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Teen Pregnancy

Teen Pregnancy Teen Pregnancy Thesis statement: Teenage pregnancy is a major concern in today’s society; there are many ways to prevent teen pregnancy, many people to get advice from, and many decisions that a teen parent must make. Outline: I. Introduction II. Teenage Pregnancy A. Concerns about Teenage Pregnancy B. What helps prevent Teen Pregnancy C. Source of Advice and Support III.

Stages of Pregnancy A. First Trimester B. Second Trimester C. Third Trimester IV. Challenges of Teenage Parenthood A.

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Parenthood Options B. Continuing Education C. Financial Problems V. Conclusion Teenage pregnancy is a major concern in today’s society; there are many ways to prevent teenage pregnancy, many people to get advice from, and many decisions a teenage parent must make. The statistics tell that the U.S.

has the highest rate of teen pregnancy and births. More than 4 out of ten young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20-nearly one billion a year(Teen Pregnancy Facts and Stats 1). Teenage pregnancy has declined slowly but steadily. These recent declines reverse the 24-percent rise in the teenage birth rate from 1986 to 1991 (Teen Pregnancy Facts and Stats 1). Usually only one-third of teenage mothers receive a high school diploma. The rest of the mothers usually end up on welfare.

A majority of both boys and girls who are sexually active wish they had waited. Eight in ten girls and six in ten boys say they wish they had waited (Teen Pregnancy Facts and Stats 1). Many people are concerned about the problems teenage parents and their children face. The health risks for a teenage girl who becomes pregnant increase sharply. One of the concerns of teenage mothers is the health risk. Usually young women have more complications in pregnancy than older women.

The most hazardous complication is low birth weight. One out of seven babies born to teenage mothers have a low birth weight (Hildebrand 88). Poor eating habits, smoking, or using alcohol or drugs, cause low birth weight. Premature babies and babies with low birth weights often have organs that haven’t fully developed, such as lungs, heart and brain. These babies get sick easier than normal weight babies. As a result from what was motioned above, teenage mothers are considered to be in the high-risk health category. They need good prenatal care as soon as they find out they are pregnant.

A doctor, nurse, or other medical practitioner gives most of the information about nutrition. Prenatal care can help prevent pregnancy complications and improve one’s chances of having a healthy baby. The best way to prevent teenage pregnancy, which is 100% effective, is abstinence. Most teenagers have a whole life ahead of them and having a child will cause a lot of complications in your goals. It’s not impossible for teenage mothers to complete high school, or try to reach their goals in life, but having a child could very well interfere with these goals. Another way of protection is condoms.

There are a lot of protections out there, but these protections are not 100-percent reliable. There are a lot of places and people to go to for support and advice. In addition there are many organizations and hotlines a teenage mother can contact for advice and assistance. Parents and family are one alternative. There are a lot of teenagers that are afraid of their parents’ reactions.

However, most parents are calmer and more supportive than teenagers expect. Most parents are shocked when the teenager comes and tells them that they are pregnant. Just give the parents time and they will try to give their teenager the best advice that they know. The school nurse or counselor is another place to get advice. The counselor usually can gather up pamphlets and brochures about pregnancy.

The counselor can also help the teenager remain in school. They are very supportive and understanding. Doctors and clinics are very important for a teenage parent to go to. There are a lot of home pregnancy tests available, but the doctor is a lot more reliable and gives a more accurate answer. Family planning counselors are also very professional people who can explain various options and discuss the community resources available to teenagers.

They also help arrange for financial assistance and recommend support groups. Since teenagers need a lot of prenatal care, the counselor also offers advice on prenatal care, nutrition information, childbirth classes, and parenting skills. These mentioned are just a few place or people you can go to for advice. Don’t ever think that there isn’t anyone out there to ask for advice. Teenager mothers would feel a lot more comfortable knowing what was going on with their bodies and how the baby is developing.

