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Prom Babies
The latest trend among teenage girls is, apparently, to have a "prom baby." The idea is that girls try to get pregnant on prom night. This sneaky tactic allows them to avoid the pressure of going to college. Instead they substitute the pressure of raising a child.

This trend was reported by a "Worried Dad" who recently wrote in to Dear Abby. He writes:
I first heard about it while driving my teenage daughter to a lacrosse meet with several of her girlfriends. One girl in the car, "Carrie," said she hoped this year she could have a prom baby. The girls were discussing two former classmates from last year's lacrosse team who had been unable to begin college because they had both become mothers at 17. Both had deliberately planned to get pregnant on prom night -- hence the term, "prom baby." Abby, both of the girls were studious and hard-working with bright futures ahead of them. One had been accepted to several Ivy League schools. Needless to say, their parents were devastated, and many adjustments had to be made for the new babies.
I'm thinking that either the letter writer was deliberately trying to start a new urban legend, or his daughter's friends were pulling his leg. I have a hard time believing anyone would be stupid enough to think that raising a kid is easier than going to college.

And as one blogger points out, "If they really wanted to sabotage their own chances of going to college, wouldn't they just submit a poor application?"

I think "prom babies" should be classified as an urban legend of the "shocking sexual behavior of teenage girls" variety, along with other legends such as Jelly Bracelet Sex Codes and Rainbow Parties.
Birth/BabiesSex/Romance
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 08, 2007
I don't know about prom babies, but it wouldn't surprise me a whole lot. As far as avoiding college by writing a bad application, that won't get your parents off your back. The pressure to go to college and succeed comes mostly from parents and peers, and unless you've got a really good reason to not go to college (like a baby) the pressure remains. Obviously they haven't thought it through to think that raising a child would be harder than going to college, but trust me, when you're faced with all that pressure, any way out seems promising. And as far as Rainbow Parties and Jelly Bracelets and oh yes, nail polish codes too... they happen. It hasn't been more than a few years since I was in high school, and they weren't that bizarre then, so I can imagine it's become more popular. As much as you may want to write this off as a hoax, I don't think it is.
Posted by Jen  in  Florida  on  Tue May 08, 2007  at  09:40 AM
I think it's a bit suspect that the 'Prom Baby' thing pops up soon after the Family Guy episode "Airport '07" where there's a big song & dance about 'Prom Babies' who get left in a dumpster at the prom. And promptly have a huge musical montage.
Posted by Renquist  in  Glasgow, Scotland  on  Tue May 08, 2007  at  10:57 AM
I read this yesterday and I was like "WTF?" I was still in high school last year and I'd never heard of that..
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Tue May 08, 2007  at  12:13 PM
I definitely think this is a hoax/urban legend. I sincerely doubt that anyone is planning on raising a child for 18 years to avoid the pressure of four years of college.
Posted by Stargazer  on  Tue May 08, 2007  at  12:22 PM
I'm with Renquist. This definitely seems a rumor that came from the family guy episode (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UH0DzLfF9o).

However, I did have a friend who grew up in Indiana. Her grandmother use to tell her to make sure she got knocked up by the time she graduated high school so the "lucky" boy would have to marry her and she could start her life as a housewife. My friend ended up going to college instead, but not without extreme disappointment on her grandmothers side. Apparently purposely getting pregnant to encourage a marriage before high school graduation really isn't that uncommon in the Hoosier state.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Tue May 08, 2007  at  04:21 PM
Hey! I resent that comment about the Hoosier state... No, that is NOT common haha. Not that I have seen anyway.
Posted by Jackie  on  Tue May 08, 2007  at  06:05 PM
Heh, yah. I know I made a broad statement. According to my friend it was common in her high school on the outskirts of Indianapolis. It, of course, wouldn't apply everywhere in Indiana, but my point was just that there are places in the US where it is common.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Tue May 08, 2007  at  06:11 PM
Even if it is a hoax, I know of a few girls who think that, if they get pregnant, their parents will take care of the child so that they can party. Some girls don't think of a kid as responsibility, since they have "24-hour babysitters". So I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't a hoax, even if it is stupid to talk like that in front of your dad.
Posted by Leshka  in  NYC  on  Tue May 08, 2007  at  09:01 PM
my point was just that there are places in the US where it is common

No there isn't. Good grief, how big of a sucker are you?
Posted by Joe  on  Wed May 09, 2007  at  12:25 AM
I don't know about "prom babies", but I do know that there are women who get pregnant because they figure it will make their lives easier. Around here there are a lot of people living on Welfare, with some families living generation after generation off of it alone and never actually working a day in their lives.

Sometimes they'll organise parties where a woman will have sex with as many men as she can, so that she can get pregnant (they get more money from Welfare for each child they have). And since they can't say for sure who the child is, the men don't have to pay child support (and perhaps being a single mother without a clue who the husband is pays better in Welfare?).

There were some arrests a few years back where a couple of these happened involving under-aged girls.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed May 09, 2007  at  12:51 AM
Acci, that's horrible! And Joe, please read my first comment before replying to the second, you obviously don't understand what "it" was that I was referring too. (or you're just naive).
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Wed May 09, 2007  at  02:38 AM
I read this in the paper and figured it was made up... partly because of the idea itself, but more so because, uh, NOBODY gets into "several" Ivy Leagues. Especially not this year. The end.
Posted by Dana  in  Las Vegas  on  Wed May 09, 2007  at  03:20 AM
I certainly don't know if it is true. However, I did read the collumn yesterday and mentioned it to my 21yo co-worker. She stated that she could see it happening. She was in college when she got pregnant with her first child. She now has two.

