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Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
Adolescent pregnancies are a global problem but occur most often in poorer and marginalised communities. Many girls face considerable pressure to marry early and become mothers while they are still a child.
Teenage pregnancy increases when girls are denied the right to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and well-being.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
Girls must be able to make their own decisions about their bodies and futures and have access to appropriate healthcare services and education.
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WHAT CAUSES TEENAGE PREGNANCY?
Lack of information about sexual and reproductive health and rights
Inadequate access to services tailored to young people
Family, community and social pressure to marry
Child, early and forced marriage, which can be both a cause and a consequence
Lack of education or dropping out of school
OTHER FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO ADOLESCENT PREGNANCY
Approximately 90% of births to girls aged 15-19 in developing countries occur within early marriage where there is often an imbalance of power, no access to contraception and pressure on girls to prove their fertility.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
Factors such as parental income and the extent of a girl’s education also contribute. Girls who have received minimal education are 5 times more likely to become a mother than those with higher levels of education. Pregnant girls often drop out of school, limiting opportunities for future employment and perpetuating the cycle of poverty. In many cases, girls perceive pregnancy to be a better option than continuing their education.
In addition, the unique risks faced by girls during emergencies increase the chances of them becoming pregnant. Factors include the desire to compensate for the loss of a child, reduced access to information and contraception and increased sexual violence.
Teenage pregnancies and teenage motherhood are a cause for concern worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 16 million girls aging between 15 and 19 years and about one million girls younger than 15 years give birth every year . Nowadays, the vast majority of teenage pregnancies occur in low- and middle-income countries characterized by poor health-care services; therefore, complications during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum phase (e.g., 42 days after birth) are the second cause of death among girls aging between 15 and 19 years worldwide. Additionally, it is estimated that some three million teenage girls undergo unsafe abortions, which may result in consecutive reproductive problems or even death . Fifteen years ago, The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reported that worldwide every fifth child is born by an adolescent mother and 80% of these so-called teenage pregnancies occur in third-world countries . Although in traditional societies the majority of these pregnancies are socially desired, several studies have pointed out the enormous risks which are associated with teenage pregnancies [3, 4], such as anemia, preterm labor, urinary tract infections, preeclampsia, high rate of cesarean sections, preterm birth, and low birth weight infants and even maternal and newborn mortality. Teenage pregnancies, however, still also occur in high-income countries and despite much better medical care teenage pregnancies are also considered as risky and policy tries to avoid too early motherhood . This is not only due to medical problems, but first of all the social consequences of teenage motherhood. Therefore, the analyses of causes and consequences of teenage pregnancies have been the topic of much research and debate [5–7]. The present paper focuses on the biological, medical, and social aspects of teenage pregnancies with special respect to the situation of Austria, a country with exceptionally high standards in medical and social care.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
2. Biological basis of teenage pregnancy
A girl can conceive from sexual intercourse as early as she started to ovulate. Usually, the first ovulation takes place after the first menstrual bleeding, the menarche . Girls experience menarche at very different ages and it is quite difficult to estimate the mean age at menarche worldwide, because significant differences between individual countries, but also between subpopulations within a country, are observable . Commonly, the mean age at menarche is considered as 13 years, the median, however, as 14 years . Consequently today menarche occurs mainly in the first half of the second decade of life. From the viewpoint of human life history theory, this stage of life is called adolescence: Adolescence starts with pubertal hormonal changes such as the activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad-axis and can be divided into early and late adolescence. Early adolescence is defined as an age of 15 years and below, late adolescence means an age of 16–19 years. From the viewpoint of evolutionary biology, adolescence seems to be a very recent phenomenon . It is not found before Homo sapiens and may lead to a fitness advantage because it is a phase of socio-sexual maturation and of acquisition of social and economic skills which may increase reproductive success during later life. During early adolescence, successful reproduction was and is rare. The years following menarche are often characterized by anovulation and consequently the likelihood of successful conception is quite low . Furthermore, a mean age of menarche of 13 years is a quite recent phenomenon. Although the reliability of data concerning age at menarche in historical