The next part of this paper is going to explain the first through the third trimester of pregnancy. The average biological length of human gestation, from conception to delivery, is 266 days. Due to the difficulty in assessing the exact date of conception, however, the clinical length of pregnancy is considered to be 280 days or 40 weeks, calculated from the last normal menstrual period before the cessation of menses, or menstrual flow. This calculation assumes that ovulation occurs 14 days after the last menstrual period. Human gestation is further divided into trimesters, each of which lasts slightly more than 13 weeks (Pregnancy and birth 1).

In the first trimester the mother experiences nausea and vomiting, morning sickness, in the first 8 weeks. Breast soreness or tingling often occurs due to hormonal stimulation. Fatigue is also a common complaint. The baby is developing organs in the first trimester. The fetus’ heart begins to beat after 4 weeks. By 8 weeks, the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, fingers, and toes are easily recognizable, and male and female reproductive systems have diffentiated.

By 12 weeks all of the organs have developed. During these first weeks, the mother should be very careful because the fetus is most vulnerable to potential teratogenic, birth-defect inducing drugs, radiation, and viruses. All of those factors are very dangerous to the fetus. During the second trimester the mother has increasing abdominal girth and pressure from the growing uterus. Braxton-Hicks contractions may occur. The mother may experience lightheadedness and may even faint due to the effects of the hormones on the blood vessels and the amount of blood diverted to the uterus, placenta, and fetus. There are many discomforts associated with pregnancy, most complained about is heartburn. Despite this discomfort, women are generally more comfortable during the second trimester than the first.

During the second trimester the baby’s thin-walled skin develops, organs begin to function, and blood begins to be formed in the bone marrow. Scalp hair appears, fat increases, and bones begin to harden. About 20 weeks along, the mother can feel the precise movements of the baby. In the third trimester, the last weeks of pregnancy become increasingly uncomfortable. Headaches, shortness of breath, and swelling of legs are the common complaints. False labor pains, or contractions of the uterus that do not lead to progressive dilation, or opening of the cervix, can be particularly uncomfortable.

The baby gains weight in the third trimester. Ear lo …

Teen Pregnancy

Teen Pregnancy Teen Pregnancy & Parenting You sit there tense, your face is turning cherry red, your eyes are fixed on the little white machine, and you feel like the suspense is killing you, two minutes seem like forever. All of the sudden you see a +. Youre 15 and pregnant. What are you going to do now? Jessica Inhoff, a junior at Grant, tells us what she did when she found out she was pregnant with her son last year. She said that she was overly surprised and didnt know what to do. She didnt want to have to be there when her parents found out, so she just left a note on the table and went to work.

Luckily for her, her parents were remarkably supportive, and still help her out as much as they can with her son. Her mother watches Kyle every day while she is at school, and will baby-sit one night a week, so Jessica can go out and still be a kid. According to the Oregon Health Division, during 1997 in Multnomah County, 654 girls between the ages of 10 and 17 got pregnant and kept their babies. Between 1974 and 1998 pregnancy for teens between the ages 15 and 19 increased by 200 percent. Also once the babies are born to teen mothers they are more than twice as likely to have a lower birth weight than those born to older mothers, which can cause major health risks.

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It makes babies more likely to die within the first 2 days of life. All those unwanted pregnancies among teens cost U.S. taxpayers almost 7 billion each year. One question you should ask yourself before you decide to have sex is; Am I ready to be a mother or a father? If you can answer yes to all the questions below, you are ready to go out Saturday night and decide by having sex with them, to tell your boyfriend/girlfriend, Hey honey, I want us to have a baby! 1. Could I handle a baby and a job at the same time? Would I have enough time and energy for both? 2. How would a child interfere with my growth and development? Would I finish school and would I be able to go to college and get the career I want while caring for a child? 3.

