Unwed pregnancy still 'high' in Moffat County

Out-of-wedlock births trend up from 2000 to 2006

By the numbers

Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center

pregnancy tests and client visits

Client visits

• 2008: 272

• 2007: 126

• 2006: 150

Pregnancy tests administered

• 2008: 44

• 2007: 63

• 2006: 43

Elation.

Uncertainty.

Fear.

A positive result on a pregnancy test can elicit a wide range of emotions for local women who visit the Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center.

"I've had women dissolve into tears," Director Debbie Rudd said. "I just kind of sit quietly and let them work through it and try to ascertain whether they're (crying) tears of happiness or if they're just totally upset.

"I've seen both."

Among its other clients, the Pregnancy Center provides services to single pregnant women. That demographic has increased steadily in the past.

In 2000, 22.6 percent of births in Moffat County were to single mothers, according to the Colorado Children's Campaign, a bi-partisan state nonprofit advocating for child health care and education.

The percentage of county unwed pregnancies jumped to 28.6 percent in 2001. That number increased again to 29.1 percent in 2002.

Out-of-wedlock pregnancies decreased to 28.8 percent and 28.6 percent in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

In 2005, unwed pregnancies increased again, this time to 31.7 percent. That demographic decreased to 31.1 percent in 2006, according to the Children's Campaign's 2008 KidsCount in Colorado survey.

That's about 3 percent more than Colorado's 28 percent average of single-parent births.

Because state groups, including the Children's Campaign, haven't yet released Moffat County data for 2007 or 2008, it's difficult to determine whether unwed pregnancies still are on the rise. But, the issue is a topic of concern for officials at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

The number of unwed pregnancies in Moffat County still is "extremely high," said Cole White, VNA director of operations, at a meeting of the Moffat County Work and Life Skills program in December.

White added that he couldn't estimate how much unwed pregnancies have increased locally.

The Work and Life Skills program receives funding from Colorado Works, the state's welfare program. To meet funding requirements, Work and Life Skills administrators have included unwed pregnancy prevention in its curriculum to prepare local students for post-graduate life.

"I don't think you could nail down one particular item" contributing to the rise in unwed pregnancies, White said Friday.

He added that he believes a variety of factors, including decreased access to birth control and sex education, may account for the escalating number of unwed pregnancies.

Community attitudes may play a role, too.

Societal norms that make single motherhood less taboo also may explain why Moffat County unwed pregnancies have increased in the past, White said.

Dr. J. Scott Ellis, an obstetrician/gynecologist at The Memorial Hospital in Craig, was unavailable for comment Friday.

Local unmarried women still have cause to wonder if they are expecting the unexpected.

In 2008, more than half of the women who received pregnancy tests at the Pregnancy Center were unmarried, Rudd said.

Requested pregnancy tests in 2007 were split half and half between single and married women. However, 27 women requesting pregnancy tests in 2006 were single, while 11 were married, Pregnancy Center records show.

Demand for pregnancy tests at the organization have been down recently. The number of pregnancy tests administered at the Pregnancy Center decreased to 44 in 2008 from 63 in 2007.

At the same time, however, the Pregnancy Center recorded 272 visits in 2008 for practical items, including diapers and baby formula. That number, which includes repeat client visits, is up from the 126 visits the Pregnancy Center logged in 2007.

Deciphering the number of local unwed pregnancies from the Pregnancy Center's data is difficult for several reasons.

The organization, which was formerly located in the Country Mall building, lost two months' worth of 2007 records during the fire that consumed the building in November 2007.

Furthermore, not all unexpectedly pregnant women seek out the organization's services.

"I always know there's a lot more girls out there who may be pregnant but that I just never see," Rudd said.

Comments

lostyermarbles 5 years, 3 months ago

Well this is shear stupidity. How come these women know how to keep their minutes up on their cell phones, go out looking for a good time, etc. and not know what causes this yet?? Laziness, iresponsibility?? No excuse, these babies some have to pay a high price growing up in these situations and they didn't ask to be here anyway. Come on get a clue and be responsible for your actions.Dumb, Dumb Dumb....There is no excuse but just not caring...

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freeman 5 years, 3 months ago

THE REAL PROBLEM IS ,,THERE IS TO MUCH HELIUM IN THEIR ANKLES..THEY NEED TO LEARN TO KEEP THEM ON THE GROUND ????

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mustang 5 years, 3 months ago

In all of the biology books that I have ever read, they state that it takes a male and a female to have a child. So, where are your comments to the men in this situation???? I agree that it is not smart or show responsibility to have a child out of wedlock, but it is the responsibility of BOTH men and women to prevent this. So yes freeman while the women may have too much helium in their ankles, the men need to keep themselves buttoned up.

