Teen pregnancy refers to pregnancy before the age of twenty. Teen pregnancies are usually unplanned, and refer to young females who are unmarried. Teenage pregnancies depend on a number of societal factors. This then illustrates the variance in the number of pregnancies between countries because of differences in intensity of sexual activity and sex education that is provided to teenagers. High teen births had had considerably great concern due to the risks that teen mothers are exposed to, and their future opportunities are lessened (Maynard, 1996).
Despite the fact that teen birth rate is climbing so highly after it had considerably slowed down, there are an estimated one million of teen pregnancies in the United States. Out of all these one million, 85% of these pregnancies are unplanned, and this increases the risk exposed to this population. The biggest risk for these teen mothers is delayed prenatal care where an estimated 7.2 % percent never receive prenatal care at all. Ultimately, subject of teen pregnancy has declined in the United Kingdom following the increased use of contraceptives by the sexually active teens. Experts also attribute this decrease to the decrease in sexual activity by adolescents. These studies show that the United States has a higher teen birth rate than over fifty developing nations (Kirby, 1997).
The reason for this delayed care is the delayed pregnancy testing or denial. Fear can also result in delayed care because these teens fear telling their friends and parents about the condition. Because a teen’s body is still in the process of growth, there is need for a special nutrition program for the teens. This is what can be the initial stage in prenatal care. This is done by doctors as well as midwives. While teen mothers face forbidding realities regarding the consequences of teen pregnancy, this is never the picture to be painted against them. These teens have the ability of having a very healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. This can be realized through proper diet by the mothers and early prenatal care that involves proper screening for potential risks (Kirby, 1999).
In many societies, early marriages and gender mainstreaming are the factors that determine the rate of teenage pregnancy. In many African countries in the sub-Saharan region, teenage pregnancy is seen as a blessing because it proofs the fertility of a young woman. In the Indian context, early marriages and pregnancies are common in rural areas in comparison to urban areas. The absence of education on safe sex is a major cause of teenage pregnancy. There is no education on methods of birth control. They also do not know how to combat with peers who compel the young girls into sex before they are set. Many teens do not have the cognition towards facts about sexuality. Teens have reported that they are forced into sex by their boyfriends at a very young age. There is need for them to be taught on the strategies of saying no to this pressure (Macleod, 1999).
In many countries, most men practice sexual intercourse after the age of twenty for their first time. This is opposite of what happens in western developed countries in which men experience the same earlier than the underdeveloped countries that have very conservative cultures. Countries with low teenage pregnancies have been seen to accept teenage relationships but adequate provision on information about sexuality is provided sufficiently (Macleod, 1999).
Drugs and alcohol may significantly hearten unintended sexual activity. If this is true, there can be debate on whether the drugs make these teenagers to engage in sexual activity or those who use these drugs are likely to engage in the riskier behavior. However, this connection does not entail causation. The drugs with a direct linkage to teenage pregnancy are alcohol, cannabis among other drugs common to the teenagers. Other drugs have the least drive to teenage pregnancy. These include heroin, morphine among other drugs (Macleod, 1999).
Teenagers also lack information and access to reliable methods of preventing pregnancy. This may be because they fear or are embarrassed to seek such information. However, contraception for the teenagers poses a huge challenge to the clinician. Young women are said to think of contraception as ‘the pill’ and condom only. They do not know other methods of contraception. Negative stories about contraception have been another influence that has greatly affected these teenagers. Second-hand information from the media and other sources about contraception has led to limited use of contraception leading to teenage pregnancy (Kirby, 1999).
Studies in South Africa have established that 11–20% of teenage pregnancies are a direct consequence of rape, whereas about 60% of teen mothers had unwanted sexual practices foregoing their pregnancy. Prior to age 15, a greater part of first-intercourse experiences amongst females is reported to be non-voluntary. One in every five fathers admitted to have forced their daughters into sex with them during the study. Early childhood sexual abuse attributes to succeeding teenage pregnancies in several industrialized countries (Maynard, 1996).
Risks and Outcomes
Teenage pregnancy and childbearing are said to have unpleasant long-term consequences for the teenage parents as well as their children. For instance, research activities have showed that when younger adolescents give birth, there is likelihood that they might not complete their high school education. They are also likely to get more children than their counterparts who do not have children during their teenage. Their children are likely to experience poor health upshots, lower education accomplishment and a higher rate of teenage pregnancy just like their mothers. Teenage pregnancies have extensive financially viable consequences for a society due to the increased welfare costs (Ventura et al. 1998).
Teenagers who engage in early sexual activities are in many cases involved in drug abuse such as alcohol consumption. As a result, they engage in unprotected sex leading to pregnancy. After they are pregnant, many of these teenagers do not refrain from the habit of alcohol consumption because a number do not seek prenatal care. The use of these drugs amounts in complicated pregnancies that increase the likelihood of premature birth or even miscarriages where applicable. This follows other complications that later become permanent health problems. Premature birth, which usually comes handy with low birth weight, creates another series of problems. These include brain harm, bodily disability and many other complications.
