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Academic Writing & Research 22491
23 April 2012
Prevention of Teen Pregnancy
They say history repeats itself but where in society has there ever been
children having children? Our culture has found a way to settle down with the
reality of youthful pregnancy and become more accustomed to the abnormal
circumstance, however there are a few bumps in the road over the matter. Not only
do teens have an affect on their family and the people they surround themselves by,
but rather an affect on the child they are about to give birth to. Do they think of the
financial cost they are about to face or the prevention factors they could have utilize
to prevent that little peanut of a seed from growing inside their stomach? Teen
pregnancy is one hundred percent preventable and it should be taken more
earnestly in young adults. Teen pregnancy has an infinite effect on the child they are
bearing, the financial cost of having a tiny infant, or simply the effectiveness of
preventing young adult pregnancy through the nature of abstinence and other major
aspects of avoiding an angelic baby. Although many view teen pregnancy as just
another chapter in life, I view it as rather another chapter that could have been set
back to read in the future by a settled, more suitable adult.
Being a young and undeveloped teen can cause minor setbacks in an infant’s
life. There are multiple problems that a teenage mother faces but not only does she
suffer; the child can suffer as well. Premature infants are not just born with a low
birth weight; but rather they have conditions that can lead to the loss of that
newborn’s life. Sudden infant death syndrome is a major problem with babies
whose mothers are teenagers because the mothers themselves aren’t fully
developed yet. Not saying that I condone teen pregnancy, but if a teen were to get
pregnant it is vital to be aware of the condition the teenage mother is in. It is highly
important to know if one is pregnant so the baby will be healthy, because if not then
the infant already has a risk of being premature. When a young adult is pregnant, it
is greatly recommended to use prenatal care to insure a safe pregnancy as well as a
strong, healthy baby.
“Adolescent mothers face higher rates of premature birth, have lower birth
rates, and have higher incidents of infants born dead. When they grow up, the
children of young mothers are more likely to have lower proficiency scores in
school, exhibit behavior problems and also tend to have more emotional, intellectual
and physical problems as well” (Barraza 12). For the young mothers themselves
they face a higher high school drop out rate, they may end up being a single parent
for a lot longer than expected, and also they can be underemployed or even worse
unemployed (Barraza 12). Supporting a child can be extremely difficult and without
or even with little education it’s hard to find a decent job that offers what a single
parent needs, money and time. Being a young adult and having a child is not like
when one was younger and played house with their group of friends. Having a child
comes with expenses as well as responsibilities. I would definitely claim that the
finical cost of having a baby and taking care of one has a largely significant effect on
the teen mom in addition to how the money is spent. Many people do not put into
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thought the effect money has on their life until they are facing a situation where
perhaps they do not have enough to support their lifestyles. Babies are
tremendously expensive from their diapers that they use to the clothes they are
quickly growing out of.
Just imagine how hard it must be for a teen mom that possibly juggles
school, work, and having a child. Some teens have the support of their parents that
allow the young mother and the child to stay in the home and sometimes provide
money for the two. Often though, some teen moms take full responsibility in having
a child and feel as though if they are responsible enough for a child, then they are
fully capable of living on their own. I have watched Teen Mom that they show on
MTV and some teen mothers have support from their families or boyfriends while
living on their own, while others face the financial problem on their own and uphold
a job while providing daycare for their little loved ones. From watching the show, I
would interpret that money is one of the biggest issues among teen pregnancy.
Money is a vicious piece of paper that causes controversy among people though it is
what makes this world go round. Even though a teen mom would want everything
for their child, it is unessential to get the child the most expensive crib or stroller. It
might be hard to realize that the child might not have fancy things, but it is safe to
know that the parents are being responsible with the money and providing a stable
living environment for when the baby comes.
A study was conducted in 1993 that included a sample of 171 pregnant teens,
48 non-pregnant teens and 38 pregnant adults and found that the adolescent
mothers were more depressed, experienced more stress and were less positive than
mothers who had children at a later age. It also concluded that mothers in their
teens had an overall “lower quality of mothering” (Barraza 14). This makes
complete sense so why would young teenagers want to put themselves in a position
that they can’t handle? It’s because kids are uninformed. But Government officials
are trying their best to prevent pregnancies but it’s not in their hands but rather in
the hands of the young adults engaging in sexual activity with no responsibility.
When I was in eighth grade, the teachers divided the whole eighth grade into
groups of about twenty and at different times we would go to the library and learn
about sex, STD’s, and preventions. I will never forget the gruesome pictures they
showed of actual people with an STD. I was in eighth grade barely having a clue
what the real definition of sex meant, and there I was sitting in a chair in the library
looking at graphic pictures on a male’s genitals which I had never seen before this
education on sex. I’m sure there were a handful of people around me aware of what
sex was and probably have experienced it a time or two but I was without a clue as
to what it all meant. In high school health class, which is an all girl health class, the
teacher went over sex education and preventions as well as Sexually Transmitted
Diseases. We also had a guest speaker from the Health Clinic come to our class and
share pictures and discuss the importance of protection or staying abstinent. I’m
thankful that I graduated from a high school that mentally prepares you for the
decisions you make in life that will affect you forever.