times has to be questioned, it can be assumed that over the past 180 years the age of menarche has fallen substantially across all developed countries . In the 1840s, the average age at menarche was 16.5 years in Europe; today, menarcheal onset occurs at the age of 12.5 on the average in Europe . This decline of menarcheal age is the consequence of the so-called secular acceleration trend, which was induced by improved living conditions, infection control, and an improvement of nutrition . In the 1990s, the secular trend in menarcheal age had slowed down or ended in many European countries and the United States .Adolescent Pregnancy Essay Better living conditions and sufficient food supply, however, resulted not only in earlier sexual maturation but also in an increase in the rate of ovulatory cycles soon after menarche. In other words, the risk of becoming pregnant shortly after menarche increased too. The secular trend, however, affected not only sexual maturation, on the other hand peak height velocity and the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as breast development take place much earlier and most adolescent girls often look like young ladies, long before they reach mental maturity [15, 16]. Consequently, these girls may feel that they are old enough to start with sexual activity. Although sexual freedom and activity patterns among adolescent girls differ markedly according to cultural and religious background, we have to be aware that today nearly half of the global population is less than 25 years old. Even the generation of adolescents, that is, individuals between 10 and 19 years , is the largest in our history. Worldwide, an increasing number of adolescents tend to develop increased interest in sexual activities and consequently we are faced with increasing rates of sexually transmitted diseases including human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) but also of unintended pregnancies and all associated social and medical risks of early childbearing among adolescent girls.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
3. Teenage motherhood from a historical viewpoint
From a historical point of view, teenage pregnancies are nothing new. Teenage pregnancies and teenage motherhood were considered as normal and often socially accepted in previous centuries and even during the twentieth century in Europe. It was absolutely common that first births took place during adolescence for much of human evolution and history. Girls married during adolescence and gave birth during their second decade of life. This kind of reproductive behavior was socially desired and considered as normal . It is documented that Hildegard of Vinzgouw, the second wife of Charlemagne, was about 14 years old when she delivered her first son in 772 AD. Another prominent example is Margaret Beauford, who was only 13 years old when she gave birth to Henry VII of England in 1457. Margaret Beaufort´s granddaughter Margaret Tudor gave birth to her first three children before her 19th birthday. These are only few historical examples; childbirth during the second decade of life is quite common even today. In 2008, there was much debate concerning the teenage motherhood of Bristol Palin, the daughter of Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate of the United States.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
Pregnancies during early adolescence (girls under the age of 15), however, have always been rare. This was mainly due to the biological fact that menarche and reproductive maturity were experienced much later in historical times than today. Furthermore, sexual activity of girls and young women was mainly related to marriage until the second half of the twentieth century . Today, the first sexual activity is initiated at a much younger age, and the use rate of contraception among this age group, however, is rather low [18, 19]. Therefore, the probability of pregnancies during teenage age increased worldwide during the second half of the twentieth century.
4. Teenage pregnancies as a worldwide phenomenon
Today, teenage pregnancies are a worldwide phenomenon. About 11% of all births worldwide are still girls aged 15–19 years old. According to the World Health Statistics 2014, the average global birth rate among 15–19 year olds is 49 per 1000 girls, whereas country rates range from 1 to 299 births per 1000 girls. Rates were highest in Sub-Saharan Africa . The 10 highest-risk countries for teenage motherhood are still Niger, Liberia, Mali, Chad, Afghanistan, Uganda, Malawi, Guinea, Mozambique, and the Central African Republic. In these countries, teenage birth rate (births per 1000 women aged 15–19) ranges from 233 in Niger to 132 in the Central African Republic. In Niger, more than 50% of teenage girls (15–19 years) are married. Approximately 25% of teenage girls gave birth between 15 and 19 years . This is mainly due to the fact that childbearing among teenagers is socially desired in some traditional societies and in developing countries . Therefore, a substantial proportion of teenage pregnancies and births are therefore intended in developing countries.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
In developed countries, by contrast, teenage birth rates are quite low and teenage motherhood is discouraged, debated as a public health problem and considered as a societal challenge. Nevertheless, there are considerable differences in teenage pregnancy rates between the different developed nations. The majority of teenage mothers (60%) are accounted for by the United States . The teenage birth rate of the United States is about four times that of the European Union (EU) average . Within the European Union, the highest teenage birth rates are found for UK with 27% and the new European Union members Bulgaria (33%), Romania (34%), and the Baltic States (21–23%) . Extraordinary high levels are also reported for Ukraine (38%), Macedonia (34%), Russia (31%), and Belarus (27%). By contrast, extremely low rates of teenage births are reported for Japan and Korea (less than 5%), for Switzerland (4%), Netherlands (5%), and Sweden (6%). Less than 15% were reported for Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Greece, Norway, Germany, and Austria .Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