Can I afford to support a child? Do I know how much it takes to raise a child? 4. Am I willing to give a great part of my life at least 18 years to being responsible for a child? And spend a large portion of my life concerned with my childs well being? 5. Do I like doing things with children? Do I enjoy activities that children can do? Do I like cleaning up childrens messes and do I want to have a child around me 24-7? 6. What do I do when I get angry or upset? Would I take things out on my child if I lost my temper? 7. Could my partner and I give a child a good home? Is our relationship a happy and strong one? Do we want to have to be connected for the reast of our lives, until death do us part? As Leslie Clark, an alumnus from Grant, figured out, having a baby and being in high school is a hard job. She had to skip the last couple months of her senior year to have her baby, which put her behind a year and not able to graduate with her class.

She had a hard time raising her son Allyn on her own for the first five years, but luckily after that she and Allyns dad started dating again, and ended up getting married. Seventeen years have now passed, and she is a happily married certified public accountant. Jessica Inhoff is now experiencing the responsibilities of being a teen mother, which she says, are endless. A normal day goes like this for Jessica; she gets up at 6, after being awake half the night (with her sons wake up calls at 12:30 and 3 A.M.), and goes to school. She goes through six rigorous classes and then leaves during seventh period to go home and take care of her son, so her mother can have a break from babysitting. For the next three hours she changes diapers, cleans up his messes, plays with him, and does her homework all at the same time.

At 5P.M, she makes them dinner, and feeds both herself and her son. Then from then until 8:30, they take a bath, play, and she gets him ready for bed. At 9P.M, hes usually finally asleep. Now she has a little time to herself to do her homework and maybe watch TV until she falls asleep, to wake up again at 12:30 and calm a crying baby. There are many ways that you can try to prevent pregnancy, but the most effective is abstinence.

Other methods of birth control include condom use, Depo-Provera, the pill, and a few that other not as popular methods for teens (for example Norplant and a Diaphragm.) For more information on how to prevent pregnancy you can talk to your doctor or pay a visit to Grants School Based Health Clinic, where everything is confidential. Try to be careful, and hopefully you will never have to go through the rigors of being a pregnant teen or parent. Bibliography Clark, Leslie. Personal Interview. 25 March 2000.

Inhoff, Jessica. Personal Interview. 27 March 2000 Smith, Verita. Grant School Based Health Clinic. Personal Interview. 30 March 2000. State of Oregon.

Oregon Health Division. Teen Pregnancy Rates Ages 10 20. Multnomah County. 1997-1998.

