Teenage pregnancy, also known as adolescent pregnancy has been a serious concern in the modern industrialized world with USA showing the highest incidence of this problem. Pregnancy during teenage is the most unexpected and undesirable event that leaves a serious imprint in the future of the teenagers.
About 7, 50,000 cases of teenage pregnancy are reported in US every year out of which 80% cases arise without wedlock. The percentage is higher in the black teenagers. UK records the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe. Teenage pregnancy rates touched its high at 1990, and after a showing a downside graph for more than a decade the number is again on the rise in US post 2005-2006. The number is most worrisome among the blacks and Hispanics. Emotional changes and socio-economic backgrounds of the teenagers coupled with lack of knowledge in contraception and safe sex practices are the causes of this social evil.
Alarming facts of teenage pregnancy
1. About 75% of millions of teenagers belonging to the age group of 15-16 become pregnant annually.
2. More than 80% teenage pregnancies are unplanned or unintended.
3. About 11% child births in US result due to teenage pregnancy.
4. About 29% teenage pregnancies end up in abortion.
5. Black Americans and Hispanics show higher rates of teenage pregnancies.
6. Most of the pregnant teenagers are school and college dropouts.
7. United States post higher rates of adolescent pregnancies than other highly developed countries.
Main causative factors behind teenage pregnancy
1. Lack of social and family values.
2. Feeling of insecurity due to broken family.
3. Excitement to indulge in sexual escapades.
4. Lack of sex education and use of contraceptives.
5. Frustration due to poor academic performance.
6. Poor economic condition of the family.
Steps to prevent teenage pregnancy
Role of the parents
Prevention steps regarding teenage pregnancy should be initiated from home by the parents. Parents should provide the affectionate and secured atmosphere at home for their adolescent kids. It is the parent’s duty to inculcate moral and social values in their teenage kids. Friendly guidance regarding dating and sex should be imparted at home. Parents should practice the same values at home and outside otherwise only preaching is not going to produce the desired outcome.
Abstinence from sex for teenagers
Abstinence from sex is the best way to avoid teenage pregnancy and other health hazards related to it. Parents and teachers also have a very important role in guiding the teenager kids properly to keep them away from sexual activities. It is necessary to keep a watch regarding the friends, acquaintances and whereabouts of the grown up kids that they do not land in unnecessary troubles. Growing teenagers should be imparted proper knowledge about the reproductive organs and their functions to create awareness regarding teenage pregnancy. Proper education and knowledge will prevent the teenager to indulge in risky sexual activities. Rate of unintended teenage pregnancies is quite high.
Although abstinence from sex is the best way to prevent adolescent pregnancies, still it would be impractical to accept that teenagers will abstain from sex. Proper knowledge of contraception should be imparted to the teenager kids at the right time to prevent such an undesirable outcome. If the parents are not comfortable enough to discuss the contraceptive methods openly with their kids, they should seek help of their family physician or other healthcare provider. They will guide the kids properly regarding the necessity and usage of condoms and other contraceptive methods.
Role of the school
Schools should actively take part in preventing this social evil. Schools can play a vital role in reducing teenage pregnancies teaching safe sex practices and use of contraceptives through proper sex education. This should also highlight the grave consequences like contacting sexually transmitted diseases and a doomed career. Schools should encourage group activities to prevent early dating or going for sexual escapades. Adolescent period brings in umpteen emotional and psychological changes in the kids. Schools can eradicate this social hazard to a great extent instilling Character Education in students. This inculcates security, high self esteem and confidence among the students and helps them to nurture a positive attitude towards life. Teenagers will show maturity in taking decisions, and this can drastically reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy. Mentally disturbed teenagers in the school should be spotted as early as possible, and it is the duty of the teachers to consult the guardians and counselors in time. A timely measure can prevent the teenagers from landing into such terrific problem.
Dealing with pregnant teens
If a teenager kid gets pregnant accidentally, the parents should handle the situation very carefully to secure the future of the kid. It will be utterly wrong to shun her or adopt a hostile attitude. The parents should be sympathetic towards the kid and guide her to the right direction. Seek the help of professional health care providers for proper neo- natal and post- natal check care. Consult career counselors for further education of your teenager. Gather right information regarding adoption and abortion to secure the future of your child and the new born. Many families adopt the new born child of teenage mothers and the biological mother can maintain contact with her kid apart from pursuing education and career. In case, the teenage mother turns out unfit for carrying full term pregnancy, medical termination of pregnancy may be required.
Risks of teenage pregnancy
1. A high percentage of teenage mothers give birth to premature babies and have higher chances of miscarriages due to underdeveloped reproductive organs.
2. Most pregnant teenager suffer from low self esteem and neglect pre natal and post natal cares. This leads to dangerous consequences.
3. Teenage mothers also carry a high risk of sexually transmitted infections.
4. The education and future of teenager mothers get doomed.
5. Teenage mothers suffer from severe mental and financial insecurity leading them to depression.
6. Pregnant teenagers are mostly likely to take up drinking and smoking.
7. Teenage pregnancy may lead to higher child mortality rates.
8. There are serious life threats to pregnant teenagers during delivery.
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