However, we have to be aware that contained in all of these data sources the teenage birth rate focused on girls aged between 15 and 19 only. The extremely vulnerable group of teenage mothers younger than 15 years is not accounted for in the majority of statistics quoted. Singh  reported that 8–15% of girls in Cameroon, Liberia, Malawi, Niger, and Nigeria and 11% of the girls in Bangladesh had given birth before their 15th birthday. Pregnancy and birth among girls younger than 15 years are extremely risky; nevertheless, in some societies it is still common that girls marry in their teens and reproduce as early as possible mainly because early reproduction may enhance the girls´ low status in their new family . This social pressure to reproduce as early as possible increases the mortality rate among early adolescent girls such as in Bangladesh where the risk of maternal mortality may increase fivefold among mothers aging between 10 and 14 years in comparison to adult women .Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
5. Adverse effects of teenage pregnancies
Female reproduction has always been risky and doubtless pregnancies and births are, independent of maternal age, critical phases in the life of mother and fetus. Teenage pregnancies were seen as a special problem because adverse health consequences of teenage pregnancies were solely attributed to the young maternal age for a long time. The REPROSTAT project of the European Union declared teenage pregnancy rates as one of 18 core indicators for monitoring and describing reproductive health in the European Union [26, 27]. Teenage pregnancy is labeled alongside obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer rates as a major public health problem [5, 7, 28]; the classification of teenage pregnancies as a high-risk category and a major public health concern, however, is debated controversial today. Adverse medical effects of teenage pregnancies have been reported mainly in quite old studies dated back to the 1950s. At this time, teenage pregnancies were seen as obstetric problems per se, which are associated with an increased risk of anemia, preterm labor, urinary tract infections, hypertension, preeclampsia, a high rate of cesarean sections but also preterm birth, low birth weight, and intrauterine growth restriction [5, 15, 29–35]. These observations, however, are based on studies among social-deprived subpopulations and from third-world countries with very poor medical conditions [30, 36–38]. During the 1970s, this viewpoint of teenage pregnancies changed markedly. Studies from more economically advantaged clinics in developed countries yielded no increased obstetrical problems among teenage mothers compared with older mothers [32, 33, 39–42]. A recent study from Austria showed clearly that the obstetric outcome of adolescent pregnancies has remained favorable over the last 18 years. Cesarean section rate remained the same in the adolescents during the last 18 years, and the incidence of abnormally adherent or incomplete placentas decreased. The authors concluded that teenage motherhood is a social problem and not an obstetrical or a clinical one [43, 44]. Adverse health consequences and poor pregnancy outcome among teenage mothers seem not to be associated with low gynecological or chronological age of the mothers but with adverse life circumstances [4, 45] because the highest proportions of teenage pregnancies occur in most socioeconomically disadvantaged subpopulations or in developing countries. Therefore, in developed countries teenage pregnancies and teenage motherhood were no longer seen as medical risk but as a social problem because teenage motherhood has numerous deleterious social consequences for mother and child. Teenage motherhood is significantly associated with dropping out of school, low educational level, low income, poverty and single parenting, and/or belonging to ethnic minority groups [6, 34, 46]. What remains unknown is the extent to which these poor outcomes result from teenage pregnancies or from per se social disadvantages which affect the teenage mother already before pregnancy. It is really a chicken-egg debate because it remains unclear if social disadvantage is the reason or the result of teenage motherhood .Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
6. Strategies to decrease teenage pregnancy rates and improve teenage pregnancy outcome
Some recent studies have demonstrated that a well-acting social welfare system including appropriate psychosocial support and prenatal care improves the obstetric outcome in teenage mothers significantly [48–51]. In this case, teenage pregnancy outcome may be comparable with, or even better than, that in older mothers [4, 52]. The second goal is the efficient reduction of teenage pregnancies per se. The World Health Organization published guidelines in 2011 to prevent early pregnancies and reduce poor reproductive outcomes . The six main objectives were defined as follows:
reducing marriage before the age of 18;
creating understanding and support to reduce pregnancy before the age of 20;
increasing the use of contraception by adolescents at the risk of unintended pregnancy;Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
reducing coerced sex among adolescents;
reducing unsafe abortion among adolescents.
