Teenage pregnancy is the occurrence of pregnancy of a female under the age of twenty years of age. Pregnancy poses many obstetrics issues and health issues no matter the age of the female but as the age of the mother decreases and falls into the teenage level concerns for the health and wellness of the mother and child are increased. In developed countries, such as the United States, teenage pregnancy is associated with varying social issues such as lower educational levels of the mother and father, increased rates of poverty and diminutive quality of life level. Teenage pregnancy increases the burden upon the parents to provide standard of living that is not in a constant struggle to provide the bare necessities of life. Teenage pregnancy coupled with the inability or lack of tools and education to not only provide for the parents to survive lead to a continued state of suffering, poverty and lower education levels for the family.
In regard to the health factors of teenage pregnancy, the occurrences of premature birth and low birth weight is exponentially higher than those mothers having a child past twenty years of age. The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate among all other developed countries. Three out of ten girls under the age of twenty will become pregnant resulting in 750,000 teen pregnancies annually (National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy 2010). According to Zill and O’Donnell’s research regarding poverty rates and their associated teen pregnancy factors the chances for a child to grow up in poverty are nine times greater than that of a mother with a high school education and past their teenage years (Zill, N., & O’Donnell, K. (2004).
Teenage pregnancy, while not completely avoidable and preventable, can be mitigated through a multitude of societal facilitators. By providing teenagers and parents with the tools necessary to make aware and informed decisions as well as provide the insight and guidance needed to illustrate the ramifications of the teenagers actions the teenage pregnancy rates would drop considerable. Studies have shown that since sexual education and awareness programs have pinpointed the necessity to provide succinct and accurate information on teen pregnancy the rates have decreased by approximately 30% from 1991 to 2002 (National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy 2010)
In order to provide the tools to the targeted teenagers the message must be impactful, in the right medium and appropriate for the audience. Sitting through long presentations will not keep the audience engaged. Social media should be the media method used to enhance the already established teaching aides provided by teachers in the classroom. Driving to the core of the issues that lead to teen pregnancy will ensure enhanced mitigation to the pregnancy and the aftereffects of the child birth. Providing details on poverty levels, hardships and the long lasting effects of their choices as well as ways to prevent the negative impacts of poor choices in a social media context where they can receive information on demand will allow the target audience to pull the information when they need it any time and any place. Eliminating pregnancy of a mother that is ill prepared in any circumstance is optimal but preventing teenage pregnancy is a feasible and possible objective through awareness and preparation.
Teenage pregnancy is an issue that can be resolved through a series of continual improvements that with each stride to lessen the rates of teenage pregnancy will open doors for future improvements to training, awareness and prevention of unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. Utilizing varying media options such as social media allows the recipient to pull the information when they need it. On demand and with a full breadth of detail on prevention and mitigation of teenage pregnancy would be available for all to view so that the details of prevention and ramifications of not preventing teen pregnancy are available.
Dafoe Whitehead, B., & Pearson, M. (2006). Making a Love Connection: Teen Relationships, Pregnancy, and Marriage. National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy: Washington, DC. Hoffman, S.D. (2006). By the Numbers: The Public Costs of Adolescent Childbearing. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Washington, DC.
Lichter, D., & Graefe, D.R., (2001) Finding a mate? the marital and cohabitation histories of unwed mothers, in out of wedlock: causes and consequences of nonmarital fertility, L.L. Wu and Wolfe, B., Editor Russell Sage Foundation: New York.
Loto, OM; Ezechi, OC; Kalu, BKE; Loto, Anthonia B; Ezechi, Lilian O; Ogunniyi, SO. (2004). Poor obstetric performance of teenagers: is it age- or quality of care-related. Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 24 (4): 395
National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2010). Linking teen pregnancy prevention to other critical social issues. Retrieved from http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/why-it-matters/pdf/introduction.pdf
National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy analysis of Singh, S., &
Darroch, J.E. (2000). Adolescent pregnancy and childbearing: levels and trends in developed countries. family planning perspectives. 32(1), 14-23
Zill, N., & O’Donnell, K. (2004). Child Poverty Rates by Maternal Risk Factors: An Update. WESTAT, Rockville, MD.