There are quite a few schools that focus their sex education programs on
abstinence-only instead of talking about teen pregnancy and the negative
consequences that can come about from having sex. “Sex and STD/HIV education
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programs that focused only on abstinence consistently failed to have any significant
effect on sexual behavior. In contrast, comprehensive programs that encouraged
both abstinence and condom/contraceptive use consistently did not increase sexual
behavior, but about two thirds of them had a positive impact on delaying sex,
reducing the frequency of sex or number of partners, or increasing condom or
contraceptive use” (Kirby 143). The tactic of telling teens to just “say no” to sex
before marriage isn’t proving to be an effective way of teaching kids. If kids are
more informed about the issue of teen pregnancy and its consequences as well as
the dangers of STDs and HIV infections they might be more prepared and take
precautions before making the decision to have sex. According to Jean Gallmeyer
the winning formula for getting through to teens is to never flinch (Krogstad).
Gallmeyer had a student ask one time, “How did Adam and Eve know what to put
where?” and she came up with this realization, “If I can respond without squirming, I
think I can earn their respect” (Krogstad). A kid isn’t going to respect an answer
from an adult that is caught off guard with a question about sex. It’s a serious topic
that should be taken seriously; it’s not a laughable, funny issue to discuss with a
young adult or child.
More and more funding is going into the sex education programs and the
major deal for doing so is teen pregnancy because these rates have been sky
rocketing for years. The money and attention will be focusing on evidence-based
sex education programs, parent and community involvement, more openness in
discussions of sex, positive peer pressure and giving young people a better idea
about the future costs of having a child during the teenage years (Norton). These
are good ideas and are what people really need to be focusing on rather than the
abstinence-only tactics that a lot of people tend to use. That tactic may work on
some people and on some people only for a little while but it’s ignorant, children
and teenagers need to be informed of the topic not just told not to have sex… or else.
“Gallmeyer said engaging students with wide-ranging levels of knowledge on human
sexuality is her biggest challenge. It’s especially true in middle schoolers, who
sometimes have very basic levels of their sexuality despite possessing a mature
body. Some have been sheltered from sexual images in the media, and some have
not” (Krogstad). It’s good to start informing kids at an early age of the repercussions
that can come from having sex, although they may not understand everything at the
moment, it’s important for them to start learning about it.
“Until 2009, the federal government had almost exclusively funded
abstinence-only programs, researchers noted in the report. More than a billion
dollars has been spent on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, yet federally
funded research has clearly shown that such programs are ineffective and do not
lead to significant behavioral changes. These programs have been unsuccessful in
lowering rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection”
(Workman). There has got to be a different step taken for teen pregnancy
prevention. The programs that focus on delaying sex were less effective than ones
that had accumulative information with straight talk from older peers. Their focus
was on informing students and providing them with the tools to stand up to peer
pressure (Los Angeles Times). Hopefully as a country we can work together to help
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prevent teen pregnancy and provide programs for kids to let them know the real
facts about the birds and the bees.
Teen pregnancy can be vital in a young girl’s life and should be taken more
serious in society. It has significantly affected humanity due to the statistics
provided. Our culture really is going through a time of “children having children”
and it has become a crucial issue in the baby’s life, the financial situation, and also
on the popular topic of prevention. Think of young adult pregnancy this way, if you
are mature and responsible enough to have intercourse with your partner, then it
must guarantee that you are completely capable of having a child at a young age.
Teen pregnancy is not opening another chapter in the book, but rather setting that
book down of the past and picking up an entirely new book. Pregnancy takes over
and controls the lifestyle that was once possessed and turns it into something
completely different and new.
Barraza, Luisana. Teen Pregnancy: A Content Analysis of Existing Literature.
California State University, Long Beach, 2011 United States --
CaliforniaProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT). 23 Apr. 2012.
Kirby, Douglas. “Abstinence, Sex, and STD/HIV Education Programs for Teens: Their
Impact on Sexual Behavior, Pregnancy, and Sexually Transmitted Disease.”
Annual Review of Sex Research 18 (2007): 143-77. ProQuest Research
Library. 23 Apr. 2012.
Krogstad, Jens M. “Sex Education Program Helps Drop Teen Pregnancy Rates.”
McClathy – Tribune Business News Oct 28 2006: 1.ABI/INFORM Complete.
23 Apr. 2012.
Los Angeles Times. “Education First, Babies Later: Good Idea * Innovative, State
Funded Sex Education Program Tackles Teen Pregnancy Problem.” May 17
1992: 6.National Newspapers Core. 23 Apr. 2012.
Norton, John. "Teen Pregnancy Prevention Monies Sought." McClatchy - Tribune
Business News Jul 30 2011. ABI/INFORM Complete. 23 Apr. 2012.
Workman, Megan. "Teen Pregnancy Study Cites High Numbers in South." McClatchy
- Tribune Business News Mar 22 2012. ABI/INFORM Complete. 23 Apr. 2012.