The main purpose of this program is to avoid getting pregnant. Unfortunately, sex education is lacking in many countries and consequently young girls are not aware about physiological basis of reproduction and contraceptives. Furthermore, many girls may feel too inhibited or ashamed to seek contraception services. On the other hand, contraceptives are sometimes too expensive or not widely or legally available. Consequently, the most important strategies to avoid teenage pregnancies are improved education of girls, the introduction or improvement of sexual education, and the availability of cheap and easy to use contraceptives [1, 53].
A cornerstone in reducing adolescent sexual-risk behaviors and promoting reproductive health is sex education programs. School-based programs have the potential to reach the majority of adolescents in developed countries and large number of adolescents in countries where school enrollment rates are high [54, 55]. European countries prefer school-based sex education because schools in industrialized countries are the only institution in these societies regularly attended by nearly 95% of all youth aged between 6 and 16 years . It is well documented that sex education programs may increase knowledge of human reproduction and methods of contraception . Developed countries with the lowest rates of teenage motherhood are characterized by advanced school-based sex education but also broad availability of contraceptives including postcoital emergency contraception, and a liberal abortion law [57–59]. Since not all adolescents are in school especially in developing countries, sex education programs have also to be implemented in clinics, community organizations, and youth-oriented community agencies.
7. Teenage motherhood in Austria
According to the Forbes list 2012, Austria is the 12th richest country in the world and according to the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita the third richest country in the European Union. The standard of living is exceptionally high in Austria; this is especially true of the social welfare system which includes public health service for all inhabitants on nearly equal conditions and universal health insurance coverage. Furthermore, 9 years of education are mandatory in Austria. After compulsory basic school for 4 years, pupils have the option to visit higher-learning institutions that prepare one for university for 8 or 9 years, or to go on to vocational-preparatory schools for 5 years. Since 1971, sex education is mandatory in all schools and is provided at the age of 10, 14, and 16 years. Beside school-based sex education programs, special outpatient departments for adolescents such as the so-called first love outpatient department in Vienna were implemented. Adolescents have access to these institutions free of charge. They get sex education there but also access to contraceptives. Contraceptives and even emergency contraceptives are available. In 1974, the so-called mother-child passport was introduced. The mother-child passport is a highly sophisticated system of care, which includes seven checkups during pregnancy starting at the eighth week of gestation and eight postnatal checkups of the child between birth and the fourth year of life . All checkups are free of charge and are performed in the gynecologist’s or pediatrician’s consulting rooms. Abortion has been fully legalized in 1974. Abortions can be performed on demand in hospitals, outpatient departments, and private practice for women whose pregnancies have not exceeded 12 weeks; however, abortions are not paid for by the government health system.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
As pointed out above during the early 1970s marked changes in public advances to improve reproductive health took place. The mother-child passport was introduced, abortion became legal, and sex educations in public schools became obligatory. At the same time, teenage motherhood started to decrease markedly. Unfortunately, only births and not pregnancies are recorded in Austria . Therefore, we have no information how many adolescent girls became pregnant because no official abortion statistics exist in Austria. Nevertheless as to be seen in Figure 1 from 1974 to 2015 the number of girls aging between 15 and 19 years, that is, older adolescents, who gave birth dropped down from 14,387 to 1698 . A marked decrease of motherhood was also observable for girls younger than 15 years (Figure 2). Among this early adolescent group, teenage motherhood dropped down from 66 births in 1974 to 15 births in 2015. During the same period, the mean age at first birth increased in Austria from 23.8 years in 1984 to 29.1 years in 2015  (see Figure 3). This reduction started with 1974 when abortions became fully legal. In order to prevent teenage pregnancies, several governmental and nongovernmental programs were developed. In a first step, special help desks for young girls were introduced. Young girls can contact gynecologists in special consulting hours at private practices and hospitals free of charge to get information regarding contraception, abortion but also medical care during pregnancy. One example is the “Young Mom” outpatient department of the Hospital “Göttlicher Heiland.” This hospital supports young girls during pregnancy and birth and provides advice after birth too. In general, Austrian girls older than 14 years have access to hormonal contraceptives without parental approval. In case of pregnancy girls older than 14, they may decide for abortion without approval by their parents. These private and governmental activities helped to reduce teenage motherhood markedly. Although teenage motherhood in Austria is not among the lowest in developed countries, the positive effects of mandatory sex education and legal abortions on teenage motherhood rates can be seen. On the other hand, social programs for young mothers were introduced. Teenage mother receives medical care during pregnancy, birth, and after birth free of charge. Additionally, social and financial support improved the situation for teenage mothers markedly. In detail, young mothers are supported to finish school and professional training. Consequently, teenage motherhood is not strongly associated with poverty in Austria. Medical and social care during pregnancy improved pregnancy outcome markedly. These positive effects could be shown in the Viennese teenage pregnancy project.
