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Statistics Of Teenage Pregnancy Essay, Research Paper

Every day another baby is born. What are the problems that happen to a teenage mother and why? Most babies that are born to teenage mothers are more likely to be born premature and/or suffer low birth weight. There are many problems involved with children having children. First off, there is a higher risk of low birth rate, premature labor, and stillbirth. One major problem is that teenage girls are not fully grown and matured; therefore, when they become pregnant it induces problems not only on the baby, but the mother as well. *A general rule: The younger the mother, the greater risk of complications for both the mother and child.

Often, pregnant teenage mothers deny the fact that they are indeed pregnant, therefore ignoring the proper care needed for the growing baby inside of her. There are no easy answers; that s one thing that everyone agrees on when it comes to the problem of teen pregnancy. The Center of Disease Control and prevention affirmed on June 26, 1999 what other agencies, such as the National Center for Health Statistics, have been saying over the course of this year: The teen pregnancy rate is dropping. The number of teenage girls across the country who became pregnant fell 12 percent between 1991 and 1996. This drop affects all girls of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds in all states.

The United States teen pregnancy rate is the highest of any industrialized country in the world. Babies born in the U.S. to teenage mothers are at risk for long-term problems in many major areas of life, including school failure, poverty, and physical or mental illness. The teenage mothers themselves are also at risk of these problems. Who suffers the consequences? Mothers are less likely to complete high school, (only one-third receive a high school diploma) and more likely to end up on welfare (nearly 80 percent of the children of teenage mothers are unmarried teen mothers that are bound to end up on welfare). Teen babies have lower birth weights, are more likely to perform poorly in school, and the sons of teen mothers are at a13 percent greater risk of abuse and neglect. A majority of the sons of teenage mothers are more likely to end up in prison while teen daughters are 22 percent more likely.

What helps prevent teen pregnancy? The primary reason that teenage girls who have never had intercourse give for abstaining from sex is that having sex would be against their religious or moral values. Other reasons cited include desire to avoid pregnancy, fear of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and not having met the appropriate partner. Three of four girls and over half of boys report that female teenagers who have sex do so because their boyfriends want them to. Teenagers with strong emotional attachments to their parents are much less likely to become pregnant at such an early age. Most people say teens should remain abstinent and not become sexually active at an early age. However, the teenagers should have access to contraceptives.

Ninety-five percent of the adults in the United States and 85 percent of teenagers think it is important that school-aged children and teenagers be given a strong message from society that they should abstain from sex until they are out of high school.

Almost 60 percent of adults also think that sexually active teenagers should have access to contraceptives. The use of contraceptives among sexually active teens has increased but still remains inconsistent. Nearly 75 percent of teens use some method of contraception (usually a condom) the first time they have sex.

A sexually active teen that doesn t use any type of contraceptives has a 90 percent chance of pregnancy within one year.

Parents rate high among many teens as trustworthy and preferred information sources on birth control. One in two teens say they trust their parents most for reliable and complete information about birth control; only 12 percent say a friend. Teens who have been raised by both parents (biological or adoptive) from birth have lower probabilities of having sex over teens that grew up in any other family situation. At age 16, 22 percent of girls from intact families and 44 percent of other girls have had sex at least once. Similarly, teens from intact, two-parent families are less likely to give birth in their teens than girls from other family backgrounds.

Do teens wish they had waited to have sex? A majority of both girls and boys who are sexually active wish they had waited. Eight in ten girls and six in ten boys say they wish they had waited until they were older to have sex. Pregnant teens can have many different emotional problems. Reactions: Others view the creation of child as an achievement and not in unrealistic ways. Some may want a baby to have someone to love, but not to recognize the member. Depression is also a common among pregnant teens. The amount of care that a baby needs is simply tremendous. Many do not anticipate that their adorable baby can also be demanding and strenuous. Some become overwhelming by guilt, anxiety, and fears. There may be a time when the pregnant teenager s emotional reactions and mental state will require referral to a qualified mental health professional.

Babies that are born to teenagers are at risk for neglect and abuse because their young mothers are uncertain about their roles and may be frustrated by their constant demands of care taking. Adult parents can help prevent teenage pregnancy through open communication and by providing guidance to their children about sexuality, contraception, and the risks and responsibilities of intimate relationships and pregnancy. Some teenage girls drop out of school to have their babies and never return. In this way, pregnant teens lose their opportunity to learn skills necessary for employment and self-survival as adults. School classes in family life and sexual education, as well as clinics providing reproductive information and birth control to young people, can help prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Fifty percent of adolescents who have a baby become pregnant again with in two years of the baby s birth. Teen mothers all too often rely on welfare to feed their newborn babies. Children of teen mothers are two times more likely to rely on welfare, than the children of a woman four years older. Once a teen mother has moved into the welfare stream, she will remain there for the rest of her life.

