more likely to have risky unprotected sex, or sex they regret when they are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
•  Boys and girls who have unprotected sex are vulnerable to HIV and AIDS but are more likely to get infections like Chlamydia which can cause infertility if not treated.
•  While young people can be good parents, research shows that children born to teenagers are more likely to live in poverty, have health and behavioural problems and become a teenage parent themselves.

Warning signs:

Some of these behaviours are normal, but several of the warning signs seen together may be an indication that your child is at risk. For help and advice contact one of the organisations listed below.

•  Staying out late at night or regular smoking, drinking and experimenting with drugs increases the risk of having sex early
•  Teenage boys and girls who have been in trouble with the police are twice as likely to become teenage parents
•  Dislike of school and poor attendance are strongly associated with teenage pregnancy
•  Having a significantly older boyfriend or girlfriend can lead to increased pressure to have sex early

Where to get help:

Dorset Contraception & Sexual Health Services (C&SH): Provides contraception, emergency contraception, free condoms, pregnancy testing, referrals for termination of pregnancy and smear tests. Free chlamydia screening is available for under 25s. Find your nearest clinic: call 0300 303 1948 www.keeplovesweet.co.uk

Sexual Health/GUM Services:
Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and HIV. Free condoms, hormonal emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, pregnancy counselling and abortion referral. Sexual counselling and therapy. To find out where your nearest clinic is call 0300 303 1948 www.keeplovesweet.co.uk

For further information:

Parentline Plus
A national charity providing free, 24 hour help/ support. Visit www.familylives.org.uk  or call 0808 800 22 22

Family Planning Association (fpa)For more information on talking to your child, Visit www.fpa.org.uk
 
 

Bullying & Cyber Safety

Truancy & Antisocial behaviour

Subtance Use and Smoking Alcohol
Sexual Health & Teenage Pregnancy Self Harm
Eating Disorders Obesity