Absolute number of life birth among girls aging below 15 years in Austria between 1971 and 2015.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
The mean age at first birth between 1984 and 2015.
7.1. The Viennese teenage pregnancy project
The Viennese teenage pregnancy project focused on the impact of maternal age on birth outcome among Viennese primiparae women between 1985 and 1995. Furthermore, the effects of social support on the outcome of a small sample of teenage pregnancies were tested. The results of this project have already been published [62–65].
7.1.1. Study: maternal age and birth outcome
The first study was based on a data set of 10,240 singleton term births (39–41st gestational weeks) which took place at the largest birth clinic in Austria, the University Clinic for Gynecology and Obstetrics in Vienna between 1985 and 1995. In this study, the data of 10,231 women aging between 12 and 49 years (x = 25.7; standard deviation (SD) = 5.8) at the time of giving first birth and their newborns were analyzed. Exclusively healthy women originating from Austria or Central Europe with no registered maternal diseases before and during pregnancy who gave birth to a single infant were enrolled in the study. The following maternal characteristics were documented: Chronological age, age at menarche, gynecological age (years between menarche and conception), stature, prepregnancy weight, prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) (kg/m2), weight at the end of pregnancy, gestational weight gain, and the pelvic dimensions distantia spinarum (DSP) and distantia christarum (DCR). Immediately after birth, newborn weight, newborn length, head circumference, diameter fronto-occipitalis, and acromial circumference were taken directly from the newborn. A low birth weight was defined as <2500 g, a high birth weight (macrosomia) as >4000 g according to the recommendations of the WHO . In addition to anthropometric features, the 1- and the 5-min APGAR scores  for the evaluation of the newborn were determined. As obstetric characteristics, the mode of delivery, spontaneous versus cesarean section, and the intrauterine position of the infant at the time of delivery (head presentation, breech presentation, and transverse presentation) were documented. A more detailed description of data collection and statistical analyses has been published previously [62–64].Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
The data set of 10,240 single births was divided according to maternal age at the time of giving birth into five subgroups: Groups 1 and 2 corresponded to the definitions of teenage pregnancies. In detail, group 1 comprised 19 extremely young mothers aging between 12 and 14 years at the time of giving first birth, while group 2 comprised 1532 mothers aging between 15 and 19 years at the time of giving first birth. The majority of these teenage mothers gave birth at the ages of 18 and 19 years (see Figure 4). Group 3 contained 6460 mothers aged between 20 and 29 years, group 4 comprised 2090 women aging between 30 and 39 years, and group 5 comprised 130 women aging 40 years and above. Consequently, the percentage of teenage mothers was 15.2% of the whole sample; only 0.2% of the mothers were less than 15 years when giving birth. The main focus of this study laid on the 19 extremely young mothers aging between 12 and 14 years. As demonstrated in Table 1, youngest mothers (<15 years) exhibited the significantly lowest menarcheal age, the lowest gynecological age. Furthermore, these early adolescent girls were significantly shorter and lighter than all older age groups, even late adolescent mothers. Even the pelvic dimensions distantia spinarum and distantia christarum of early adolescent mothers were significantly smaller than those of older mothers. Furthermore, the youngest age group experienced the lowest gestational weight gain.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
Teen Pregnancy There is a big problem that is going on in the United States and it is teen pregnancy. The United States have the highest teen birth rates than any other western industrialized nations. Teen pregnancy doesn’t only affect the teen and the baby, it affects everyone around them including their family and the society around them. There are solutions to teen pregnancy that doesn’t only include the teen and their family, it includes the community. Teens need to know the risks and consequences of teen pregnancy. Teen pregnancy causes problems for the teen, the baby, and everybody around them. “Teen pregnancy costs society billions of dollars a year. There are nearly half a million children born to teen mothers each year and most of these mothers are unmarried, and many will end up poor and on welfare”. Since the teen mothers are more than likely going to end up poor and on welfare, the federal government spends billions of dollars a year on families with teen pregnancy. In the end, it is essentially affecting everybody because that is tax dollars going towards the welfare the federal government gives the families. When a teen has a baby, not only does the teen or the family pay for the baby, but so does the rest of the community. If the teen waits to have a child until she is older, she is more likely to not go on welfare because she will more likely have support, have more money, and she won’t have to raise the kid on her own (Cape). Teen mothers have a high risk
