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New Mexico Health Department Helps Teens Prevent Pregnancy

Armen Hareyan's picture

Teens Pregnancy

When Amana Romero was 16 years old she had dreams of one day attending the University of New Mexico to become a teacher.

A student and cheerleader at Santa Fe High School, Romero also hoped of joining the cheerleading team as a college freshman. Her dreams were put on hold when she found out she was pregnant at the age of 16.

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Romero was able to graduate from high school, but the added stress and expense of becoming a new parent prevented her from leaving home and attending college full time. Instead, Romero, now 19, had to continue living with her parents and was only able to attend college part time at Santa Fe Community College.

"My life is so different now because I have to be a mom before I'm anything else," Romero said. "I have to gives baths, wash bottles, play games and read stories before I can think about doing homework or talking to friends. I have to put my children before myself."

Deborah Chettinger, a family planning nurse at the New Mexico Department of Health in Las Cruces said the department offers many options to help prevent teen pregnancy, such as birth control for men and women and counseling on making smart decisions about becoming sexually active. Chettinger sees clients who are already sexually active and those who are interested in the different types of birth control options. She tells her clients the best way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy is to abstain from "I tell all my clients