Students at Tyler Junior College are using their unplanned pregnancies to spur them towards academic success.
According to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, unplanned pregnancies increase the risk of students dropping out of college. Sixty-five percent of students who have children after enrolling don’t finish their educations.
“A lot of students leave school and don’t come back,” said Stephanie Eijsink, MD at ETMC First Physicians Clinic Tyler Junior College. “It’s very difficult to have children and then go back to school.”
Many students have mixed emotions when they discover they are pregnant.
“I was sad, but at the same time I was excited,” said Cayla Cortez, a student at TJC who was a freshman when she discovered she was pregnant.
Many students are reluctant to tell their parents but the sooner they reach out, the sooner they can get help.
“I thought my parents were going to kill me,” said Michelle Mcleod, another student at TJC.
Most student’s parents find ways to help their children. It is important for new mothers to have all the support they can get.
Eijsink explained that in most cases, family members rally together to support the mother-to-be.
Having that moral support helps the mother to have a less stressful pregnancy.
Mothers must seek medical attention immediately after discovering they are pregnant.
“As soon as a woman finds out she is having a child she should invest in great prenatal care. This is done by finding a reputable doctor,” said John Moore, Public Information Officer for Trinity Mother Francis hospitals and clinics.
Moore explained, most parents would do anything they could to make sure their child grows up healthy. They should also do everything they can to make sure the child stays healthy while it’s still in the womb.
According to the March of Dimes, it’s important to take multivitamins and plenty of folic acid to prevent birth defects, such as neural tube defect, during pregnancy.
Having a child gives many mothers more incentive to do their best in class.
“I was just ready to start a new life and make a better future for my daughter,” said Cortez. “She changed my life for the better, and helped me to grow up. I think like a mother now.” “Cortez went on to say that her daughter is her biggest motivation.”
In order to prevent unplanned pregnancies, students need to practice safe sex.
“First, women need to use birth control, and second, men must use condoms. You have to cover it from both sides,” said Eijsink.
Eijsink stated that she tries to encourage women to use birth control, because just having your partner use condoms is not enough. Condoms aren’t fail proof.
“It’s not easy [being a mother]. It’s very difficult, make sure you practice safe sex,” said Cortez.