The current paper analyzes the common causes and overall consequences of teenage pregnancy. In order to analyze the issue, various information has been collected from reliable scholarly sources. According to most of the research and studies, peer pressure, lack of knowledge about safe sex, glamorization of teenage pregnancy, lack of family attention and drug/ alchohol addictions are among the major causes of teenage pregnancy. Also, in some cases, sexual harassment, rape, traditional customs become the reason of adolescent childbearing. The teenage pregnancy affects the teen mothers, their children, and the society in general. Teenage mothers usually have lower education and income, compared to those who delay their childbearing. Also, such teenage mothers suffer from various health and social problems. Moreover, poor standard of living and negative environment affects the physical and psychological development of a child. The cost of teenage pregnancy also cannot be ignored.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
Pregnancy is one of the wonderful periods of woman’s life, as she enjoys each and every moment of it in delightful anticipation to hold the child in her arms. Also, it brings positive atmosphere and joyful feeling among her close-ones. On the contrary, teenage pregnancy has been considered as a burden, not only to the girl, but also to her family. Arthur Campbell famously quoted, “The girl who has an illegitimate child at the age of 16 suddenly has 90 percent of her life’s script written for her” (Hoffman & Maynard, 2008). Moreover, the National Research Council Report has proved that the teenage mothers are at greater risk of economic and social detriment throughout their lives (Hoffman & Maynard, 2008). In a way, teenage pregnancy is the serious issue, which causes significant negative effects for teen parents, their children, and other family members. Overall, it creates a drastic impact on the society. In order to promote the well-being of child and lower the negative effects associated with the adolescent childbearing, it is necessary to adopt comprehensive plans and policies for reducing the rate of teenage pregnancies. The purpose of this paper is to analyze various causes and effects of teenage pregnancy.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
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Teenage pregnancy can be defined as pregnancy that occurs in young girls below the age of twenty, regardless of whether they are married or of adult age (Christensen and Rosen 1). Teenage pregnancy has been increasing at an alarming rate especially in the United States, Africa, and United Kingdom. It has become a of global concern because it not only affects the teenager and her family, but the society in general. An Increase in teenage pregnancy will in the end, lead to increased child poverty as well as degradation of the child’s well-being.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
Causes of teenage pregnancy
One of the major causes of teen pregnancy is absence of affectionate supervision from parents or guardians. In the current society, parents are either too busy or too permissive. Apart from the provision of basic needs, parents and guardians are not involved in emotional stability of the girl child.
Teenagers, especially girls go through intriguing situations and changes in which they need parental support to understand and accept the changes. In case they lack this affectionate supervision from their parents, they seek answers from boyfriends who “seem” to be giving the affection and attention that ends up with a pregnancy.
Another major cause of teenage pregnancy is peer pressure. As children grow to teenage hood, there is increased pressure to fit into certain peer groups. The peers may then push the girl into having sex in order to fit well in their group. In addition to this, the modern society allows the teenagers to have a lot of time and space with the opposite sex on their own, which results to instances of pregnancy at teenage hood.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
Other factors key to this concept is sexual abuse as well as the use of drugs and alcohol. Teenagers are exposed to alcohol and drugs making them lose control over their sexuality when drunk thus leading to pregnancies. Sexual abuse on the other hand occurs when the girls go for sex for pleasure without understanding the sexual impact. It is also evident when an adult sexually victimizes a teenage girl or a minor (Health Care Veda Ezine 1).
Lack of sex education in schools to teenage girls has also contributed to increased teen pregnancy. This is because it leads to the indulgent in sexual activities without understanding the possible effects. It is therefore important to let girls understand issues surrounding sex and their sexuality as well as the possible impacts.
