Teenage pregnancy is defined as an unintended pregnancy during adolescence. Approximately 750,000 of 15- to 19-year-olds become pregnant each year, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, though many teenagers do not believe that they will get pregnant if they engage in sexual activity.
During adolescence, teenagers often feel pressure to make friends and fit in with their peers. Many times these teens let their friends influence their decision to have sex even when they do not fully understand the consequences associated with the act. Teenagers have sex as a way to appear cool and sophisticated, but in some cases the end result is an unplanned teen pregnancy. The Kaiser Family Foundation states that more than 29 percent of pregnant teens reported that they felt pressured to have sex, and 33 percent of pregnant teens stated that they felt that they were not ready for a sexual relationship, but proceeded anyway because they feared ridicule or rejection.
Teen girls are more likely to get pregnant if the have limited or no guidance from their parents. Many parents have busy lives that prevent them from providing the guidance and support that their young teenagers need to make good decisions on issues such as sex, according to the website Parent Dish. When a teen does not feel that she can talk to her parents about sex either because they forbid sex talk or because they are not around, she will more than likely turn to friends for direction on whether or not to have sex, resulting in misinformation and possible teen pregnancy.
The movie industry and the media contribute to teenage pregnancy by glamorizing teen pregnancy in news stories and movies. Movies that depict teen pregnancy as something to be desired encourage teens to engage in reckless sexual activity, according to ABC's "Good Morning America." During adolescence, teens become more focused on their appearance and how their peers perceive them. They want to be seen as part of the group, so if teen pregnancy is viewed as acceptable in their school or amongst their friends, they may seek to become pregnant as a way to gain social acceptance.
Teenagers who are uneducated about sex are more likely to have an unintended pregnancy. Some teens do not fully understand the biological and emotional aspects associated with having sex, according to DailyRecord.co.uk. These teens may get incorrect information from friends, videos, sitcoms and/or movies. Many times, teens do not have the knowledge needed to make informed and responsible decisions about whether or not to engage in sexual activity that can alter their life.
Teens can become pregnant as a result of sexual abuse or rape. The Guttmacher Institute states that between 43 and 62 percent of teens acknowledge that they were impregnated by an adult male, and two-thirds report that their babies' fathers are as old as 27. Approximately 5 percent of all teen births are the result of a rape.
Teen drinking can cause an unexpected pregnancy, according to the website Love to Know. Many teens experiment with drugs and alcohol. Drinking lowers a teen’s ability to control her impulses, contributing to 75 percent of pregnancies that occur between the ages 14 and 21. Approximately 91 percent of pregnant teens reported that although they were drinking at the time, they did not originally plan to have sex when they conceived.
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Teen pregnancy is not an emerging trend or a new phenomenon. It goes back to a century especially in developed countries and European nations where moral values are at great risk. Alone in United States of America, one million teenage pregnancies comes forward each year. Out of these, 85% are most often unplanned. This simply increases the risk factors and gives rise to more problems for teen mothers. However, with spreading awareness about teen pregnancies and associated risks, it is also obvious that this trend is declining nowadays.
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Effects of Teenage Pregnancy
Effects of early pregnancy are far beyond what the victim may think. Here are some effects of teenage pregnancy on the life of the teen mother as well as the baby:
Health Consequences of Teen Pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy especially produces adverse effects on teen mothers. They feel it difficult and develop fear of telling the truth to others. This leaves them behind with lack of care required at prenatal stage.
Risk of Teen Mothers Having Low Birth Weight Babies
Several statistics on teen pregnancy mention that teenage mother gives birth to a child with low birth weight just because of poor nutritional intake and depression. This low weight at birth produces infant disorders as well as high chances of mortality for the baby before reaching up to his or her first birthday. Moreover, such babies may have organs that are not properly developed resulting in common disorders like brain bleeding, intestinal disorders and respiratory syndrome.
Effects of Teen Pregnancy on Baby
Effects of teenage pregnancies on baby also matter a lot. Such babies grow up in poor socio economic status that multiplies their health issues. Moreover, in later stage of their lives they may develop criminal activities because of negligence they had experienced in the formative years of their lives. Such children also fail to pass successful relations at family and friends levels.
Teen pregnancy is a public health issue because of its risk factors. However, in United States, several clinics and health departments offer low cost or even free prenatal care for teenage mothers. Such departments offer full confidentiality and assure the patient that their family will not get awareness about the incident.
Emotional Effects of Teen Pregnancy
A child born to teen mother is less likely to develop proper cognitive stimulation. This just happens because of poor health care and improper nutrition of the teen mother at prenatal stage. After delivery, such mothers also prefer to leave their baby to minimize the chances of adverse effects of teen pregnancy on the family. Moreover, when grown up, such children may suffer through high rates of abuse and ignorance. They are socially unacceptable and neglected children because of the fact that they have no family at all. Most of the times, it also happens that such children develop poor intellect and achieve low academic success in life.
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