Teen Pregnancy

Although the rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States has declined greatly
within the past few years, it is still an enormous problem that needs to be addressed.
These rates are still higher in the 1990’s than they were only a decade ago. The United
State’s teenage birthrate exceeds that of most other industrialized nations, even though
American teenagers are no more sexually active than teenagers are in Canada or Europe.
Recent statistics concerning the teen birthrates are alarming. About 560,000
teenage girls give birth each year. Almost one-sixth of all births in the United States are to
teenage women are to teenage women. Eight in ten of these births resulted from
unintended pregnancies. (Gormly 347) By the age of eighteen, one out of four teenage
girls will have become pregnant. (Newman 679)
Although the onset of pregnancy may occur in any teenager, some teens are at
higher risk for unplanned pregnancy than others. Teenagers who become sexually active
at an earlier age are at a greater risk primarily because young teenagers are less likely to
use birthcontrol. African-American and Hispanic teenagers are twice as likely to give birth
as are white teenagers. Whites are more likely to have abortions. Teenagers who come
from poor neighborhoods and attend segregated schools are at a high risk for pregnancy.
Also, teenagers who are doing poorly in school and have few plans for the future are more
likely to become parents than those who are doing well and have high educationsl and
occupational expectations. Although the rate of teenage pregnancy is higher among low-
income African-Americans and Hispanics, especially those in inner city ghettoes, the
number of births to teenagers is highest among white, nonpoor young women who live in
small cities and towns. (Calhoun 309)
In addition to the question of which teenagers become pregnant, interest is shown
in the social consequences of early parenthood. Adolescent parents (mostly mothers) may
find that they have a “lost or limited opportunity for education.” (Johnson 4) The
higher a woman’s level of education, the more likely she is to postpone marriage and
childbearing. Adolescents with little schooling are often twice as likely as those with more
education to have a baby bafore their twentieth birthday. Some 58% of young women in
the United States who receive less than a high school education give birth by the time they
are twenty years old, compared with 13% of young women who complete at least twelve
years of schooling. (Tunick 11) Teens who become pregnant during high school are
more likely to drop out. (Calhoun 310) A teen mother leaves school because she cannot
manage the task of caring for a baby and studying, and a teen father usually chooses a job
over school so that he can pay bills and provide for his child. (Johnson 4) Teen mothers
usually have fewer resources than older mothers because they have had less time to gather
savings or build up their “productivity” through work experience, education, or training.
(Planned Parenthood 1) Because of this, teen mothers are generally poor and are
dependent on government support. (Newman 679) The welfare system is usually the
only support a teen parent will receive. Welfare benefits are higher for families with
absent fathers or dependent children. (Calhoun 309) In some cases, teen mothers may
also receive help like Medicaid, Food Stamps, and “Aid to Families with Dependent
Besides educational and financial problems, teenage mothers may face a great deal
of emotional strain and may become very stressed. Teen mothers may have limited social
contacts and friendships because they do not have time for anything other than their baby.
Lack of a social life and time for herself may cause the teenage mother to become
depressed or have severe mental anxiety. (Johnson 5) Depression may become worse for
a teenage mother because she usually does not know much about child development or
about how to care for their children. Children who are born to teenage mothers usually
suffer from poor parenting. (Berk 188) Also, children of teenage parents start being
sexually active before their peers and they are more likely to become teenage parents
themselves. These children may also suffer from financial difficulties similar to that of
their parents. “Children whose mothers are age seventeen or younger are three times as
likely as their peers to be poor, and are likely to stay poor for a longer period of time.”
(Calhoun 311) The children born to teenage mothers sometimes score lower on
development tests than the children of older mothers. It seems that “rather than declining
over time, educational deficits increase in severity and the children show lower academic
achievement, higher drop out rates, and are more likely to be held back in school.”
Teenage pregnancy comes with not only a child, but also many consequences.
Teen mothers face greater health risks than older mothers, such as anemia, pregnancy
induced hypertension, toxemia, premature delivery, cervical trauma, and even death.
Many of these health risks are due to inadequate prenatal care and support, rather than
physical immaturity. The teenage mother is more likely to be undernourished and suffer
premature and prolonged labor. (Calhoun 311) The death rate from pregnancy
complications are much higher among girls who give birth under age fifteen. (Gormly
347) Poor eating habits, smoking, alcohol and drugs increase the risk of having a baby
with health problems. (Johnson 3) The younger the teenage mother is, the higher the
chances are that she and her baby will have health problems. This is mainly due to late
prenatal care (if any) and poor nutrition. (Planned Parenthood 1) An adolescent mother
and her baby may not get enough nutrients and, because the mother’s body is not fully
mature, she may have many complications throughout the duration of the pregnancy.
Along with the mother, the children of teenage parents too often become part of a
cycle of poor health, school failure, and poverty. Infants born to teenage mothers are at a
