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Content Any Way U Want It!

BG Falcon Media

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Students balance school, pregnancy in college years

As University students take exams, many picture graduating with a diploma, but not so many factor in having a child.

“I honestly didn’t believe the doctor when she told me…” said junior Bria Hall. “I thought ‘This is impossible.’”

Hall, a 20 year-old and Canton, Michigan native, discovered she was pregnant at the end of July at a check-up at the Falcon Health Center.

“I didn’t even go in for a pregnancy test. I went in for a refill on birth control and I was talking to the doctor, because I felt that my hormones were out of whack, my boobs were sore and things that usually went along on with birth control issues,” Hall said. “We were using birth control and condoms, not every time, but I was switching birth controls and no one told me that for the first month, the birth control was ineffective and that’s how I got pregnant.”

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy conducted a study that estimates 61 percent of women who have children after enrolling in community college end up dropping out. Although Hall refuses to let the status quo define her success, she will be taking online classes in the spring and plans on returning to campus by the start of the fall 2015 semester.

“My mother was in college when she found out she was pregnant with me. My mom ended up dropping out,” Hall said. “She eventually went back but it took her longer and I just don’t want to stop. I don’t want to take a semester off. I want to graduate as soon as possible and continue with my career.”

Hall and her boyfriend, Willis Hill, are expecting a baby girl, Emeri, on April 6 of next year. Hall and Hill are currently living together and plan on staying in Bowling Green until graduation. Hall, studying health science and Hill, studying exercise science, plan on graduating in fall 2015.

According to a study done by Bayer HealthCare, 53 percent of the young people aged 15-24 surveyed in the United States admitting to having unprotected sex with a new partner. According to Stanford University’s Sexual Health Peer Resource Center, one in four college students have an STD. Although students know the risk, there is still an overwhelming number of students still practicing unsafe sex.

In a 2010 study by Guttmacher Institute “Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients,” at least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45. In 2008, abortion rates were one in 10 women will have an abortion by age 20. With 18–19-year-olds obtaining 11 percent of abortions, women in their 20s account for more than half of all abortions: Women aged 20–24 obtain 33 percent of all abortions, and women aged 25–29 obtain 24 percent.

“I thought about all of my options, adoption, abortion, keeping it. When I found out I was 19, in college, I’m like what do I do?” Hall said. “But after talking to my mom, then Willis, then his parents, we kind of decided that babies are a blessing. Obviously this happened for a reason, so we were like we can do it, it’s going to be hard, but we have a year left of school, we can do it.”

When pregnant there are three options: adoption, termination and parenting. The only person who can decide is the person who is pregnant, although Bria Hall found that talking to her family and boyfriend helped her decision.

The Falcon Health Center referred Hall to the Bowling Green Pregnancy Center, which offers free services. Executive Director of the Bowling Green Pregnancy Center, Shelly Burkhart, describes all the center has to offer.

“All of our client advocates and nurses are trained to help women with unplanned pregnancy. Up to 75 percent of our clientele are students, and all of our services are free,” Burkhart said. “We discuss all options: parenting, making an adoption plan, abortion procedures and risks.”

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy stated among unmarried women in their 20s with some college education, 77 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned. Unplanned pregnancies can increase emotional and financial stress on the young men and women involved, which can impede academic performance.

For senior Shelby Wilson, her pregnancy was planned, but just off by a couple weeks.

“I got married in March and I wanted to have a baby right away, but I thought it would be due after graduation.”

Wilson, graduating this weekend with a degree in event planning, was hoping to have her child during Thanksgiving break. She gave birth to a boy on Dec. 6.

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