Teenage pregnancy has always been a point of concern for governments, societies and individuals across centuries. Economic and social factors are major contributors to the situation with the middle and low income areas being more affected than their middle and high income areas counterparts. Low education levels, promiscuity, limited access to reproductive health services, drug abuse, peer pressure and sexual abuse lead to early pregnancies. The media has also contributed to teenage pregnancies through its glamorization in movies and TV shows as well as poor parenting patterns which leave teenagers uninformed about the ramifications of teenage pregnancies. Teenage pregnancy leads to poverty, discontinuation of education, depression, pregnancy related complications, drug abuse, skipping of life milestones and increase government expenditure on welfare. The preventive measures for teenage pregnancies include contraception, abstinence and sexual education. Prevention over intervention will save costs in taxes, personal expenditures on raising the babies and the social cost which comes with teenage pregnancies.
America has experienced an exponential decline in the teenage pregnancy rates in the recent years but teenage pregnancies are occurring daily though in smaller numbers (Weed, Nicholson & Farris, 2015). According to the Centre for disease control teenage pregnancy statistics, there was a 64 per cent decline in teen pregnancies since 1991 to 2015 across all states (CDC, 2017). In 2014, teenage mothers accounted for 249,078 births which represented a cluster of 24.2 per every 1,000 teenage women. The statistics indicate a remarkable 9% drop from the previous year with teenage pregnancies for mothers between 15 and 17 declining by 11% and 7% for mothers aged 18 and 19(CDC, 2017).The decline was attributed to abstinence and increased number of contraceptive uptake among young people. Cases of subsequent teen pregnancies are also rampant with 1 in 6 teen moms being a second time mom which is 17% of the total births to teenagers between 15 and 19 (CDC, 2017).Despite the decline in the numbers, America still remains among the leading western industrialized countries with the highest cases of teen pregnancies.
Delegate your assignment to our experts and they will do the rest.
Disruption of the education process of the teenage parents is one of the major impacts of teenage pregnancy (Brindis, 2017). Teenage pregnancy statistics show that only one-third of teenage mothers pursue their education after pregnancy can even acquire the high school diploma, and a few also get a college degree (Cherry, Baltag & Dillon, 2016). This puts them at the risk of growing up illiterate, unemployable and with a bleak and an uncertain future. Teenage pregnancy forces the mothers to drop out of school especially at later stages of the pregnancy due to the discomfort, social stigma from their fellow students and the need to provide for their unborn baby if their parents disown them or are not in good terms with them (Brindis, 2017). Teenage fathers may be forced to assume their responsibility as the providers and marry at an early age leading them to drop out of school in search for jobs to support the baby and the mother. Even after the mothers resume school after the delivery of the baby, their education calendar will have already been disrupted with their classmates proceeding to other levels leaving them behind (Price, El-Khoury, & Wonnum, 2014). The complete discontinuation of education is a risk factor not only to the teenage parents but to the society. Illiterate people are liable to making poor life decisions and due to their un-employability are susceptible to becoming criminals which ultimately leads to insecurity and imprisonment or even death.
Teenage mothers are at the risk of experiencing mental and physical health complications (Cherry et.al. 2016). Health risks that could affect teenage mothers include dietary diseases like anemia, obesity, high pretension, anorexia and diabetes. Teenagers don’t have enough financial resources to buy the balanced diet foods that their bodies need during the pregnancy and some of these dietary related diseases are life threatening to the mothers as well as to the unborn child (Brindis, 2017). The teenage bodies are also not fully developed to carry the pregnancy which puts them at risk of complications like pre eclampsia and thrombosis and birth of children with deformities like hearing and sight impairments, under weight and respiratory complications. The Mental health is also on the line during teenage pregnancies (Cherry et.al., 2016). The fact that the teenagers are involved in unprotected sex also makes them vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections and HIV. They are prone to depression, stress, suicidal thoughts and destitution factors that could lead to serious mental health impairment (Brindis, 2017). The mental anguish caused by regret, strenuous relationships between both teenage parents in case of denial of responsibility by the father, judgment from society and stigmatization and blame from friends and family. The teenager is thrust into adulthood without any preparations which could be a stressful situation trying to transition into motherhood without a strong support system (Price et.al., 2014). The teenage pregnancy therefore puts the physical and mental wellbeing of teenagers at risk which is also a danger to the unborn babies since it negatively affects them before and after birth.
Teenage pregnancy puts the parents at the risk of drug and substance abuse (Price et.al., 2014). In today’s judgmental society, the teen parents are faced with rejection, stigmatization, mocking and self-loathing. Drugs present an attractive way to escape from the misery and the harsh reality which compels even teenagers who would never have taken drugs in different circumstances to indulge in the vice (Brindis, 2017). The teenagers are also forced to work long hours to sustain the pregnancy which could compel them to take drugs to reduce the exhaustion and keep them awake for longer hours and increase their alertness at work (Brindis, 2017). In most cases, the men responsible for the pregnancy deny responsibility which leads to destitution where the young expectant mother lacks a strong support system which makes the idea of taking drugs more appealing (Cherry et.al. 2016). These social and emotional factors push teenagers off the edge leading them to become more susceptible to drug abuse than their teenage counterparts who are not going through the same predicament. Drug abuse is therefore a risk factor for teenage pregnancy.
