Teenage Pregnancy: Causes, Education, Prevention
Teenage pregnancy can be referred to as becoming pregnant by under aged girls who are between the age of 12 -18. These are females who become pregnant before reaching the legal age. Teenage pregnancy can occur as a result of fertility level of a person. Social and personal issues also lead to early pregnancy. Rates of teenage pregnancy range between 145 per 1000 in African countries to 2.5 per 1000 in other countries in the world (Wong 67). It is assumed that about 20% of this teenage pregnancy is planned for, while 80% just happen accidentally without much preparation and planning (Wong 68).
The first six months of sexually active teenager is always the worst period because about 30% of teenagers find themselves in the trap of becoming pregnant at a tender age; therefore, a good number of these females end up deciding on having abortion. Some of them might as well remain single mothers for the rest of their lives. Children of teenage parents are so much disadvantaged in that; they end up lacking proper parental care, encounter problems in education process, and have high likelihood of experiencing poverty at an early age of as low as 9. Teenage mothers are in great danger of having medical problems. In some countries, they may end up charged in courts end up in for dropping out of school. young mothers who leave schools because of early pregnancy find it very hard to acquire jobs, thus have to work so hard to meet their daily needs. Fathers who are still teenagers have less experience in the job market, hence earn very few cash to support their children(Hughes120).
Causes of teenage pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy is as a result of economic difficulties among many people in the world. Studies show that high rates of unemployment among youths and, poverty, i.e. economic hardships mean that very few teenagers are in position to terminate their pregnancy as a result of high medical costs that comes with abortion. However, teenagers who are employed and earn good money have no worry in becoming pregnant since they are in position to support their children, thus the increasing cases of early pregnancies among the youth (Cooley 45).
Another cause of teenage pregnancy is lack of motivation among teenagers. As much as these youths may not be willing to get pregnant, they seriously lack enough motivation not get pregnant at that tender age due to poverty and desperation. For instance, there is no better job for them, have financial hardships and thus no incentives to make them delay being mothers at a teenage level.
There is a problem with mixed information given to the teenagers. Adolescents get different education on sex matters and this leave them confused. For example, other cultures value sex so much just from an early age and do not care about the responsibilities that come with early pregnancies, while others at the same time have restrictions on the availability of sex materials and open debates and dialogue on sex issues. Risk issues such as poor performance in education, living with single parents and poverty also lead to teenage pregnancies (Humen 98). Another cause of early motherhood is the sexual abuses of young girls. Many young girls have become victims of rape cases by older men and this forces them to carry pregnancy burden at a very tender age.
Teenage pregnancy and Education
Teenage pregnancy is one of the major problems on the academic performance among the youth. This is because early motherhood affects academic achievements to both the mother and the child; therefore, it is necessary that the youth be fully educated on the issues concerning prevention of early pregnancy by experts dealing with youth education (Wolfe 137). These education initiatives should be made compulsory to all the teenagers because with current situation in the world, it is hard for someone to acquire a well paying and a better job without proper and higher academic qualifications. For example, children born by teenage mothers perform very poorly in their academics on measures of child growth; they are also at a high risk of dropping out schools, especially at high school level. It is thus logical to postulate that teenage pregnancy always results into negative effect on education. Encouraging teenagers to attend and be involved in school programs that motivate them as well as having academic achievements standards set for them will help reduce early motherhood. For instance, teenagers who stay in school are less likely to get pregnant at an early age unlike their counterparts who are not attending or staying in school. Therefore, teachers are encouraged to use tests, motivate participation of students in class so as to keep these teenagers in schools. They should also advise these youths on the values of attaining higher education such as degrees and even master (Miller 69).
Teenage pregnancy and Parents
The teenagers who are set free to talk about issues concerning sex with parents are assumed to delay getting pregnant until they are of legal age. They also learn more about the use of contraceptives incase they are involved in an act of sex. While youths who fear opening up to their parents are the ones who often become victims of early pregnancies, it is believed that lack of enough information and inadequate guidance on sex and pregnancies issues are the leading causes to the problem (Jonnes 56). Therefore, it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that their children have enough required information on sex and pregnancy matters in advance. They should begin this education at early stages of life of a child, to enable them grow up knowing what should be done, at what time, and how, so that they can take the necessary precautions. Through parental guidance to the teenagers, early pregnancies among the teenagers will be reduced by a significant margin. It should be noted that educating young children on sex issues does not motivate them to be involved in it, but it makes them be more knowledgeable, thus develop responsible behaviors in any action they take. Parents are also encouraged to make the subject of sex education part of their daily routine. They can use media channels like television programmes and magazines to pass the message to the youth.