I asked her whether college or kids were more stressful. She actually said that, for her, going to college was more stressful than raising two kids on her own. And that wasn't an Ive League school. I just don't get it.
Posted by Tru  in  Other Words  on  Wed May 09, 2007  at  04:23 PM
this is stupid...i would love to meet these girls and explain to them what the last 8 years of my life have been like! im 26 raising an 8 year old. I hope they make the best of their "prom" because that will be the last "hoorah" for them!!!! i feel sick when i hear things like this....those poor babies...i love my daughter to death, and wouldn't give her up for anything...but iv never known a "single,young persons" lifestyle...children are a blessing, not something to play with when you are bored!!!
Posted by nicole sutton  in  buffalo, new york  on  Wed May 09, 2007  at  07:33 PM
If this were true, any girl who loudly discussed it with her friends in front of a parent is surely too stupid to get into college anyway!

And why wouldn't anyone want to go to college? Away from home for the first time, you get to spend your money how you like, live how you like, make new friends, go to outrageous parties - it was amazing! And many UK university now have creches, so the lucky girls can have a prom baby and still go to uni!
Posted by Nona  in  London  on  Thu May 10, 2007  at  08:52 AM
If you don't believe teens are getting pregnant on purpose, you've got to believe that the numbers are greater after prom (and the child development teacher at the high school where I teach said the numbers are always higher after Xmas break, too, because adults are busy and the teens aren't!).
As a high school teacher who works with teens every day, I am sorry to say that I can promise you that this is NOT an urban legend.
Posted by Angi  in  Texas  on  Thu May 10, 2007  at  04:31 PM
To Acci: what do you mean, they wouldn't know who the father is? DNA tests don't happen in this parallel universe?
Posted by Syrinx  in  Los Angeles  on  Mon May 21, 2007  at  02:56 PM
No, this is not rampant in the Hoosier state, at least not where I live. I read this column, and was sure it was a hoax just because any girl trying that hard to get pregnant isn't going to limit herself to just having sex on prom night.

But what firmly convinces me that this is a UL is the fact that "PROM baby" is a real term, used in neonate units in hospitals, but it has nothing to do with high school dances. "PROM" stands for "prelabor rupture of membranes," and it is a cause of premature birth as well as fetal death, and can happen if the mother is in a car accident, or exeriences another trauma, or for no determined reason. What happens is that the woman's water breaks before the baby is ready for delivery, and she has not had any signs of labor (ie, contractions, dilated cervix, et al.) The uterine environment is then very vulnerable to infection, and the baby has to come out.

I wonder if some kids didn't stumble across the term "PROM baby," then invent a meaning for it, and pass it off as fact, a little like "TIP" meaning "to insure proper service."
Posted by RivkahChaya  in  Indiana  on  Thu May 24, 2007  at  12:30 AM
To Angi in Texas:

While we know it's no urban myth that poor, wretched C-student girls often get pregnant on purpose, or that rich girls sometimes get pregnant unintentionally, or that smart boys and girls being pushed in one direction only by adults sometimes balk and sabotage their grades and thus their chances for college, that doesn't mean getting pregnant TO AVOID COLLEGE is anything more than a freak incident in society. If it's ever happened at all. (Wouldn't we have heard about it before? After all, kids who don't like adult responsibilities wouldn't like the idea of childrearing any more than four more years of school.)

BTW, some may actually find this useful: "The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education" by teacher Grace Llewellyn. There are 74 Amazon reviews and the average rating is very high! Only 8 ratings are lower than 4 stars. I think it was originally published in the 1980s.
Posted by lenona  in  Boston, MA  on  Thu May 31, 2007  at  11:54 AM
I could definitely see this happening. In my high school out of 1,500 students, there were 90 pregnant girls that were showing. Not to mention how many were not showing. You have to remember they are children. They don't think of all of the possible outcomes like we do. My mother for example got pregnant at 16 to get away from her rough home life. Girls at that age just want to be accepted. If it means having sex to keep a guy interested in them, they will. One specific girl in high school was pregnant with her fourth child. She told everyone her boyfriend didn't like condoms. Enough said.
Posted by Holly  in  Tennessee  on  Fri Aug 24, 2007  at  04:25 AM
I would not have believed teen girls getting pregnant on purpose until I read the "teen pregnancy" forum on ehealth.com.

Read it for yourselves. It's really tragic.

13 year old girls write about how they are "ttc", or "trying to conceive".
Posted by Deb  on  Fri Nov 02, 2007  at  05:40 PM
having babies is a whole lot more pressure than going to college! somebody has to tell these kids how hard it is to raise a child. college is just like high school with a little more seriousness.
if i were these kids, i'd just dance on prom night and enjoy.
Posted by lady gagster  on  Sat Oct 02, 2010  at  08:58 PM
I Really want a baby I know it crazy but I get so jealous because here r these girls and woman have babies they carry them around holding them I get jealous because I want to be that person to hold my child and stuff I don't know what it is. I don't know if it an obbsession or an addiction. I just want a baby
Posted by SARa Pierson  in  Ft Myers Florida  on  Mon May 21, 2012  at  04:01 PM
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