Juno's Alternative Reality: MTV's "16 & Pregnant"

By Christine Cupaiuolo — June 16, 2009

16_and_pregnantMTV’s new documentary series “16 & Pregnant” makes its debut Thursday, June 18, at 10 p.m. (EST).  The episodes are also available online.

I watched some of episode one; Maci, the mom shown here with her boyfriend, Ryan, and their son, Bentley, is amazing. She basically gives up everything to take on this new responsibility, with little help from Ryan. I was a bit surprised, though, to read her update describing her life now in far more upbeat terms. I’m thrilled for her, of course, but I do wonder if some teenage viewers will be conflicted.

Baltimore Sun critic David Zurawik highly recommends the series and praises the realism: “Parents who don’t go out of their way to see or record this six-week series of profiles of pregnant teenagers are making a big mistake. If you have no other involvement in your kids’ media lives, make them see this.”

Plus: When it comes to sex-ed, who’s the voice of reason?

7 responses to “Juno’s Alternative Reality: MTV’s “16 & Pregnant””

  1. mtv can make a follow up series in a couple years. they can call it “35 and on welfare”

  2. I’m into the third episode now and one thing that frustrates me is how the maternity care is provided. The lack of skin-to-skin contact post-birth, having the baby in the glass box, inducing labor, the lack of breastfeeding (besides minor comments from one nurse), the over-use of painkillers, etc. As someone who works with teens who want kids, it seems good to show a reality, but as someone who cares about women’s health, not so much. Also, a little out of touch of reality with the size of some of their parent’s houses.

  3. I’ve seen every episode of the first season, including it’s finale special, “Life after Labor,” and I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw. I originally assumed, like I’m sure many other viewers across the nation felt, that the show would be a series of extremely wealthy teenagers glamorizing teen pregnancy with their million dollar homes and their nurseries stocked full of everything Baby (and teen Mommy) wanted and desired. Though the first two episodes appeared to be headed in that direction, overall the series was a healthy compilation of wealthy, poor, popular, shy, A average, and D average teenagers who suddenly found themselves in a rather difficult situation. One of the episodes even featured a teen couple that opted to put their daughter up for adoption – and they went through with it! The great thing about this diversity in casting was that it allowed teens and teen couples across the nation, regardless of their background, to connect with at least one of the featured pregnant teen couples on the show this season. My hope is that the teenage fans of this show will be able to recognize a bit of themselves in at least one of the episodes and make the conscious decision not to have unprotected sex at such an early age.

    During the season Finale, Dr. Drew (the host of the show and a well-known celebrity doctor) addressed a number of touching issues with the teen couples who are all now teen parents (aside from the one couple that opted for adoption). With every couple, he addressed the strain that their teenage pregnancy had on their lives individually, and as a couple. Helping, of course, to discredit the idea that many teenagers have that getting pregnant will somehow strengthen their relationship with their partner. With one couple, he also mentioned the option to abort the baby – and though the couple insisted that they never even considered it – the option was discussed. Before each commercial break, Dr. Drew recited a number of statistics on teen pregnancy, alluding to teenagers who otherwise wouldn’t hear the high numbers and percentages elsewhere.

    Overall, the show turned out quite alright. There is obviously still room for improvement, but I think it’s on its way. I hope that, if nothing else, this show will allow both parents and teenagers the opportunity to open up and talk about sex and the necessary precautions one should take in order to prevent an unwanted teenage pregnancy.

  4. i love this show but ive only seen this show once. but i think that its good because the girls learn what mistakes they made and they can get help. and i like that they get on with the baby living with them.

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