Teenage Pregnancy research paper
Posted by admin as Research papers
Teenage Pregnancy research paper example:
One should start by saying that teenage pregnancy is a complex and controversial social issue in the USA of teenage females getting pregnant. In the underdeveloped countries the practice of having teenage pregnancies is not unique but rather is usual since most women are expected to be married and have children before they turn 20.
The problem for the society with teenage pregnancies is that teenagers are believed not to be ready emotionally and financially to raise their children even though they are indeed physiologically capable of producing offspring. Teenage girls when getting pregnant typically are involved in some form of school education and do depend on their parents and relatives at least to a certain degree. In most cases the father of the baby in teenage pregnancy is of similar age and thus is also financially and emotionally unprepared to raise a baby. Dependence on his parents is also the fact.
The greatest concern in teenage pregnancy is seen when the mother was below the age of consent when the child was conceived while the father was clearly above the age of consent.
If a teenage mother chooses not to keep the child she has two options:
- Abortion. The child is not even born and the pregnancy is interrupted (Edelman, 2003).
- Adoption. The child is born, yet the mother gives it away.
According to various researches in the USA more than 30% of teenage pregnancies result in abortions. At the same time the relationship between a teenage mother and a father usually turns into a single parent.
Speaking about some statistics, one needs to compare the teenage pregnancy rates between various countries. For instance, according to http://www.siecus.org/pubs/fact/fact0010.html in the USA in 1996 there were 86 teenage pregnancies per 1000 females, while in 2001, the figure fell to 47 teenage mothers per 1000 females. Other countries like Great Britain and Canada witness much lower rates with teenage pregnancies in 2001 being 30 and 32 per 1000 females correspondingly. Sweden in 2001, had witnessed only 10 teenage pregnancies per 1000 females while France witnessed 9 teenage pregnancies per 1000 teen females.
The differences between pregnancy rates in various countries certainly depend on various factors that can and do range from family backgrounds, education, economic and social perception of life and social norms viewed as good or bad by the teens. Still, there is not single consensus regarding what drives the teen pregnancies up or down in developed nations.
Speaking about various efforts to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, I would like to note the following:
a. Education. Health or sex education that teaches females and males about contraception and safe sexual behavior is believed to be able to quickly and efficiently reduce the number of pregnancies in the USA as well as other countries around the world. Countries of the European Union that already use progressive sex education at young age at school witness lowering rates of teenage pregnancies. For instance the Netherlands famous for its liberal views regarding marriage, sex and sexual education witnesses a much lower teenage pregnancy rate than the USA with its norms and puritan ethics. The proponents of early sex education in schools claim that providing all the needed information about sex, contraception and pregnancy to school children will allow them to make their own informed and educated choices and then decided what to do with their lives. For instance, teen girls will have a better understanding of their sex lives and mission and will not rush into sex life without properly realizing the consequences associated with sex and pregnancy. Informed teens will be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want to use contraception and whether or not they want to have children. In other words teen marriage will no longer be unplanned as they happen at present and will occur only when a teen girl decides to have a child at such an early date (Shah et al, 2003).
b. Abstinence. The conservatives in the USA and Europe believe that abstinence and chastity and sex after marriage is the only safe way to reduce teenage pregnancies. At the same time no study had confirmed that such abstinence programs worked effectively to prevent teenage pregnancies or decreased the overall teenage pregnancy rate as such. The religious groups on the other hand believe that teenagers should not be given any information on sexual development and contraception since it would lure them to try absolutely everything from putting on a condom to having sinful adulterous and promiscuous sex. Teens should on the other hand be shielded from any information regarding sex and sexual reproduction yet rather should be told all the negatives related to sex such as sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancies and what else that will prevent them from wanting to have sex. The current US president G. W. Bush and his administration at present effectively fund abstinence programs across the USA promulgating life without sex and reminding teens about dangers of sex before marriage.
It is important to point out the fact that teen pregnancy in the USA is believed to be a national epidemic since more and more teenage girls after giving birth keep their babies. It is believed to be extremely bad for a society costwise when children have children (Robinson, 2003).
It had been estimated that in the USA in 2001, more than 12 million teenagers engage in sexual activities. The average age of having sex is 16 years while in large cities like New York the average age of first sexual intercourse is lowered to 14 years.
Another interesting figure that needs to be mentioned here is that more white females get pregnant than any other females belonging to other races, it is the minority white females that get pregnant. While minorities account for about 30% of total teen population in the USA, they account for about 45% of total teen pregnancies and births. It is amazing yet other races catch up on giving birth to children in their teens.
Speaking about expectations for the future, one needs to remember that teenage mothers typically do not plan long-term and attempt to concentrate on their baby. On the contrary teenagers who plan long –term and expect a lot from their future delay pregnancy as much as possible and certainly for a longer period of time than those who lack hope and expectation of the future (Finkel et al, 2002).
One should also remember that there is always a reversed correlation between academic achievement and pregnancy in the USA. Poor academic performance usually increases the chances of having a sexual activity and thus pushes a teen females into the risk group of becoming a teen mother. It is believed that females are twice as likely to become teenage mothers if their basic skills were assessed as poor, while boys are three times as likely to become fathers if their basic skills in school were assessed as poor. On the contrary high education goals, high grades and strong will to succeed in life, typically contributes to the decreased sexual intercourses which in turn results in much lower instances of having unprotected sex and pregnancy.
Ignorance about reproduction and contraception is another factor that contributes to the increase of teenage pregnancy and places another burden on females and the society they live in. Misunderstanding and false assumptions regarding reproduction and contraception can lead to trial-and-error approach to exploring sexual life which in turn might result in an unwanted pregnancy. For instance, the majority of US teen females still believe that losing virginity without a condom will not result in a pregnancy, while others believe that one cannot get married if she did not have an orgasm. These misconceptions and erroneous ideas indeed contribute to improper contraception and increased instances of teen pregnancies (Jessor, R., & Jessor, 2002).
Family influence is a very important factor that can either decrease or increase the number of unplanned teenage pregnancies. Teen pregnancy almost always is associated with the low parent education in the USA. Girls who get pregnant in their teens oftentimes have mothers who gave births in their teens or abusive fathers. These parents of teenage mothers are viewed by the teenage mothers as having permissive attitude towards pregnancy and teenage unprotected sex. The cultural differences as present in various countries around the globe add up to the family influence. For instance, there is a cultural belief present in the black communities that children promote greater individual and family happiness and security. Those with children are likely to have greater marital success and a better job in the future.
Ultimately it is necessary to speak a few words about the consequences of teenage pregnancy on the mothers.
These consequence are shown below:
- Health. Female mothers under age of 16 are 4 times as likely to have health problems during pregnancy or immediately after it than females aged 20 to 24. Their children are likely to experience more problems than children of females aged 20 to 24 (Newcomb, 2001).
- Education. Usually only about 50% of teenage mother graduate from schools. That means that teenage mothers are least likely to enter college or university and get their Masters or Doctors degrees.
- Job. Teen mothers are likely to have only low-paying entry level jobs available to them since their level of education is below the average. It is no wonder that about 40% of all money paid by the US government to families with dependent children goes to families or single parents who had their child as a teenager.
In conclusion, I would like to note that the most recent government attempt to overcome teenage pregnancies was to teach disadvantaged children more carefully and to inform them about sexual contraception and impact on early pregnancy on the future of the teen mother. Still it is believed to be necessary for schools, families and the society to help teens understand the role of sex and sexual education rather than explore it on their own. Such early help and assistance as already adopted in many developed European nations is likely to decrease the number of teenage marriages and making it a mothers’ choice rather than happening by a surprise.