high risk of prematurity, fragile health, the need for intensive care, cerebral palsy, epilepsy,
and mental retardation. (Johnson 5) Low birth weight is the most immediate health
problem. Babies born to teenagers are often born too small, too soon. Low birthweight
babies may have immature organ systems (brain, lungs, and heart), difficulty controlling
body temperature and blood sugar levels, and a risk of dying in early infancy that is much
higher than that of normal weight babies (five and one-half pounds or more). (Calhoun
310) “The death rate for babies whose mothers are under fifteen years of age is double
that of babies whose mothers are twenty to thirty years old.” (Johnson 5)
Because of these extremely serious problems, many government, as well as local,
organizations are fighting to stop the occurence of teenage pregnancy by helping to
educate children of the risks involved and the consequences after. Some research
indicates that “the percentage of teenage birthrates has declined simply because fewer
teenagers are having sexual intercourse and more adolescents are using contraceptives.”
Researchers say that the recent trends in sexual activity and contraceptive use are the
result of a number of factors, including greater emphasis on abstinence, more conservative
attitudes about sex, fear of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, the popularity of
long-lasting birthcontrol methods such as the contraceptive implant (Norplant) and the
injectable (Depo-Provera), and even because of the economy. In addition, researchers say
that young people have become somewhat more conservative in their views about casual
sex and out-of-wedlock childbearing. Some attribute this change in attitude mainly to
concern about sexually transmitted diseases. Others say that it is because of the
involvement of conservative religious groups in the public debate over sexual behavior.
Many researchers believe that the strong economy and the increasing availability of jobs at
minimum wage have contributed to fewer births among teenagers. (Donovan 32)
Americans, however, seem to be against some of the methods used by these various
organizations to reduce the teen pregnancy rates. “The most controversial aspect of
adolescent pregnancy prevention is the growing movement to provide teenagers with easy
access to contraceptives.” Most Americans believe that giving teenagers birthcontrol pills
and/or condoms is the same as telling them that early sex is allowed. Some studies that
were conducted in Europe show that some clinics in Europe that distribute contraceptives
to teenagers have the same sexual activity rate as in the United States. However, in these
European studies, it is apparent that teen pregnancy, childbirth, and abortion rates are
Teenage pregnancy does cause many problems for the mother, child, and economy.
There are, however, some incidences where the mother overcomes this down-hill trend
and makes a successful life for her and her child. The outcome of teenage pregnancy turns
out better if the mother goes back to school after she has given birth. (Berk 190) Staying
in school may help to prevent teenage mothers from having a second pregnancy. (Planned
Parenthood 2)The outcome is also better if the mother continues to live with her
parents so that they can help to raise the child. Young, teen mothers need health care for
themselves as well as their children. An adolescent mother also needs a great deal of
encouragement to get her to remain in school. Single teenage mothers also need job
training so that they can get a good job to support themselves and their children. Teen
mothers need to be taught parenting and life-management skills and also need high quality
and affordable daycare for their children. Schools that provide daycare centers on campus
reduce the incidence of teenagers dropping out of school. These school programs also
decrease the likelihood that the teen mother will have more children. (Berk 189)
Because the government has begun to take action in preventing teen pregnancies,
the rate has continued to decline. The large numbers of young people in America–as well
as the values, health, education, skills they gain–will greatly affect the future of society.
Therefore, increased attention should be given to the well-being of adolescents. Since
greater care is being given to the young people, improvements are already occuring. The
level of education that young people receive is much higher than that of their parents, and
the “expectation that young people should obtain at least some secondary schooling” is
growing. The numbers of women who have a child during their teen years is declining,
and recognizing the impact of childbearing on education, parents and communities are
continuing to discourage sexual activity, marriage, and motherhood at a young age.
(Tunick 13) These recent trends, if continued, will more than likely educate the
adolescent population about the risks and consequences of teenage pregnancy and reduce
the incicence of teen pregnancy and childbirth altogether.

Works Cited
Berk, Laura E. Child Development. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1997.

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Calhoun, C. et al. Sociology. New York: Glencoe-McGraw-Hill, 1995.

Donovan, Patricia. “Falling Teen Pregnancy, Birthrates: What’s Behind the Declines?”
The Guttmacher Report. 1.5 (Oct. 1998); 31-34.

Gormly, Anne V. Lifespan Human Development. 6th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace,

Johnson, Sherry. Teen Pregnancy: Too Much, Too Soon. Waco, TX: Health Edco.,

Newman, Philip R. and Barbara M. Newman. Childhood and Adolescence. Pacific
Grove: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., 1997.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Pregnancy and Childbearing Among U.S.
Teens.” Online. Internet. 29 Mar. 1999. Available
Tunick, Barbara. “Issues in Brief: Risks and Realities of Early Childbearing Worldwide.”
The Guttmacher Report. (Feb. 1997); 10-14.


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