Parents are advised to be there for children incase they become pregnant or they become young fathers, however difficult the situation may seem to be. They need to talk to them and offer them necessary support they need such as finances for medication.
Teenage pregnancy and children
Females who get pregnant at an early age pose a great danger to their children and also to themselves in many aspects of life. For example, poor upbringing, lack of proper educational opportunities, and increased vulnerability to diseases due to lack proper medical care. Pregnant teenagers therefore need enough support to help them overcome some of these obstacles. They need proper medical care, education on balance diet and other necessities to help them bear with the situation. Children from teenage mothers have high risk abandonment because their mothers have little information on how to take care of them. Moreover, these children are born out of frustrations that come from multiple negative socio-economic factors. These children undergo emotional disturbance because they often never come to see their fathers close to them like other normal children. They may be worried, sad, stressed and depressed because of this emotional disorientation. These children also suffer from social problems and have low self-esteem because they always feel neglected by one of their parents. Moreover, they seem to lack role model in parents, leading them to define their own ways of life survival, some of which are dangerous in long time perspective (Furstenberg 190).
Prevention measures for teenage pregnancy
Prevention of teenage pregnancy needs reinforcement of some critical measures. Teenagers need a lot of advice and encouragement by both their parents and teachers on issues concerning sex and pregnancy. This will encourage them to wait a little longer before they can start bearing children. Such measures include sex education to the youths. Proper and effective sex education can help reduce teenage pregnancy by reducing sexual activity and providing contraceptives to be used by those teenagers who can not completely abstain. Education program should be able to give the right information; build communication skills so as to be in position to resist pressure of having sex. It should also engage the teenagers in the process of learning through encouraging participation.
Provision of alternatives measures such as use of contraceptives by teenagers who are sexually active should be encouraged (Gunn 16). This should be done to both the male and female involved and the service should be extended to those who have low incomes and are not in position to afford the medication.
Teenage pregnancy should be viewed as a societal problem, and more importantly, as issue that affect both parents. Thus even boys should be in position to acquire information concerning teenage pregnancy prevention and have those services just as their female counterparts. The information provided to the youths about sexuality need to be consistent so as to help avoid confusion among teenagers on which way to follow. The information given by parents to their children should be the same as that provided by the teachers, and the media.
Teenage pregnancy is on the high rise, thus needs urgent attention so as to rescue the youth from the dilemma they are faced with. This can be achieved through provision of effective sex education to teenagers from the early ages. This will assist in that as they grow up into adolescence, they get equipped with adequate information on issues of sex and pregnancy, and ways on how to prevent not only early pregnancies, but also prevent themselves from the sexually transmitted diseases. All children should also be kept in schools and engaged in serious academic and co-curricula activities in order to minimize idleness that may lead sexual immoralities. The reason is that most of the students who stay in schools are at a lesser risk of becoming pregnant than their counterparts who stay at home.
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Furstenberg, Paula, & Gunn Brooks. The children of teenage mothers: patterns of Early childbearing in two generations. New York: Ellyn &company, 1990.
Gunn, Brooks. The children of adolescent mothers: physical, academic, and Psychological outcomes. Ontario, Canada: Developmental group Publishers, 1986.
Hughes, Tracy. Everything you need to know about teen pregnancy. New York: Rosen Pub. Group, 1999
Humen, Terry. How the children of teen mothers fare. Washington DC: Springer, 2005.
Jonnes, Dionne. Teenage pregnancy: developing strategies for change in the twenty First century. Transaction Publishers: Stanley, 1990.
Miller, Barbara. Teen Pregnancy & Poverty: The Economic Realities. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 1997.
Wolfe, Peterson. Children of early child bearers as young adults, in kids having kids: Economic costs and social costs of teen pregnancy. Washington DC: R.Maynard, 1997.
Wong, James. Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues University of Toronto Press: David Checkland, 1999.