LGBT teens at higher risk for pregnancy

May 26, 2015

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adolescents who are sexually active are at higher risk for unplanned pregnancies than their heterosexual peers.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adolescents who are sexually active are at higher risk for unplanned pregnancies than their heterosexual peers.

More: Transgender kids not confused on gender identity

A study of high school students in New York City looked at data from 2005, 2007, and 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys for 10,000 ethnically and racially diverse teenagers who reported being sexually active and identified students as a sexual minority who reported themselves to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or having sex with both male and female partners.

Researchers found that sexual-minority students who were sexually active were twice as likely to become pregnant or get someone pregnant as heterosexual students or those with only opposite-gender partners, and attributed the higher risk for pregnancy among LGBT girls to early initiation of sexual behavior and having multiple partners. They note that other factors contribute to the higher odds of pregnancy among LGBT adolescents, including stigma, discrimination, lack of support services, and fewer connections to family and school.

The study points out that LGBT teenagers are not receiving the information on reproductive healthcare or services that they need.

NEXT: What do researchers suggest?

 

To address the problem, the researchers suggest, healthcare providers should be better trained to meet the needs of LGBT patients in their practice. In addition, public health programs need to target teenaged pregnancy-prevention programs to LGBT adolescents, and schools must provide comprehensive sex education that gives all students the knowledge to make wise decisions about sexual health and pregnancy prevention. Finally, parents need to support their children and ensure that they have access to reproductive healthcare.

Recommended: LARC use by teen girls increasing but still low

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have issued recommendations for the use of contraception methods for pregnancy prevention in sexually active adolescents.