This is the duty of teachers, religious, parents, and the entire society to impart the knowledge (Christensen and Rosen 1). On the other hand, the media has contributed to teenage pregnancy by advertising and showing programs, talk shows, as well as playing songs that advocate for sex. This makes teenagers practice what they see on the media thus ending up with pregnancies.Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
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In most cases, teenagers do not have the knowledge of using and accessing contraceptives, something that contributes to teenage pregnancies. Other factors such as socio-economic and environmental issues are instrumental in causing teenage pregnancies.
Effects of teenage pregnancy
The effects of teenage pregnancies are many and unpleasent. Besides getting pregnant, the teenage girls and their children are at risk of being infected with STDs including HIV/AIDS. Additionally, there are health implications associated with early sex and pregnancies such as obstetric fistula, infant death, maternal death, eclampsia, and cervical cancer. In addition, other complications come about due to the undeveloped pelvis of the teenage girl (Health Care Veda Ezine 1).Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
Teenage pregnancy also brings about physical and psychological trauma to the girl since she is faced with many dilemmas exposed to her by the family and the society. It also makes the parents feel ashamed because of their alleged negligence as viewed by the public or society (Christensen and Rosen 1). Lastly, teenage pregnancy has largely contributed to child poverty, since the girls are forced to drop out of school to take care of their babies.
It can thus be concluded that teenage pregnancy is a problem to the entire society. Moreover, since it largely caused by factors in the society, it is the obligation of every member of the society including religious leaders, parents, teachers, and the teenagers themselves to participate in addressing the issue.
Teenage pregnancy and early childbearing remain serious concerns in the US. Each year, almost 7.5% of all 15- to 19-year-old teen girls become pregnant in the US (Hoffman & Maynard, 2008). Among the developed countries, the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate. It is almost twice higher than that of the UK, four times higher than that of Germany and France, and over 10 times than that of Japan. In the US, 34% of girls get pregnant at least once, prior to the age of 20. Less than 33% of teen mothers complete their high school education and only 1.5% complete their college education. The maternal death rate for teen mothers is 2.5 times higher than for mature mothers from the age group of 20 to 24. Moreover, each year, the US taxpayers spend around $7 billion on teen pregnancies (Teen Pregnancy and Sex Education in America: Cause and Effect, n.d.).Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
Teenagers usually feel excessive pressure to fit in with their mates. Often teens come under the influence of their friends, while making decision about sexual relationship. Even when they are not fully prepared for any sexual relationship, they get involved in it to appear sophisticated and cool among their peers. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 29% of teenage pregnant girls have reported that they felt pressured to involve in sexual intercourse, and 33% pregnant teens have stated that though they were not ready for a sexual relationship, they went ahead, in order to avoid rejection or ridicule (Langham, 2010).
LACK OF FAMILY ATTENTION
Teenagers are more likely prone to the unintended pregnancy if they lack proper guidance from their parents. In today’s modern society, most of the parents have busy work-schedule, which prevent them from supporting and providing proper guidance to make sensible decision on sex-related issues. Also, poor family relationship, consideration of sex related topics and sex talks as a taboo, and conservative culture or tradition can restrict the teenagers from seeking sex education from their parents. Such teens are more likely turn to their friends for support, leading to misguidance or misconception about sexual relationship (Langham, 2010).
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE AND GLAMORIZATION OF PREGNANCY
Most of the teenagers are unaware of devastating consequences early parenthood can lead to. Teenagers, who do not have proper knowledge about safe sex, are more likely to have an unwanted pregnancy. According to the website, DailyRecord, often teens receive inappropriate information from videos, movies, or friends, which reflect on their attitude and approach towards the sex. Also, unsafe sex and incorrect information can increase the risk of various sexual diseases and infections. Moreover, today’s movie industry and mass media are encouraging teen pregnancy by glamorizing it. According to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” glamorization of teenage pregnant characters in movies promotes reckless sexual activities and pregnancy rates among the teenagers. Often teen pregnancy is viewed as an effective way to gain attention and reputation among the friends and society (Langham, 2010).