If the declining trend in teenage pregnancies in America is to be sustained and the figures brought further down, preventive measures need to be put in place not only at personal levels for teens but also at a societal, family and government level (Brindis, 2017).Sex education is crucial in the fight against teenage pregnancy. Families should talk to their teenagers about sex, encourage abstinence and educate them on contraceptives and safe sex practices. Society can accomplish this through organizing teenage seminars, talks and interactive educative sessions in church and other social gatherings (Price et.al. 2014). The government through health care providers can educate teens through setting up screening and counseling sessions in schools, churches and other social places for teenagers (Cherry et.al., 2016). They should however create a teen friendly learning environment to encourage the teenagers’ participation. The how tos of sexual abuse should also be taught to teenagers so that they can seek medical attention immediately and receive treatments that will help in preventing pregnancies or even HIV transmission after rape (Weed et.al., 2015). The preparedness will help prevent teen pregnancies resulting from sexual abuse.
The use of contraceptives is another preventive measure that can be taken to prevent teen pregnancies (Price et.al., 2014). The teenagers themselves should use contraceptives if they can’t abstain and use them effectively to prevent backfiring of the birth control process (Brindis, 2017). The family and society units can take part in this preventive process through debunking the myths associated with the use of contraceptives to the teenagers and openly talk about them to dispel the embarrassment sometimes attached to the topic of sex and contraception (Cherry et.al., 2016). This will bring up a generation of fearless well informed teenagers who know how to take their reproductive health in their own hands (Brindis, 2017). The government should make contraceptives readily available to teenagers and ensure that they are well informed on when and how to use them (Weed et.al., 2015).Therefore, the family, society, the teenagers themselves and the government should not only disburse and embrace information on the use of contraceptives but they should also emphasize on the correct use to prevent pregnancies effectively.
Intervention is also crucial in reducing and stopping the rate of teenage pregnancies (Price et.al., 2014). Intervention policies and measures will go a long way in ensuring that the teenage pregnancy trend does not escalate to past heights but continues to decrease (Cherry et.al., 2016). The government should integrate sex education to the curriculum and take measures to ensure that the teachers follow it (Price et.al., 2014). The policy will empower teenagers to make educated and informed sexual choices which will keep them from getting teenage pregnancies. Service learning programs should also be introduced in the community to keep teenagers pre occupied and away from engaging in sexual activities. If the teenagers have avenues to spend their free time on, the chances of engaging in risky sexual behaviors will decrease (Brindis, 2017). Youth advancement programs where teenagers are mentored on money matters, careers, education and general life skills will help reduce their ignorance levels and increase their ambition. Once they become motivated they will be more determined to plan their future by practicing safe sex or abstaining to avoid teenage pregnancies from ruining their future dreams and aspirations (Cherry et.al., 2016). Medical based intervention programs will also help in the intervention process. Easily accessible, teenage friendly family planning and reproductive health medical services will encourage contraceptives uptake and encourage safe sex practices.
Therefore, prevention is cheaper than intervention since it entails taking steps towards avoiding the occurrence of the problem while intervention reduces the negative outcomes (Brindis, 2017). The costs of teenage pregnancy are felt by not only the teenagers but also their immediate families and friends. The average cost of bringing up a child for the first year is approximately $10,158 (Cherry et.al., 2016).This cost goes to the parents or the teenager’s support system considering that they don’t have a stable job or a steady source of income or even a medical plan to live on. This money is diverted from educating them for a better future and is instead used on the baby. Had the pregnancy been prevented, the baby’s mother or father would have completed school in time, got a job and had a brighter future (Brindis, 2017). There is also the public cost of raising the baby. The government spends millions of dollars on teenage pregnancies through the provision of child welfare, health and education plans as well as the economic costs. The funds could be used in other economic growth and development projects if the pregnancies were prevented until when the parents are ready.
In sum, teenage pregnancy is an issue that affects teenagers and everyone around them. In America, the number of teenage pregnancies has consistently dropped over the years as a result of contraceptives and other intervention programs. Teenage pregnancy poses the risks of drug abuse, mental and physical health deterioration as well as educational disruption. It can be prevented through contraception, sex education and keen parenting practices. Interventions can be done at societal level, health level or through the education curriculum. The preventive programs are less costly compared to the interventionist programs.
About Teen Pregnancy. (2016, April 26). Retrieved February 28, 2017, from https:// www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/about/
Brindis, C. D. (2017). Advancing the Field of Teenage Pregnancy Prevention through Community-Wide Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives. Journal of Adolescent Health, 60 (3). doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.11.027
Cherry, A., Baltag, V., & Dillon, M. (2016). International handbook on adolescent health and development: the public health response . Cham: Springer.
Price, S. K., El-Khoury, D., & Wonnum, S. (2014). Adolescent Pregnancy in the United States. International Handbook of Adolescent Pregnancy, 661-681. Doi: 10.1007/978-1-4899- 8026-7_38
Weed, K., Nicholson, J. S., & Farris, J. R. (2015). Teen pregnancy and parenting: rethinking the myths and misperceptions . Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.