The term teenage pregnancy refers to pregnancy in females that are under the age of 20 when at the time of delivery. This happens when the start of puberty takes place before the first menstrual cycle but however occurs after the onset of periods. The age of the mothers is determined by the verified date when the pregnancy ends and not by the estimated date of conception. Pregnant teenagers face many similar obstetrics as issues as other women but however there are many other additional medical concerns for females who become mothers under the age of 15. These mothers are associated with more of the socioeconomic factors than compared to the biological factors of age. There are many negative effects of teenage pregnancy such as premature labor, risk of low birth weight and anemia which are connected to the biological age itself (Cornelius MD et al (2012). The life outcomes for teenage mothers and their children differ from other factors like social support and is important than the age of the mother at the time of the birth. Teenage parents who can rely on family and community support, social services and child-care support are more likely to continue their education and get higher paying jobs as they progress with their education.
Effects and Causes:
The effects of teenage pregnancies on the children are more likely to grow up in poverty and also have many health problems and also have very high rates of neglect and abuse (Hamilton (2012). Many children also tend to fail in schools and commit adult crimes and also incur failed adult relationships and marriages. There are many disadvantages of early childbearing and factors that affect it such as unemployment, poverty, low self esteem and also educational failure which are the negative outcomes of early childbearing. Also teenage mothers are more likely not to gain weight during their pregnancy which results in low birth weight which further is associated with childhood and infant disorders along with a high rate of infant mortality. The organs of this low birth weight are not fully developed which can result in symptoms such as intestinal problems, respiratory disorders and bleeding in the brain (Allen E et al (2007). Children born to teenage mothers are less likely to receive proper nutrition, health care, and cognitive and social stimulation. As a result, they may have an underdeveloped intellect and attain lower academic achievement. Another major issue is that being a young mother in an industrialized country could affect one’s education like the teenage mothers are more likely to drop out of high school. Many studies also found that teen mothers dropped out of school before becoming pregnant but those who were in school at the time of pregnancy graduated as their peer group. Many teen parents usually do not have much emotional or intellectual maturity that is essential to provide for another new life and hence these pregnancies are often hidden for months which results in the lack of adequate prenatal care which results in the dangerous outcomes for the new born babies (Hofferth SL & Reid L (2002). Teenage pregnancy can also influence the younger siblings. If the younger sisters of teenage parents babysit the children, they have an increased risk of getting pregnant themselves because once an older daughter has a child the parents often become more accepting as time goes by. Research indicates that pregnant teens are less likely to receive prenatal care often seeking it in the third trimester. Also many pregnant teens are at risk of nutritional deficiencies from poor eating habits that includes attempts to lose weight through dieting, skipping meals, snacking, and consumption of fast food items. In some societies early marriage is an important factor in the rate of teenage pregnancy (Stepp, G. (2009). However the average age of marriage is different in different countries where teenage marriages are common at higher levels of teenage pregnancies. Many teenagers are not taught about methods of birth control and how to deal with peers who pressure them into having sex before they even know what they are faced with. Therefore teenage pregnancies has become a public health issue because of their observed negative effects on the long term morbidity and the outcomes of perinatal pregnancies.
It can be concluded that being a teenage mother and deal with the society can be very challenging as they have to give up a lot of things to take care of the ne born babies. They are not able to get a proper education and a secure place in society. Many studies conducted also points out both the daycare and educational developments in career programmes that will be a supporting way to young parents. These programmes include the evaluation and development of policies that promote the involvement of young people to attend school and have further training and education so as to support families that experience such problems that are associated with poverty and the disadvantages that follow (Tamkins, T. (2004).Therefore teenage parenthood is not in itself a social problem and some young people make positive choices to become parents at an early age.
ReferencesAllen E, Bonell C, Strange V, Copas A, Stephenson J, Johnson AM, Oakley A (2007). "Does the UK government's teenage pregnancy strategy deal with the correct risk factors? Findings from a secondary analysis of data from a randomised trial of sex education and their implications for policy". J Epidemiol Community Health 61
Cornelius MD, Goldschmidt L, Willford JA, Leech SL, Larkby C, Day NL (2008). "Body Size and Intelligence in 6-year-olds: Are Offspring of Teenage Mothers at Risk?".Maternal and Child Health Journal 13
Hamilton, Brady E. and Ventura, Stephanie J. (April 10, 2012). "Birth Rates for U.S. Teenagers Reach Historic Lows for All Age and Ethnic Groups". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
Hofferth SL, Reid L (2002). "Early Childbearing and Children's Achievement And Behavior over Time".Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 34
Stepp, G. (2009) Teen Pregnancy: The Tangled Web. vision.org
Tamkins, T. (2004) Teenage pregnancy risk rises with childhood exposure to family strife Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, March–April 2004