Facts About Teen Pregnancy
- 3 in 10 American teen girls are estimated to get pregnant at least once before they are 20 years old. That's approximately 750,000 teen pregnancies every year.
- The United States has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the industrialized world.
- More than 80$ of teenage pregnancies are unintended.
- Parenthood is the prime reason that teen girls drop out of school. More than 50% of teen mothers never graduate from high school.
- Less than 2% of teen moms obtain a college degree.
- Nearly 25% of the teen moms give birth to a second child within 24 months of their first baby.
- Teens who are sexually active and don't utilize contraceptives have 90% chances of getting pregnant within a year.
- In a survey, 14% of the teen males and 22% of the teen females stated that they hadn't used any contraceptive the first time they had sex.
- Growing up in foster care is also associated with higher rates of teen pregnancy.
- Not all teen pregnancies conclude in someone giving birth.
- Hispanic, black and native Americans have a more substantial likelihood to get pregnant as teens than the white women.
- 8 out of 10 teen dads don't marry the mother of the child.
- If your partner is much older than you, you're more likely to become pregnant than those with partners closer in age.
- Studies suggest that sex education programs may help prevent teen pregnancies.
What Causes Teen Pregnancy?
- Lack of knowledge about sexual/reproductive health and basic rights
- Family, community and social pressure to marry
- Poor access to services tailored to young people
- Sexual abuse
- Lack of proper education or dropping out of school
- Child/early/forced marriage, which can be both a cause and an effect
Other Important Factors Contributing To Teen Pregnancy
About 90% of teen pregnancies occur early where there is abuse of power, no access to contraceptives and stress on girls to prove their fertility.
Factors such as the parent's income and the extent to which a girl is educated also plays a crucial role. Girls who have obtained minimal education are five times more likely to become pregnant than those with higher education levels.
Moreover, the distinct risks faced by teen girls during emergencies raise the chances of becoming pregnant. Such factors include the following:
- Limited access to information and contraception
- Increased sexual violence
- Desire to compensate for the loss of a child
What Are The Signs Of Pregnancy?
Following is the complete list of pregnancy signs:
- A missed menstrual cycle
- Sudden, intense aversion to some foods, especially meats or fried, fatty foods
- Nausea or vomiting, which is generally termed as "morning sickness", although it may happen all through the day
- Sore nipples or breast
- The frequent urge of urination
- Unusual fatigue
- Unusual mood swings
If you notice these signs, purchase a home pregnancy kit and take the test. You can buy these kits from your nearest drug stores.
Strategies & Approaches For Prevention
Specific strategies and approaches are curated for the following groups:
The only definite way to avoid unwanted pregnancies is to avoid having sexual intercourse. For sexually active teens, using effective contraceptive for each time they have sex could prevent the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Some of such contraceptives include condoms, birth control pills, hormonal patch, hormonal vaginal ring, intrauterine devices etc. Besides using any contraceptives, use condoms appropriately every time you have sex, from the start to the end, to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Parents can help prevent unwanted teen pregnancy by considering the following tips:
- Start communicating with your teen child about changes to anticipate during puberty; your anticipations for dating and contraception and condom use; how to prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections; and how to maintain a healthy relationship. Talk early and often, and be prepared to your teen and answer questions that might come up.
- Be clear and specific about your rules and family values about when you can start dating and your anticipations over dating and sexual behaviour. If you think that a teen is too young to get involved in a close relationship, convey that. Or, if you believe that one should not have sexual intercourse until one gets married, communicate and explain your point.
- It might seem as if your adolescent child is ignoring you or they don't want to hear what you're saying. Despite their reaction, some of the things you convey remain deep down in their heart. Many surveys have been conducted on teens which indicates that teens want to talk with their parents on their sex-related questions. It is also seen that parents influence their decisions more than anyone else.
- Get to know about your children's friends and their families. Also pay attention to the type of music they are listening to, kind of videos and movies they are watching as it could be a reason for your child's negative influence.
- Dating is prevalent during adolescence, and can even be a crucial component of healthy development. But serious dating can lead to some risky sexual behaviours and therefore, you need to discourage early dating.
- Some teens are more comfortable asking questions to a health care provider rather than their parents. So, ensure that your child has frequent visits with a healthcare professional.
Healthcare providers should do the following:
- Screen and counsel the teens for sexual risk behaviours, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and dating violence.
- Provide them with adequate sexual and reproductive healthcare services.
- Make them aware of how to have protected sex and keep sexually transmitted infections at bay.
The place where we dwell, work and play has a significant impact on your health. Whether or not you have a safe playground or sidewalk, impressive schools, access to quality healthcare, and job opportunities can all affect the notions of your child. Communities can do the following:
- Execute an evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention program. Identify a program that is known to be effective in preventing teen pregnancy, STDs, and behavioural risks, and that fits the requirements of your community.
