Teen Pregnancy and the main causes of Teenage pregnancies
Teen pregnancy is human pregnancy in females who are below 20 years of age when the pregnancy ends. The pregnancies begin when the female is 19 and end when she is 20 are not counted in the teen pregnancy circle. Pregnancies can occur as early as age 12 for well-nourished girls because of the on-set of puberty and beginning of menstruation. Having a child can be challenging at any age but even more so for teens. Most Teenage pregnancies are unplanned and have negative impacts on the society, the teen and, when the pregnancy is carried to term, their children. Teenage pregnancies can lead to the teen: not completing school, dying when giving birth, to rely on public assistance, to become a poor adult and their children may have poor education and below average living conditions as compared to children who are born to adult parents.it is estimated that 3 of 10 teens will get pregnant before they finish highschool. In this essay we focus on the negative effects teen pregnancies have on the teen, the society and the child, the reasons that make most teens to fall into early unplanned pregnancies and how to prevent these teen pregnancies.
In 2012, 305, 388 children were born to females aged 15- 19 years, a live birth rate of 29. 4 per 1, 000 women in this age group. In 2013, 275, 000 children were born to women in the same age group in the U.S a ten percent drop in the number of pregnancies from 2012. However this number is still very high. Older teens of ages between 18- 19 years have higher pregnancy o than of 96.2 as compared to 30.1 of younger teens 15- 17 years and 1.1 of teens below 15 years. As of 2010, 26% of adolescent unwanted pregnancies end in abortion.
White teens have lower pregnancy rate (of 37.8 per 1000 as of 2010) than Hispanics (83.5per 1000) and blacks who have the highest (99.5 per 1000). From 2012-2013 data the birth rate had decreased 6% for the whites, 7% for the Hispanics and 5% for the blacks (center for disease control and prevention, 2014). The birth rate is higher in the rural areas and suburbs more than in the towns. 50% of girls who get pregnant and decide to take the pregnancy to term do not complete their highschool education and only 2% get a college degree by age 30, and about 25% get pregnant a second time before 24 months of their first pregnancy.
Causes of teenage pregnancy
The effects of teenage pregnancy especially on disadvantaged teens are undeniable. The major causes of these teenage pregnancies include:
- Teen alcohol and drug abuse
Alcohol has been shown to increase sexual activity no matter what age group is involved. The primary causes of drug and alcohol abuse among teens has been stressful events in life, lack of parental guidance and peer pressure.
Stressful events include parents divorce, death or drug abusing parents, failure in school or poverty. Separation and divorce causes anger, anxiety, frustration, depression, guilt and fear. Poor households may feel the need to force their children to work just to make both end meet especially in single parent households. As a result these teenagers end up in illegal behavior like drug abuse (kassandra, 2009).
Peer influence for the teenage friendships may be either negative or positive. The trouble starts brewing when the adolescent gets into bad company. Teenagers may feel the need to engage in high-risk behavior and drug abuse to be accepted and to be seen as “cool” by their peers. This need to belong may lead them into drugs and alcohol abuse (kassandra, 2009).
Parents who engage in alcohol and substance abuse may encourage their children to do the same thing seeing as most parents are their children’s role models and heroes. Some parents also neglect the need for affection love and company in their children leading their children into alcohol and unprotected sexual adventures (kassandra, 2009). 91% of pregnancies between teens aged 15-19 happened when they were drunk and were not planning to have sex at all.
- Sexual abuse, rape and early marriages
Around 62% of teenagers gave admitted that they were impregnated by adult males above the age of 27. Some teens are sexually molested in a drugged or drunken stupor. In Africa and Asia mostly children as young as 9 years old are married off rich tycoons due to poverty in the family or just customs that require girls to be married at an early age such that at age 20 girls already have 3- 5 children (Assad, 2013).
- Lack of proper sex education
Many teenagers have engaged in sexual activity due to lack of proper sex education about abstinence and use of contraceptives. Teens get incorrect information about the glamour and pleasure of sex from music videos, movies, pornography, sitcoms and friends. No one teaches them about pregnancy as a consequence of early unprotected sexual activity. According to stay teen up to 50% of teens did not consider the consequences of sex (V.T, 2014).
- Glamorization of pregnancy by the media
The media has played a huge role in teenage pregnancies because of how it glamourizes pregnancy in movies and even the news. The media makes pregnancy seem like a must have among women, which encourages teens to engaged in reckless sexual behavior. At teenage years girls are more focused about how the look and how their peers view them so if they feel pregnancy is more idolized by their peers they will go ahead and get pregnant. Nothing in the media tells them about the requirements and the huge burden a child is or could be in their life.
- Parent absenteeism
At the adolescent years teens need to feel the parental love and care. If the parents are too absent, too busy or not at all friendly they end up going out looking for the love the could not find at home. Most especially for girls who have not received their father’s love, they go out looking for any man that can love them leading to sex and pregnancy.
Effects of early pregnancy
- To the Mother
Teenage years are very important years for timely educational attainment. This attainment has become more crucial as the earning for the uneducated and unskilled has declined considerably. A young mother will have less time and energy to socialize, develop as an individual and develop healthy interpersonal relationships than their childless counter parts. These relationships are important for the future socio-economic well- being of the future life. It is difficult to dispute the fact that many teen mothers have limited options and opportunities. Due to the lack of proper education they become less legible for the labor market hence end up living a hand- to- mouth kind of life (Saul et al., 2008). However, teen mothers by age 35 have paid more in taxes and earned more in income and are now freed from their parenthood responsibilities and can now earn more and get employment based on experience as opposed to their age mates who waited and are now stuck with parental responsibilities and paying more taxes than they had earned in welfare (mike 2008).
According to the national campaign to fight teen pregnancy, one in four teenagers will get a second pregnancy in the next two years. These girls do not have the emotional and intellectual maturity to take care of another life so they end up hiding these pregnancies for months leading to lack of adequate pre natal care; dangerous for babies.
- To the child
The children of teen mothers are likely to be born with low birth weight predisposing them to life- long conditions. These children are also at the risk of language, socio- emotional and intellectual delays and developmental problems. Studies show these teenage mothers may not be able to provide for the emotional needs of their children like smiling touching ad hugging, most are most likely to show anger and hatred towards the child. Children born of a teen mom are more likely fail of Quit school and be mal- nutritioned due to poverty and lack of proper care. Girls are more likely to become teen mothers too and boys are more than likely to spend time in prison.
- To the father
The life- long earnings of the young father are likely to be less because he ends up providing for his child with the salary or wages of his youth. And later on when he has completed his and has a career he still has id provide for his child and any other he may have since most me do not marry the mother of their children from teenage hood (Saul et al., 2008).
- To the family
Study shows that siblings of young parents are less likely to put effort in studies and are more inclined to accept human sexuality, early employment and parenting and may end up having children themselves (Saul et al., 2008). The burden of raising the children when the mother goes back to school is laid upon the parents who should be resting after they have raised their own children.
How to prevent teenage pregnancies
- Encourage teen moms to continue their education to prevent second pregnancies.
- Encourage proper sex education about the consequences of unprotected sex: HIV/AIDS and other STIs as well as pregnancies.
- Discourage the myth that pregnancy is glamorous at all ages.
- Teach that abstinence is safest and is cool.
- Working with diverse communities to encourage them to allow girls to go to school and rich 20 years before they get married.
- Use evidence based teachings to teach students from the examples of teens that have had children while still in school.
- Encourage and teach about contraceptives for those teens that can’t wait to use to prevent pregnancies and diseases.