Research Paper Anthony Murphy RES/110 June 22, 2010 Gregory VD Smith Adolescent Pregnancy In this research paper I will explore the effects of adolescent pregnancy, prevention, and intervention of adolescent pregnancy on American society. The notion that education, abstinence, and parental involvement are vital in the reduction of adolescent pregnancies is the thesis of this paper. The research supports this thesis; prevention and intervention have contributed to the progress in reducing adolescent pregnancy over the last decade.There are numerous pressures in American society, a majority of these are directed toward teenagers. A result of these pressures placed on these adolescent teens, is the failure to make right decisions in certain situations. The most frequent situations adolescence teens find him or herself in is becoming a parent at a young age because of stress to have sex.
In the United States more than 40% of women become pregnant before they are 20 years old, and 50% of teenage pregnancies occur within the first six months of their initial intercourse experience (Dangal, 2006).According to a recent study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the United States has made strong progress in reducing teen pregnancy and birth rates, the teen pregnancy rate in the United States is still the highest among comparable countries. The United States adolescent birthrate exceeds that of most other western countries, even though American teenagers are no more sexually active than teenagers are in Canada or Europe (Dangal, 2005).
Recent statistics concerning the teen birthrates are alarming.The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the western world with approximately one million adolescents becoming pregnant every year (National Women’s Health Information Center). Almost one-sixth of all births in the United States are to teenage women.
Although pregnancy may occur in any teenager, some teens are at higher risk for unplanned pregnancy than others. There are many risk factors to adolescent pregnancy, these include factors in the community and the family such as parents’ lack of education, family marital isruption, lack of parental support, violent crime, unemployment, poor child rearing practice, poverty, and inappropriate sexual pressure or abuse. According to a 2004 study, eliminating exposure to abuse, violence, and family strife could prevent one-third of teenage pregnancies. As well as community and the family factors there are individual factors that increase the risk of adolescent pregnancy, a few of these individual factors are lack of religious affiliation, drug and alcohol use, engaging in hazardous behaviors, criminal behavior, poor educational performance, and low expectations for the future.Certain behaviors teenagers display act as predictors to early sexual activity: early dating, alcohol use, dropping out of school, lack of family and community support and relationships, a victim of sexual abuse and possessing a mother who was 19 years old or younger when she birthed her first child (Dangal, 2005). Community and family intervention are among some of the most affective way to prevent adolescent pregnancy.Keeping communication between parent teen open so that discussing sex is easier to bring up, the parent being approachable so that if a teenager had a question about sex or relationships, the parent could be ready to answer, teaching family values and helping teens see how much they are worth. Parents should encourage safe fun activities and sports and show them their strengths and keep education a top priority.
Parents need to know what their teenager is doing and where they like to hang out.Parents need to make their home an open place for their teenager’s friends and encourage fun activities at responsible and respected places. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics physicians should encourage teens to delay sexual activity, he or she also should ensure that all adolescents, regardless of his or her sexual activity, have access to birth control, including emergency contraception. Teenagers need access to birth control, including emergency contraception, to reduce rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.Abstinence-only intervention is the most prominent method, but its not the most effective.
Evidence does not support abstinence-only interventions as the best way to keep young people from unintended pregnancy. Despite recent studies that proved the effectiveness of abstinence-only intervention, abstinence remains the only sure way to prevent any type of adolescent pregnancy. There are numerous common medical issues associated with all pregnancies a few of these issues are, mplantation bleeding, delay or difference in menstruation, swollen breasts, tender breasts, fatigue and tiredness, nausea and morning sickness, backaches, headaches, frequent, urination, darkening of areolas, and food cravings.
There are numerous social and economic issues associated with adolescent pregnancy. The majority of adolescent mothers live at or below the poverty level. As a result of most adolescent mothers life status, they are approximately two years behind their peers in concluding their education, and are less likely to continue with education at all.Because adolescent mothers are less likely to finish their education that also limits the number of careers fields open to adolescent mothers and significantly reduces their chances of transcending out of poverty. Adolescent mothers are likely to become pregnant again within two years after their first pregnancy. Learning disabilities and behavior problems are common in children born to adolescent mothers.
The drop out rate among children born to adolescent mothers is higher than any other group of children, a possible reasons for this bad academic performance is a lack of motivation from the mother during the child’s early years. Younger female siblings of an adolescent mother often admire her and trust that the behaviors that made her a mother are absolutely acceptable. Younger brothers are more expected to get a girl pregnant at a young age. Sisters of adolescent mother are likely to engage in sexual intercourse without proper protection as an adolescent.The younger siblings of adolescent parents tend to focus less on school and more on social interaction with the opposite sex, this leads to lower employment rates and higher poverty levels among this group and continues the cycle of adolescent pregnancy in the United States.
In conclusion, we as a civilized society must realize that adolescent pregnancy is not a “one person issues,” and cannot be fixed with any one solution. Adolescent pregnancy not only causes a national problem it also creates even greater issues like increased poverty levels, sexual disorientation, and undereducated Americans.Even though the adolescent pregnancy rate in the United States has gone down significantly over the past decade, it (adolescent pregnancy) remains a major issue that continues to plague our communities and our society as a whole.
Adolescent pregnancy needs to be minimized if not prevented. Teen pregnancies carries extra health risks to the mother and the baby as well as social and economic issues. There will be less poverty, more opportunities for young men and women to complete their education or achieve other life goals, fewer abortions, and a stronger nation if adolescent pregnancy was prevented.