As far back as 1957 teenage pregnancy has been a standing issue. It may surprise some to learn that the teen birth rate was 50% higher in 1957 than it is now. Fifty years later, the pregnancy rate has fallen. Even so, the rate in the United States remains high and is still a problem that needs a solution. Teenagers who give birth before they are capable of raising a child place many burdens on themselves and their families, both financially and mentally. Teenage pregnancy has long lasting impacts on the mom’s health, performance in school, and the baby’s development.
However, teenage pregnancies can be avoided, or decreased, through prevention. This involves abstinence, use of contraceptives, and sex education. To get a better idea why teenage pregnancy is such a nationwide problem, here are some statistics: 56% of young women and 73% of young men today have had intercourse before age 18. Each year, nearly one million teenagers in the US become pregnant; 56% of teens who give birth keep their babies while 28% chose abortion. More than 40 % of women give birth before they reach 20 yrs old (Nolan and Mary, 2003).
These are alarming volumes of teenage pregnancies in the United States. “The Robin Hood Foundation estimates that adolescent childbearing costs the U. S taxpayers about $6. 9 billion a year. The cost show up in increased cost for: welfare and food stamp benefits $2. 2 billion, foster care $0. 9 billion, medical care expense $1. 5 billion”. (State Role p. 1). Teens pay a high price to be parents. Teens who give birth are less likely to finish high school and go on to college, thus lowering their potential to financial sustain themselves , thus relying on the state for assistance.
The majority of teenage pregnancies occur during their schooling, usually middle and high school. Having a baby often poses a challenge to the teenager’s education. They often have to drop out of school to raise their child. They may try to take online classes, but the stress on the mother makes it very difficult. The end result of trying to attend school or online classes are mothers not having a degree to find a good paying job, and supporting themselves and their child becomes harder and harder. If they chose to stay in school their grades drop, and they also face ridicule from their classmates.
There are also health risks involved in having a child at a young age. Depression, premature or prolonged labor, hypertension, emotional and physical distress, drug and alcohol abuse, and death are just some health problems the teen mom is at risk for. Teen moms also face the challenge of raising a child. Some questions a pregnant teen should ask herself are: Am I mature enough to raise a child? Am I financially stable? Am I willing to stay home with my child over going out with friends? Can I handle the stress? How will I finish school?
It is difficult to raise a child when both mother and father are kids themselves. The solution to the teen pregnancy crises lies in prevention-abstinence, sex education contraceptives. Abstinence is not getting involved in sexual intercourse; in other words “just say no”. Sex education provides teenagers information on sexual transmitted diseases also known as STD’S. This information is usually provided in schools. Contraceptives are also apart of prevention. Some forms of contraceptives are the pill, IUD, and condoms. Pregnancy has very important consequences for ten girls and teen boys, and their children.
Having a baby as a teen makes it much harder for a boy or girl to reach their goals, such as finishing high school, going on to college, getting a good job, or getting married when they grow up, and poses additional challenges to the child as well. It is the children of teen mothers who pay the highest price. When teen moms do not receive adequate parental care, their babies are at greater risk of low birth weight, infant mortality, and childhood health problems. The U. S teen pregnancy is declining; schools and the government have taken the lead to lower the teen pregnancy rate through sex education.
Nolan and Mary. Teenage Pegnancy. Chicago: Heinemann library.2003 “State Role in Preventing Teen pregnancy” 2000 .Retrieved February 28, 2010 www.nga.org/Files/pdf/000111PREGNANCY.pdf
“Welcome to pregnancy teen help” 2005. Retrieved February 28,2010 http://www.pregnantteenhelp.org/
“Teen Pregnancy” 2009. Retrieved February 21,2010
http://www.4parents.gov/sexrisky/teen_preg/teen_preg.html “Teenage pregnancy” 2010. Retrieved February 21,2010