Alcohol and Teen Pregnancy

Statistics show that there is a link between alcohol and teen pregnancy. Teens who use alcohol have a higher risk for being involved in a teen pregnancy.  This article has information on the correlation between alcohol and teen pregnancy.

Teens and their parents should know about the connections between alcohol use and teen pregnancy to help teens understand why they should not use alcohol or should get help for an alcohol problem. 

There is a strong connection between teen alcohol and teen pregnancy. Teens who drink alcohol are more likely to be sexually active and to have unprotected sex than teens who do not use alcohol. They also may start having sex at an earlier age and have more sexual partners. This increases the risk of teen pregnancy as well as other potential consequences of teen sexual activity such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), suffering emotional damage, being in an abusive relationship, and feeling regret or sadness over their choices.

There are several possible reasons for the connection between alcohol and teen pregnancy:

  • Teens who have risk factors for one dangerous behavior, like drinking, often have risk factors for other dangerous activities, like having unprotected sex
  • Alcohol use can lower a teen's inhibitions and make him or her more likely to have teen sex
  • Having sex while under the influence of alcohol reduces the chances that teens will use birth control, such as condoms, correctly

There is also a link between drinking, sexual activity, and depression. Teens who engage in drinking and sexual activity seem to be more likely to suffer from depression, and depression may even influence their decisions to be involved in risky behaviors.

Some statistics from The National  Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy highlight the connection between alcohol and teen pregnancy:

  • Teen girls who drink or smoke at a young age are 80 percent more likely to have sex at an early age than teen girls who do not, and teen boys are 40 percent more likely
  • More than a third of teens who are sexually active report that alcohol or drugs have been a factor in their sexual activities
  • About a quarter of sexually active teens used alcohol or drugs before their most recent sexual encounter

Alcohol and teen pregnancy is a serious health risk for teen girls, who are more likely then older women to suffer from a variety of dangerous health problems due to pregnant. In addition, teen pregnancy, especially among high school age, unmarried teens, often interferes with a teen's success in life and increases the risk for feelings of depression and isolation, dropping out of high school, and living in poverty later in life. Using alcohol while pregnant increases the risk for health problems during the pregnancy, such as contracting an infection through unprotected sex, and may cause permanent damage to the developing baby.

Teen pregnancy does not just affect teen girls, since boys who get girls pregnant are legally responsible for helping to support and raise the baby.

Teens should be aware of the risks of alcohol and sexual activity, and that drinking increases the chances of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other consequences of sexual activity. Parents can help their teens by:

  • Talking to their kids early and often about the importance of avoiding alcohol use, early sexual activity, and other risky behaviors, and keeping the lines of communication open with their teens
  • Setting a good example by not providing alcohol to teens and by not relying on alcohol to relax or have fun
  • Showing love and support for their teens and encouraging their positive activities and goals
  • Emphasizing the importance of getting an education
  • Setting and enforcing reasonable rules and consequences, including rules against using alcohol
  • Getting help for teens who suffer from teen depression or who are engaging in risky behaviors
  • Making sure, if their teen does get pregnant, that they get early medical care and help in quitting any substances they may be addicted to


The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, "Teen Pregnancy, Substance Use, and Other Risky Behaviors" [online]

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), "Statistics" [online]

March of Dimes, "Teenage Pregnancy" [online]

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,, "Dealing with Risky Behaviors and Other Challenges" [online]

Related Article: Alcohol and Dating Violence >>