|16 and Pregnant|
|Created by||Lauren Dolgen|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||70|
|Running time||43 to 50 minutes|
|Production companies||11th Street Productions|
MTV Production Development
|Distributor||Viacom Media Networks|
|Original release||June 11, 2009 -|
16 and Pregnant is an American reality television series that aired from June 11, 2009, to July 1, 2014, on MTV. It followed the stories of pregnant teenage girls in high school dealing with the hardships of teenage pregnancy. Each episode featured a different teenage girl, with the episode typically beginning when she is 4+1⁄2 - 8 months into her pregnancy. The episode typically ends when the baby is a few months old. The series is produced in a documentary format, with an animation on notebook paper showing highlights during each episode preceding the commercial breaks. 16 and Pregnant has spawned five spin-off series: Teen Mom, Teen Mom 2, Teen Mom 3, Teen Mom: Young and Pregnant, and 16 and Recovering.
A spin-off series, titled 16 and Recovering, premiered on September 1, 2020.
In September 2020, MTV announced a revival of the original series, which premiered on October 6, 2020.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||6||June 11, 2009||July 16, 2009|
|2||19||February 16, 2010||December 21, 2010|
|3||10||April 19, 2011||June 21, 2011|
|4||12||March 27, 2012||May 29, 2012|
|5||12||April 14, 2014||July 28, 2014|
|6||11||October 6, 2020||April 13, 2021|
Based on a preview of the show's first three episodes, The New York Times called the series a "documentary-style series about real-life Junos who are not scoring in the 99th percentile on the verbal portion of their SATs... despite its showcasing of the grim, hard work of single mothering."
In 2011, the Social Security Administration reported that the names of one of the featured mothers and her son, "Maci" and "Bentley", were the names that saw the greatest increase in frequency over the past year.
Producers of 16 and Pregnant have been criticized for their lack of diversity and inaccurate representation of teenage mothers within the cast. When comparing the mothers on 16 and Pregnant to the U.S. National Vital Statistic Report on Teenage Pregnancy, researchers found MTV overrepresented births to mothers age 15-17 at the time of birth and also overrepresented white teenage mothers. Teenage pregnancy with mothers 15-17 years of age at birth accounted for 22% of the national average with teenage pregnancy for white mothers being reported at 22%. Within the first five seasons of 16 and Pregnant, white teenage mothers made up more than two-thirds of the show participants. 48% of the mothers were 16 at the time of birth, 39% were 17, and 11% were 18-19.
16 and Pregnant was created with the intention to act as a method of early intervention in teenage pregnancy prevention. At the time of its premiere, producers defended the show with arguments that 16 and Pregnant would educate teenage girls on the realities of pregnancy and teenage motherhood. Research indicates that the show has had a mixed effect on the teenage girls it sought out to target.
In 2009, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy recognized 16 and Pregnant amongst the factors that caused a decrease in teenage pregnancy recorded over the year. A 2012 survey by The National Campaign also praises the show for encouraging discussion regarding teenage pregnancy between viewers aged 10-19, their peers, and their parents.
Viewership of 16 and Pregnant was found to be most successful as a method of intervention for teens aged 15-16 living in states that do not require sex education to be taught in schools. The study concluded that "women in states without [SexEd] mandates may have lacked access to information on sex and contraception, which became more readily available via links to stayteen.org in the after the debut of 16 and Pregnant".
16 and Pregnant has also been criticized for glamorizing teenage pregnancy and motherhood. Research in 2014 suggests young girls who are frequent viewers of 16 and Pregnant were more likely to have an unrealistic perception of teenage motherhood. Additionally, viewers were found to perceive the benefits of teen pregnancy to be greater than the risks, given the positive conclusions in participants' stories.
In 2014, the National Bureau of Economic Research conducted and published a study suggesting a correlation between the premiere of the show in 2009 and a 5.7% decrease in teen births in the 18 months following the premiere. At the time, it was unknown whether this was due to the premiere of 16 and Pregnant or the Financial crisis of 2007-2008.
Research conducted in 2016 suggested that 16 and Pregnant was unlikely to have had any effect on teenage birth rates and prior research to be "problematic". The latest study revealed, through a series of placebo and other tests, that the assumption of common trends in birth rates between low and high MTV-watching areas is not met.