CULTURE AND TRADITION
Often culture and tradition play vital role in teenage pregnancy. It is customary in some customs and traditions for females to marry in early age and give birth soon after menstruation begins. Such customs are more identified in developing and poor countries. Marriage age in South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Western Asia is sixteen, eighteen, and nineteen years, respectively. Also, in most of the regions, young girls are subject to gender inequality and are denied of the right to choose life partner or decide when to marry (Leishman & Moir, 2007).Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
Sexual abuse or rape is one of the basic causes of unintended pregnancy. According to the reports of the Guttmacher Institute, around 43 to 62% of pregnant teens confirmed that they were sexually abused and almost two-thirds reported that their male partners are as old as 27. Around 5% of total teen pregnancies are the consequence of a rape (Langham, 2010).
According to the website, Love to Know, alcohol and drug addictions can cause pregnancy among teenagers. Often, teens experiment with alcohol and drugs. Drug addiction is contributing to about 75% pregnancies that occur between the age group of 14 to 21 years. Almost 91% of pregnant teenagers acknowledged that though they were drinking at the time, they did not pre-plan sex before drinking Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
CONSEQUENCES OF TEEN CHILDBEARING FOR MOTHERS
Early pregnancy significantly affects the lives of teen mothers. According to the data of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), social, educational, economical attainment differ remarkably between teenage and mature mothers. According to its report, teen mothers bear 1.3 more children on average than women who delay. Also, there are more teen mothers aged 14 to 30 who are single mothers, than those women who delay pregnancy. Loneliness, worries about future, and responsibilities in early age of physical and psychological development, trigger various mental disorders among teen mothers. They are prone to depression, chronic anxiety disorder, drugs, alcohol addiction, and suicidal behavior. Also, due to the lower educational attainment, teen mothers are less successful in their professional career. According to the NLSY, by age 30, the annual income of teen mothers are only 57% of the earnings of those who delay childbearing. In a way, it affects the standard of living of teen mothers and her family and increases their financial troubles (Hoffman & Maynard, 2008).Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, in most of the teenage pregnancy cases, critical medical complications occur. Often, teens do not receive sufficient medical care during the pregnancy, leading to pregnancy complications, such as anemia, high blood pressure, toxemia, premature birth of the baby, or placenta previa (Bodeeb, 2010).
CONSEQUENCES OF TEEN PREGNANCY FOR CHILDREN
Teenage pregnancy not only brings a wide range of problems to the mother, but also to her child. Pregnant teenagers are at greater risk of fetal distress, sudden infant death syndrome, and delivering a pre-mature baby. Even after the birth, the babies are at a higher risk of minor acute infections, accidental trauma, pre-mature complications, and poisoning. Children born to teenage mothers often suffer from social neglect, physical and mental abuse. Due to the poverty, such children do not receive adequate education, health care and other basic necessities. Parenting inexperience, poor family relationship and poverty affect the overall psychological and physical status of a child. Such children are prone to criminal and violent behaviors. Also, it has seen that children of teenage mothers are more likely to become teenage parents themselves (Understanding Cause and Effects of Teenage Pregnancy, 2012).Adolescent Pregnancy Essay
COST OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY
The economic costs of adolescent childbearing are endured not only by the teen mothers, but also by the taxpayers and the rest of the society. According to the official reports, in 2004, the average annual cost to US taxpayers of teenage pregnancies is an estimated $7.3 billion or $1445 per teen mother. Due to the lower productivity of teenage mothers and their children, children born to teen mothers contribute an estimate of $2.5 billion less annual income and greater consumption of taxes than if their mothers delayed childbearing. Moreover, teen pregnancy result into additional $1.58 billion for medical assistance of children, $1.84 billion to maintain laws and peace, and $2 billion for extra foster care costs each year in taxpayer expenditures (Hoffman & Maynard, 2008).
In conclusion, teenage pregnancy is a critical issue in today’s society, which is affecting overall society. Various reports and studies have regularly shown that teenage pregnancy causes significant negative effects on the health of both, the mother and child. Due to the poor educational qualification, teenage mothers often suffer from financial problems. Also, poor family relationship, inadequate health and education facilities, affect the physical and psychological development of their child, encouraging the criminal behavior and drug addiction among them. Teenage pregnancy causes extra burden to the taxpayers too. In a way, in order to maintain the health of the society, and develop happy and peaceful society, it is essential to take revolutionary steps to restrain growing numbers of teenage pregnancies in the country. Adolescent Pregnancy Essay