Health Department

Teen Pregnancy Prevention

The Independence Health Department completed a Community Health Assessment in 2011 and Teen Pregnancy Prevention was determined to be a community priority. Since then the Health Department has worked to gain partners from across the area who share the common goal of reducing teen pregnancies.

Along with our partners, our mission is to empower and equip the people of Independence to make healthy choices by providing education, creating awareness, and fostering open communication in order to reduce teen pregnancies and build strong healthy families in the community.

The Independence Health Department aims to make Independence a community of educated individuals and families who strive to promote healthy behaviors in the youth of Independence, Missouri.

Contact Information

Shawnna Jackson, MSN, RN, APHN-BC
Phone: 325-7188


  • Independence has higher birth rates in teens than Missouri as a state and all of Eastern Jackson County.
  • Teen pregnancy prevention was deemed one of the highest priorities among Independence residents, according to the 2011 Community Health Assessment.
  • Teen Pregnancy rates for unmarried mothers in Independence are also on the rise.

Health and Social Consequences

Teen pregnancy and childbearing bring substantial social and economic costs through immediate and long-term impacts on teen parents and their children.

  • Teen pregnancy accounts for nearly $11 billion per year in costs to U.S. taxpayers for increased health care and foster care, increased incarceration rates among children of teen parents, and lost tax revenue because of lower educational attainment and income among teen mothers.
  • Pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school drop out rates among girls. Only 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, versus approximately 90% of women who had not given birth during adolescence.
  • The children of teenage mothers are more likely to have lower school achievement and drop out of high school, have more health problems, be incarcerated at some time during adolescence, give birth as a teenager, and face unemployment as a young adult.

* Info from

teen pregnancy

Teen Pregnancy Stats and Facts

  • Independence has higher birth rates in teens than Missouri as a state and all of Eastern Jackson County.
  • The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rates of any industrial nation.
  • 1 in 3 teens will become pregnant before age 20.
  • Teen mothers are at an increased risk for adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes.
  • 43,000 babies born to teen mothers have a low-birth weight.
  • $11 BILLION are spent yearly related to teen pregnancy in the United States.
  • Daughters of teen moms are 3 times more likely to become a teen mom themselves.
  • Only 30% of teen moms earn their high school diploma.
  • Parenthood is the leading reason teen girls drop out of school.
  • Nearly one-fourth of teen mothers have a second child within 24 months of their first birth.
  • 8 out of 10 fathers don't marry the mother of their child and these absent fathers pay less than $800 annually for child support.

* Info from Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and

Risk Factors for Teen Pregnancy

  • Poverty
  • Limited maternal educational achievement
  • Having a mother who gave birth before the age of 20
  • Living in a home with frequent family conflict
  • Being from a single-parent home
  • Early sexual activity
  • Early use of drugs and alcohol
  • Low self-esteem

* Info from

Protective Factors Against Teen Pregnancy

  • Parental support and healthy family dynamics
  • Open communication with parents and/or adults about contraception and abstinence
  • Accurate knowledge of sexual health, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, the importance of abstinence, and pregnancy

* Info from

Impacts of Teen Pregnancy

  • Parenthood is the leading reason teen girls drop out of school and less than half of teen mothers ever graduate from high school.
  • Fewer than 2% of teen moms earn a college degree by the age of 30.
  • 8 out of 10 teen dads don't marry the mother of their child and these absent fathers pay less than $800 annually for child support.
  • Children who are born to teen mothers have a higher risk for low birth weight and infant mortality, often have less emotional support and cognitive stimulation, and have a higher rate of behavioral problems and chronic medical conditions.
  • Teen mothers are nearly twice as likely to forgo prenatal care in the first trimester compared to older mothers.

For more information on the adverse effects of teen pregnancy please visit these websites:

Protect Yourself from Teen Pregnancy

Don't Let these Common Myths about Pregnancy Fool You

You can't believe everything you hear. Here are some of the most common myths about pregnancy that are actually FALSE:

  • You can't get pregnant the first time you have sex.
  • Your period prevents pregnancy.
  • Having sex in water prevents you from getting pregnant.
  • Doing jumping jacks after sex can prevent pregnancy.
  • The pill becomes completely effective the first day you start taking it.

Bust more common myths about pregnancy by visiting these websites:

Teens consistently say that parents—not peers, not partners, not popular culture—most influence their decisions about relationships and sex.

Tips for Talking to Youth about Healthy Sexuality and Pregnancy Prevention

  • Keep an open dialogue and make sure your child knows they are able to ask you questions.
  • Make sure you know your own values and feelings on topics including: sex, contraception, reproductive rights, etc. before having a discussion with your child.
  • Remember that it is not hypocritical to talk about both abstinence and contraception. Giving your child several options allows them to think critically about the situation.
  • Continually having small conversations as topics arise is better than having one huge discussion and then dropping the topic. It is important for teens to know that they can always come to you for advice and help when things come up.
  • Car rides are a perfect opportunity to talk with youth because you are both partially distracted by the road and no one is able to walk away from the conversation. This can help alleviate some of the uneasiness that arises with conversations about sex.

For more tips for talking with youth please visit these websites:

Importance of Talking with Teens

As a parent, you have a stronger impact on whether or not your teenager makes healthy decisions than you may think. Research shows that teens who have open conversations with their parents about sex, relationships, birth control and pregnancy:

  • Begin to have sex at a later age
  • Use condoms and birth control more often if they do have sex
  • Have better communication with romantic partners
  • Have sex less often

* Info from CDC.

Information on Birth Control

  • Visit the Stay Teen Birth Control Finder here.
  • Evaluate the Effectiveness of Family Planning Methods here.
  • See What a Teen Friendly Reproductive Visit Should Look Like here.
  • Find a Family Planning Clinic Near You here.

Information on STDs and STIs:

  • Learn the Basics of STDs and STIs here.
  • Get Info About the Most Common STDs here.
  • Find an STD/HIV Testing Location here.

Information on the Effects of Teen Pregnancy:

  • Look at the Adverse Effects of Teen Pregnancy here.
  • Read Articles About the Effects of Teen Pregnancy on Education, Welfare, and Economic Wellbeing here.
  • Quick Tips about Teen Pregnancy here.

Resources for Parents

Information on Talking with Youth:

  • Quick Tips for Talking with Youth here.
  • Find Info on How to Start a Dialogue with Youth here.
  • Get Tips about How and when to Talk to Teens about Sexuality here.
  • A Video on When, How, and Why to Talk to Teens about Sex here.

Information on Medically Accurate Sexual Health Education (MASHE):

  • Info on MASHE for Missouri here.
  • Learn about the Critical Role Schools have in HIV and STD Prevention here.
  • See Scientific Evidence of the Effectiveness of HIV and STD Prevention Programs for Youth here.