Low birth rates are associated with birth injuries, infant death, childhood illness, and mental retardation. Why is this? Teen mothers are less experienced with recognizing the symptoms of pregnancy, and less experience with health care systems, so they are less likely to have adequate prenatal care. Many young mothers wait until beyond the thirteenth week to acknowledge the pregnancy and fall behind in providing essential care for their babies.

Overpopulation is severely affected by teen pregnancy. In California alone, 400 teens discover that they are pregnant everyday, adding new numbers to the population. Many of our environmental ills stem from overpopulation. More densely populated areas are correlated with higher levels of natural resource use and increased pollution. A practice of abstinence would be a way to 100% full proof the teen pregnancy issue, along with the trading and/or sharing of STD s like they are Pokemon cards.

Of course, there are teenagers whom no matter what, want to take the risk of being a teen parent or new founder of a STD. Most very young teens have not had intercourse: 8 in 10 girls and 7 in 10 boys are sexually inexperienced at age 15. The likelihood of teenagers’ having intercourse increases steadily with age; however, about 1 in 5 young people do not have intercourse while teenagers. Most young people begin having sex in their mid-to-late teens, about 8 years before they marry; more than half of 17-year-olds have had intercourse.

While 93% of teenage women report that their first intercourse was voluntary, one-quarter of these young women report that it was unwanted. The younger women are when they first have intercourse, the more likely they are to have had unwanted or non-voluntary first sex–7 in 10 of those who had sex before age 13, for example. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of sexually active 15-17-year-old women have partners who are within two years of their age; 29% have sexual partners who are 3-5 years older, and 7% have partners who are six or more years older. Most sexually active young men have female partners close to their age: 76% of the partners of 19-year-old men are either 17 (33%) or 18 (43%); 13% are 16, and 11% are aged 13-15.

Each year, almost 1 million teenage women–10% of all women aged 15-19 and 19% of those who have had sexual intercourse–become pregnant. The overall U.S. teenage pregnancy rate declined 17% between 1990 and 1996, from 117 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15-19 to 97 per 1,000. 78% of teen pregnancies are unplanned, accounting for about 1/4 of all accidental pregnancies annual. Childbearing 13% of all U.S. births are to teens. The fathers of babies born to teenage mothers are likely to be older than the women: About 1 in 5 infants born to unmarried minors are fathered by men 5 or more years older than the mother. 78% of births to teens occur outside of marriage. Teens now account for 31% of all non-marital births, down from 50% in 1970. 1/4 of teenage mothers have their second child within 2 years of their first. Teens who give birth are much more likely to come from poor or low-income families (83%) than are teens who have abortions (61%) or teens in general (38%).

7 in 10 teen mothers complete high school, but they are less likely than women who delay childbearing to go on to college. In part because most teen mothers come from disadvantaged backgrounds, 28% of them are poor while in their 20s and early 30s; only 7% of women who first give birth after adolescence are poor at those ages. 1/3 of pregnant teens receive inadequate prenatal care; babies born to young mothers are more likely to be low-birth-weight, to have childhood health problems and to be hospitalized than are those born to older woman. Nearly 4 in 10 teen pregnancies (excluding those ending in miscarriages) are terminated by abortion.

There were about 274,000 abortions among teens in 1996. Since 1980, abortion rates among sexually experienced teens have declined steadily, because fewer teens are becoming pregnant, and in recent years, fewer pregnant teens have chosen to have an abortion.

The reasons most often given by teens for choosing to have an abortion are being concerned about how having a baby would change their lives, feeling that they are not mature enough to have a child and having financial problems.

29 states currently have mandatory parental involvement laws in effect for a minor seeking an abortion: AL, AR, DE, GA, ID, IN, IO, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, ND, OH, PA, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, WV, WI and WY. 61% of minors who have abortions do so with at least one parent’s knowledge; their daughter tells 45% of parents.


1. “Teen Pregnancy” up close and personal . Online. Media One 6 May 2000

2.”Not Me Not Now” Teen Pregnancy Prevention Center. Online Media One 6

May 2000

3. “Teen 1″ Closer Look at Teen Pregnancy. Online. Media One 6 May 2000

4. “Teen Pregnancy” The Final Frontier Oline. America Online 11 May 2000

5. “Resource Center” Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. Online Media One 18

May 2000


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