- Locate HHS-funded teen pregnancy prevention programs in your area
- Motivate schools and organizations to use useful tools and resources and training materials. The right tools may help reduce sexual risk behaviours among teens.
How Does Teenage Pregnancy Affect Teen Mothers?
Studies suggest that teen mothers are more likely to develop pregnancy-related high blood pressure (preeclampsia) and its complications than average-aged mothers. There can be some risks for the babies as well, including premature birth or low birth weight. Preeclampsia may even damage the kidneys and can be lethal for either the mother or the baby.
Studies show that teen moms are more likely to become anaemic. Anaemia is a condition that lowers the count of red blood cells which can make you fatigued and impact the baby's development.
In the United States of America, giving birth is very safe; still, it can be dangerous for teen moms. WHO suggests that most complications during pregnancy leading to death, happens in the mothers ageing between 15 years and 19 years.
If you get pregnant as a teen, you may feel worried and frightened to tell anyone. Talk to someone, get required help and support - this will prevent you from getting depressed or isolated.
Several teen mothers drop out of school or never complete their education. It implies that a lot of women who get pregnant at an early age may be living in poverty for their whole life.
It is also seen that women who get pregnant at an early age are more likely to have one more baby within just 24 months. It is the reason women with limited knowledge and more than one babies find it very challenging to earn a living.
How Does Teenage Pregnancy Affect The Babies?
Generally, a healthy pregnancy lasts for about 40 weeks. A baby that takes birth before 37 weeks is called premature. Several studies suggest that teen moms are more likely to have premature births than others.
The bodies and brains of premature babies are not developed. Based on how early a baby is, this can bring about certain lifelong conditions or disabilities.
Also, most of the premature babies are underweight, which may affect breathing and feeding. It is also a possibility that premature babies when they grow up as adults, develop conditions like diabetes or heart disease. It is observed that children who were born underweight may have one or the other learning disabilities.
In addition to all the issues mentioned above, babies born to teen moms are at considerable risk for infant mortality rate.
How Does Teenage Pregnancy Affect Teen Fathers?
It is complicated to father a child as a teenager and can be a life-changing event. Most of the teen fathers get pregnant and never marry the child's mother.
Although teen fathers don't need to bother about the health effects of pregnancy and childbirth, they may face similar challenges in continuing studies or to earn a better living.
State laws differ on the legal age for people to have sexual intercourse. An arrest or legal action against sexually active teens can have annihilating implications. A young man may be needed to register as a sex offender if he has reached the legal age (age 18 years in some states) and his partner has not (age 17 years or under).
What Are All Alternatives There For Pregnant Teens?
- Abortion: Abortion is the first that will strike your mind, and is also the most recommended one. It is comparatively less risky than continuing a full pregnancy, and the good news is that it will not affect your future fertility. The sooner you take this decision in your pregnancy, the safer it will be.
- Adoption: One feasible choice for teen pregnancy is adoption. There are private and public agencies that work with teen mothers to identify a suitable home for the new baby. Many couples experience infertility issues and cannot conceive a child of their own. Adoption is one of the alternatives these couples often choose to become parents.
- Keeping The Baby: If either of the parents chooses to keep the baby, many liabilities come with a full-time pregnancy and raising a child. It is significant that the mother frequently visits her doctors and ensures that she and the baby inside her womb are healthy.
A full-term pregnancy lasts about nine months and can be physically and mentally demanding. Transformations in the mother's hormones and body during each trimester of pregnancy are considerable.
Also, prenatal care is essential to make sure the baby is born with minimal complications. Raising a child is highly time-consuming. To provide a child with the proper requirements for a well-balanced lifestyle, a parent will have to devote plenty of his or her own time to care for the child.
If both parents are engaged, the time and support it takes to raise a child may be divided amongst each parent. Ensuring the child is given a well-balanced life that may incorporate a healthy diet, adequate attention, education, extracurricular activities, proper clothing, shelter, and mental stability until they reach adulthood is a vast but productive responsibility.
Raising a child can be admired and accepted by many as one of their greatest achievements. Having a child to love and care for, who one day will give back the love and care, can be satisfying and delightful if the responsibilities are retained.
Tags: Teenage Pregnancy Prevention, Facts And Myths About Teenage Pregnancy, Reality Of Teenage Pregnancy
Taylor writes for the Pregnancy and Baby Care section of the blog and has a knack for everything creative. She holds a Diploma of Medicine in Nursing & Paramedical and is known to add innovation in everything she does. An ardent lover of coffee, Taylor makes sure to go at a coffee tasting spree at least twice a month.