16 and Pregnant
Created byLauren Dolgen
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes70 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
Camera setupMultiple
Running time43 to 50 minutes
Production companies11th Street Productions
MTV Production Development
Original release
ReleaseJune 11, 2009 (2009-06-11) –
April 13, 2021 (2021-04-13)

16 and Pregnant is an American reality television series that aired from June 11, 2009, to July 1, 2014, on the cable channel MTV.[1] 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+12 – 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, which premiered on September 1, 2020.[2]

In September 2020, MTV announced a revival of the original series, which premiered on October 6, 2020.[3]


Main article: List of 16 and Pregnant episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
16June 11, 2009 (2009-06-11)July 16, 2009 (2009-07-16)
219February 16, 2010 (2010-02-16)December 21, 2010 (2010-12-21)
310April 19, 2011 (2011-04-19)June 21, 2011 (2011-06-21)
412March 27, 2012 (2012-03-27)May 29, 2012 (2012-05-29)
512April 14, 2014 (2014-04-14)July 28, 2014 (2014-07-28)
611October 6, 2020 (2020-10-06)April 13, 2021 (2021-04-13)


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."[4]

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.[5]

In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that "similar to Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant is more popular in rural parts of the country".[6]

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.[7] 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%.[7] Within the first five seasons of 16 and Pregnant, white teenage mothers made up more than two-thirds of the show participants.[7] 48% of the mothers were 16 at the time of birth, 39% were 17, and 11% were 18-19.[7]


16 and Pregnant was created 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.[7] Research indicates that the show had mixed effects on the teenage girls it sought to target.

In 2009, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy recognized 16 and Pregnant among the factors that caused a decrease in teenage pregnancy recorded over the year.[7] 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.[8]

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.[8] 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.[9] Additionally, the researchers discovered that viewers perceived the benefits of teen pregnancy to be greater than the risks, given the positive conclusions in participants' stories.[10]

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% of the total 17.6% decrease in teen births in the US in the 18 months following the premiere. It was unknown whether this was due to the premiere of 16 and Pregnant or the financial crisis of 2007–2008. However, the study showed increased search activity about birth control and abortion and sparked relevant conversation via Twitter. The study looked at different factors to come up with their conclusion: exposure to the television show, increase in searches on birth control during times the show aired, in what region, and how popular the show was in those specific areas. The study concluded that there was indeed a correlation between viewership and the search of these topics, indicating the show did have an effect on the decline of teen pregnancy rates at the time. They estimate that 1/3 of the decrease in teen pregnancy rate was directly due to the show airing. There was also a decrease in rates of abortion, but the study did not research the subject enough to know if that was due to the show. In 2014, the Brookings Institution 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 other factors.[11]

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 correlation between common trends in birth rates, and regional viewership of MTV, is not founded.[12]


Spin-offs of 16 and Pregnant
Series premiere Series finale No. of
Teen Mom December 8, 2009 (2009-12-08) December 7, 2021 (2021-12-07) 9
Teen Mom 2 January 11, 2011 (2011-01-11) May 24, 2022 (2022-05-24) 11
Teen Mom 3 August 26, 2013 (2013-08-26) November 18, 2013 (2013-11-18) 1
Teen Mom: Young and Pregnant March 12, 2018 (2018-03-12) September 13, 2022 (2022-09-13) 3
Teen Mom: Young Moms Club August 30, 2018 (2018-08-30) May 20, 2019 (2019-05-20) 1
Teen Mom: Family Reunion January 11, 2022 (2022-01-11) 2
Teen Mom: Girls' Night In January 11, 2022 (2022-01-11) 2
Teen Mom: The Next Chapter September 6, 2022 (2022-09-06) 1


  1. ^ "MTV Chronicles the Challenges of Teen Pregnancy in '16 & Pregnant' Premiering on Thursday, June 11th at 10pm ET/PT". The Futon Critic. May 18, 2009. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  2. ^ "MTV Marks National Recovery Month with New Limited Series "16 and Recovering" Premiering Tuesday, September 1st at 9PM ET/PT". The Futon Critic. August 24, 2020.
  3. ^ "First Look: 16 and Pregnant is Returning to MTV". MTV. September 18, 2020.
  4. ^ Bellafante, Ginia (June 10, 2009). "Real Life Is Like 'Juno,' Except Maybe the Dialogue". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  5. ^ Marsh, Wendell (May 5, 2011). ""Maci" and "Bentley" soar in baby name game". Reuters. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  6. ^ Katz, Josh (2016-12-27). "'Duck Dynasty' vs. 'Modern Family': 50 Maps of the U.S. Cultural Divide". The New York Times.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Martins, N., Malacane, M., Lewis, N., & Kraus, A. (2016). A Content Analysis of Teen Parenthood in "Teen Mom" Reality Programming. Health Communication,31(12),1548–1556. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2015.1089465
  8. ^ a b Trudeau, J.(2016). The role of new media on teen sexual behaviors and fertility outcomes—The case of 16 and Pregnant. Southern Economic Journal, 82(3), 975–1003.https://doi.org/10.1002/soej.12034
  9. ^ Martins, N., & Jensen, Robin, E. (2014). The Relationship Between "Teen Mom" Reality Programming and Teenagers' Beliefs About Teen Parenthood. Mass Communication & Society, 17(6), 830–852. https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2013.851701
  10. ^ Jennifer Stevens Aubrey, Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz & Kyungbo Kim (2014)Understanding the Effects of MTV's 16andPregnant on Adolescent Girls' Beliefs, Attitudes, and Behavioral Intentions Toward Teen Pregnancy, Journal of Health Communication, 19:10,1145-1160, DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2013.872721
  11. ^ Melissa S. Kearney; Phillip Levine (January 14, 2014). "Media Influences on Social Outcomes: The Impact of MTV's "16 and Pregnant" on Teen Childbearing". Brookings. Archived from the original on 2017-02-23. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  12. ^ Jaeger, David (Oct 31, 2016). "Does Reality TV Induce Real Effects? On the Questionable Association Between 16 and Pregnant and Teenage Childbearing" (PDF). Retrieved Jan 1, 2017.