Debates on Teen Pregnancy
There have been reasonable debates about teen pregnancy. These debates contemplate mainly on the principles and ethics. Abstinence has been attributed as the best way to curb this problem affecting teens. They scare the teens to delay sexual activity due to the consequences. They quickly outline the failures of contraceptives. Teen pregnancies have always been associated with sex. Many debates have established that chastity and purity helps to curb teen pregnancy. However, arguments say that having heterosexual monogamous sex in marriage helps in showing integrity. It leaves out the case of single mothers, single fathers and gay couples (Armstrong, 2001).
Due to legalized abortion, there has been a debate that it is not accurate to condemn teenage sexual activity when all of them are at liberty to have kids when they want. This attributes to a million births every year that go unquestioned. Therefore, lectures on chastity, purity and patience cannot help curb teen pregnancy because they all sound like any other topic in the school curriculum. This means that teen birth rate has no connection with contraceptives or sex due to the permissive nature of our societies (Armstrong, 2001).
In many cases, teachers and other counselors may bring the topic of ‘good girls and bad girls’. This means that if good girls exist, there should bad girls too. It is known that the bad girls do not have very important fathers and therefore get worse grades that eventfully lead them to getting pregnant due to ignorance. The debate comes in to ask why only the good girls get the warning of teenage pregnancy and resultant risks. This also shows discrimination in terms of the kind of information given to many.
Many teenagers who get pregnant originate from poor backgrounds. This means that they come from poor financial families. This notion does not point out that teenage pregnancy causes poverty. Many studies have pointed out that teenage pregnancies have propelled many to poverty. Being poor, therefore, causes women to have children earlier for a number of reasons that are either cultural or physiological, depending on the context of the argument. In many states, it has been seen that sexual abuse in the leading contribution to teenage pregnancy. This is because teenage pregnancy goes hand in hand with sexual abuse. Ninety percent of men leave the pregnant teen. This is what causes poverty and not the fact of the pregnancy (Maynard, 1996).
There is no more superior demonstration of fearfulness than the abandonment of our schools in educating about sexuality. Self-denial, a horrific and disgraceful breakdown, shows how much we extremely dislike our youth. We compose them to fear sex, a souvenir they might spend most of their life charming in. The pace of pregnancy when contraceptives are used properly and the STD rate than when contraceptives are used appropriately is miniscule when judged against the dangers of adolescent driving, living in soaring crime areas, recommendation drugs, and custody of firearms in the home.
Many teenage girls have escaped their homes for recruitment in the defense forces or any kind of engagement that keeps them off their families, which they consider a nightmare. They do this to escape both physical and sexual abuse. At the same time, a pregnancy for this kind of girl looks like the best escape strategy from this kind of abuse by parents and guardians. After the sex abuse stops, due to her pregnancy, she then begins to get greater attention in terms of the healthcare given as well as the improved diet, which she was denied earlier. Therefore, teen pregnancy is an adult issue that needs to be addressed only by adults. It is created by adults, driven by adults and adults are the only ones who can fix the problem. Other arguments have been seen to hold the adult blameless (Crockenberg, 1987).
Research activities in Britain and other related countries have showed that teenage pregnancy and parenthood are two things that require adequate investigation in terms of their relationship. The main topics that have been covered in many surveys include research on young people’s sexual activities and behaviors, sources of information on sex and relationships, who is at risk of becoming a teenage mother or father and how to support teenagers. The most recent survey on teenage pregnancy attempts to report on many matters regarding teenage pregnancy. Arline Geronimus, a researcher in teenage pregnancy, says that many factors contributing to teenage pregnancies are immeasurable. In her survey she compared two sisters; one had a child in teenage and the other after teenage. When the data for these two sisters was analyzed, the study found out that the factors that led to both pregnancies were similar for the sisters (Ventura, 1998).
This kind of research has been categorized as one of the most difficult research activities to be carried out. Interpretation of the result gives very muddy results that are not easy to present. Discussions of the results of this study tend to bring to a close that early informing about the undesirable effects unswervingly attributable to teenager childbearing overstated the disadvantages distinguished. The use of contraceptives as well as the activity of the teenagers cannot clearly tell the real causes of teenage pregnancies. Other surveys say that the young ones receive very little or no information regarding sex and sexuality. This leads to peer influence because the young boys and girls do not have a foundation of thought that would make them overcome the pressures of teenage sex (Brook, 1998).
Teenage pregnancy has been a disaster in itself, affecting the largest number of young girls globally. The causes have been attributed to teenage care that is free from guidance and counseling. Societal permissiveness has been another gateway that has caused the many pregnancies that are visible today. Whereas the teenagers have been blamed for getting pregnant at an early age, adults have been blamed for all the problems that the teenagers go through. This is because they have denied tem the necessary information that would be the basis of their actions. Sexual abuse and other forms of abuse have propelled the young girls to find pregnancy as the best scapegoat. Debates are ongoing and research findings have not exclusively outlined that teenage pregnancies have an origin that differs for every child. Ultimately, teenage pregnancies are a result of irresponsible sexual activity.