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Teen Pregnancy: A Review of the Literature

Kristen Bradford

Hampton University
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Abstract

Teen Pregnancy is a serious problem that effects teenagers from the ages of 13 to 19.
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Teen Pregnancy: A Review of the Literature

What is Teen Pregnancy? Teen Pregnancy is defined as a teenage girl, usually between

the ages of 13-19, becoming pregnant. This refers to girls that have not reached legal adulthood

and becomes pregnant. Teen pregnancy is one of the most common issues among teenage girls

who have a huge impact on young teens, parents, families, and the world. The United States

alone has the highest teen pregnancy rate among all industrialized nations. Being involved in a

teen pregnancy could cause many medical risks and could put the baby in extreme danger. Not

only that but parenthood is the leading reason why teenagers dropout of school at such a young

age.

Teen Pregnancy is a very important topic that needs to be discussed about, so that many

teens can know and understand the consequences of having a child at such a young age. Four

main questions that need to be answered when discussing Teen Pregnancy:

1.What options are available to young women who face an unintended pregnancy?

2.What are the teen birth rates and are there any differences in various racial and ethnic groups?

3.Are teen pregnancy-prevention programs effective?

4.What are the effects on the babies of teen pregnant mothers?

The following review on literature will: provide information about Teen Pregnancy, discuss the

teen birth rate, inform teenagers on the teen pregnancy-prevention programs and list the effects

of having a Teen Pregnancy.

What options are available to young women who face an unintended pregnancy?

An unintended pregnancy is a pregnancy that is reported to have been either unwanted or

mistimed and 98% of teen pregnancies are unwanted. Therefore, it is important to look at all

options when facing an unwanted pregnancy. First thing is to always take a pregnancy test to
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confirm the pregnancy. Once it is confirmed there are 3 main options to consider: abortion,

adoption, and parenting.

Abortion is a medical procedure which terminates a pregnancy to someone who doesnt

want to remain pregnant. In the United States, there are two types of abortions that consist of

either In-clinic abortion or the abortion pill. In clinic abortion is performed within a clinic,

hospital, or doctors office and usually occurs within the first trimester during pregnancy. The

abortion pill is another method that provides similar feelings to a heavy, crampy period that

terminates the pregnancy. Teenage mothers that are under 18 must have one or both parents to

give permission for both abortion methods.

Another option to consider during a teen pregnancy is adoption. Adoption is the legal

process where children will not be raised by their birth parents but become full and permanent

legal members of another family. Adoption is another option for teenagers who are not

emotionally, physically, or financially ready for a child. When considering adoption there are two

main types of adoption, open and closed. Open adoption is one where the mother of the child is

known to both the child and the adoptive parents and closed is where all the records of the birth

family is sealed.

Lastly, parenting is another option to consider. Becoming a parent helps the child build a

connection with the mother and builds a strong loving family environment. Although it doesnt

provide the teen with the average teenage life if she can provide for her child, then parenting

would be another option to consider.

What are the teen birth rates and are there any differences in various racial and ethnic

groups?
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Surprisingly teen pregnancy and birth rates have declined and majority of the decline

came from a decrease in women who were already teen mothers. Teen birth rates have also

declined in the 1970s and early 1980s due to an increase in abortion. Not only that but

Brookings.com states that four out of 5 teen births are to an unwed mother, the drop in the teen

birthrate contributed to the leveling of the proportion of children born outside marriage after

1994, as shown within the graph.

All teen birth rates differ based on age, race, and ethnic group. When it comes to birth

rates, they are usually higher towards Hispanic and African Americans than among Whites.

According to hhs.gov, Hispanic adolescent females ages 15-19 had the highest birth rate at 38

births per 1,000 adolescent females, followed by black adolescent females and white adolescent

females.

Based on an interview done in 2017, a female Hispanic discusses her life while going

through a teen pregnancy. She states that in the beginning she had many goals for herself hoping

to pursue a career as a detective. However, as soon as she found out that she was pregnant her

life took a turn and she stopped attending college and is currently putting her life on hold. For all

teenage girls that are sexually active she says to always wait until you are financially stable and
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mentally prepared, because life doesnt get easier, it just gets harder. (A. Estrada, personal

communication, March 20, 2017)

Are teen pregnancy-prevention programs effective?

Teen pregnancy prevention program is a program that includes all kind of education like

comprehensive sex education, HIV/STI prevention, youth development, service learning and

abstinence approaches. The Office of Adolescent Health is responsible for developing the Teen

Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program, a $105 million discretionary grant program. These

programs can be found anywhere within schools, the community, and at the local doctors office.

All programs target teens who are abstinent or sexually active, as well as adolescents. It has been

proven that this program helps reduce teen pregnancy, sexual activity, and increase the use of

contraceptives. Although majority of the teen pregnancy prevention programs are effective, some

may be more effective than others. For instance, programs that focus more on a specific skill and

takes place over long periods of time tend to be more effective than the average or shorter

program.

What are the effects of the babies on teen pregnant mothers?

Being involved in a teen pregnancy could cause many medical risks and could put the

baby in extreme danger. Babies that are born to teen moms are at an increased risk for many

health risks. Out of all ages of mothers, teenage mothers are less likely to gain the right amount

of weight which leads to low birthweight. This could lead to many infant disorders and an

increased rate for infant mortality. Not only that but low birth rate babies are more likely to have

organs that arent fully developed yet. This may result in complications like bleeding in the

brain, respiratory distress syndrome, and intestinal problems.


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Although there are many health risks that come with a teen pregnancy, there are also

other serious risks. Children born to teenage mothers are more likely to experience many social

and emotional problems. According to healthcommunities.com, Children born to teenage

mothers are less likely to receive proper nutrition, healthcare, and cognitive and social

stimulation. As a result, they are at risk for lower academic achievement.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Teen Pregnancy is a serious worldwide issue that has a huge effect on teens and

their lives. Although teen pregnancy and birth rates tend to be declining, it is still a nationwide

issue. There are many ways to prevent a teen pregnancy whether its using contraceptives, not

being sexually active or simply joining a teen pregnancy prevention program. Regardless of the

circumstance there must be something done to reduce teen pregnancy rates.


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References

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs." What Works - Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs.

N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2017

About Teen Pregnancy." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention, 26 Apr. 2016. Web. 20 Mar. 2017

About Teen Pregnancy." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention, 26 Apr. 2016. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

Parenthood, Planned. "I'm Pregnant, Now What? | Pregnancy Options For Teens." I'm Pregnant,

Now What? | Pregnancy Options For Teens. N.p., 29 July 2016. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.