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Really 5 years, 3 months ago

It was a BIG mistake for the school district to change to abstinence based sex ed. Wish I could get stats, but it sure seems the pregnancy rate started going up after that was instituted. I heard one kid say that they were told not to use condoms because they could break!

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sickandtired 5 years, 3 months ago

I have a friend whose kid graduated in 05' and said that between 8th grade and graduation there were around 30 girls that had gotten pregnant or had already had a baby! Thats alot! Thats just one class of students folks! What was the pregnancy rate for 02' through 08? I can remember one or two girls when I graduated. But close to 30 these days?!

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freeman 5 years, 3 months ago

IT ALSO COMES RIGHT BACK TO THE PARENTS,,THEY SHOULD OF .AND/OR NEED TO PUTE THE GIRLS ON BIRTH CONTROL AND STICK WITH OVERLOOKING THE CHILD AT ALL TIMES,,,

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freeman 5 years, 3 months ago

IM SURE THERE IS A COMFORTING PERSON WHO CAN HOLD THESE GIRLS HANDS TIGHTLY AND SHOW THEM THE WAY WITH A WARM HUG AND PRAYER...

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mustang 5 years, 3 months ago

freeman, I agree with you that preventing these pregnancis comes back to the parents and the family. Parents need to be able to have "the talk" with their children. Of course I believe in abstinence and teach that to my children as the best way to prevent pregnancy, disease and many other problems, but they have also been taught about birth control. As we all know we can teach our children abstinence, but children have minds of their own. My friend works at the VNA and has told me that they have condoms that they give away for free on their front desk. How many teenagers know that this is available to them, and for free?

This situation affects all of us. The baby suffers because they are born into a situation that they did not choose. The parents of the babies suffer because they are not quite grown up themselves and now they are having to take care of an infant. And this affects all of us as a society because each of us are having to pay for the healthcare of many of these mom's and infants. Sometimes it is difficult to afford the health care for my own children, let alone another.

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AreWeSure 5 years, 3 months ago

So.. I had to go back and reread the article just to be sure. Isn't it about UNWED pregnacy? Everyone seems to be bashing "teen pregnancy". And just for the record I am an unwed mother of two AND I have always provided my children with food, warm clothes, and health insurance.

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lonelyone 5 years, 3 months ago

You know Patrick, your idea isn't so bad. We can bring people into the schools who've been on drugs so they can tell students how bad it can get and how you should stay away from drugs. Same thing with drunks and people who've been to war and been injured. Why not bring in some one, maybe a girl and a boy who have had their lives change so much for a few minutes of passion. It might be an eye opener to some of these kids.

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Patrick Germond 5 years, 3 months ago

Maybe, we could up our game a bit on this problem. We could ask some of these "unwed" and "not doing so good on their own mothers" to come into our schools and tell our kids how hard it is to do this by themselves. Maybe both the mom and students could come away a little more enlightend.

I don't know, I don't want to upset anyone. This is a bad deal for everyone and I would like to try and improve it, and not point fingers and anyone.

Remember, Mary was unwed and pregnant for a time. Let's all show some good color on this and seek out good ideas. Let us not use other peoples misfortune to vent our own anger.

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Really 5 years, 3 months ago

Lonelyone, All those various people have been in the schools at different times - didn't seem to make a difference. I agree that parents should be teaching their kids about this stuff, but a lot don't do it. Someone needs to teach about birth control.

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redneckgirl 5 years, 3 months ago

"Demand for pregnancy tests at the organization have been down recently. The number of pregnancy tests administered at the Pregnancy Center decreased to 44 in 2008 from 63 in 2007." How much of their statistical data are they basing on pregnancy tests? Not all tests come out positive. Sure there might be unwed pregnant women, "what if" they don't want to be married? "What if" it is a woman that lives with her boyfriend but chooses not to be married to him? "What if" their boyfriend/husband beats the tar out of them and they get out of the situation to better themselves and their unborn child. Sometimes it's not just a bad thing, there could be circumstances making it worse. There are a lot of "what if's" that are not made clear in this article. I tend to over-analyze things too, it's my job.

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mustang 5 years, 3 months ago

arewesure, you are right in that a lot of my comments were towards teenage pregnancy, but a lot of it applies to many 'older' unwed parents. There are many single women that do a wonderful job raising children on their own and they should be congratulated. My biggest concern is for the unplanned pregnancies of unwed parents. I am not necessarily angry about the situation I think that it is a sad situation. I have been there for a friend whose husband left her when she became pregnant. Seeing the sadness that she felt because the father had no interest in her or the child growing inside of her was awful. Bringing a child into the world should be a happy and exciting time, not one of sadness or regret.

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