Teenage pregnancy is defined as a teenaged or underaged girl (usually within the ages of 13–19) becoming pregnant. The term in everyday speech usually refers to women who have not reached legal adulthood, which varies across the world, who become pregnant
Causes of teenage pregnancy
In some societies, early marriage and traditional gender roles are important factors in the rate of teenage pregnancy. For example, in some sub-Saharan African countries, early pregnancy is often seen as a blessing because it is proof of the young woman's fertility. In the Indian subcontinent, early marriage and pregnancy is more common in traditional rural communities compared to the rate in cities. ...view middle of the document...
And, of course, the more intercourse a teenager has, the more likely it is that a teen pregnancy will eventually result.
Unwanted sexual intercourse
Rape does happen and is one of the reasons that teen pregnancies occur. Rape by boyfriends, family members and even strangers can result in teen pregnancy. However, many teenagers feel pressure of a more subtle kind. Most teenage girls who engage in sexual activity, and especially those who do so before the age of 15, admit that they wish they had waited. But often they feel pressure from their boyfriends: three out of four girls (75 percent) report that the reason they have sex is because their boyfriends want them to. Most of these teens regret it later, whether or not they become pregnant.
Inconsistent use of birth control
Even though the use of contraceptives has increased among teenagers, its use remains spotty. Teens may use birth control to help prevent teen pregnancy, but most do not use contraceptives consistently. Erratic contraceptive use, however, is better than none. A sexually active teen that does not use any birth control has a 90 percent chance of becoming pregnant within a year. Some of the reasons that birth control is not used include the following: uneducated about birth control, uncomfortable using birth control methods and unable to access reliable birth control.
Abstinence-only sex education*
Despite recent government efforts to fund abstinence-only sex education, the vast majority of teenaged boys and girls (62 percent and 70 percent) have initiated vaginal sex by the age of 18. Because of their nature, abstinence-only programs leave out educational information on birth control. These programs have never been shown to actually reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy. However, they are the programs that receive the most funding from the government. There are state governments that forbid any sort of sex education in schools at all. This means that teens that experiment may not have information on birth control and are more likely to engage in activity that results in teen pregnancy.
Despite governmental focus on abstinence-only education, a majority of parents feel that sex education in schools should include information about contraceptives in addition to abstinence. 89 percent of parents feel that in addition to education about the benefits of teen abstinence, teenagers should also receive education on condoms and other birth control methods. Only 15 percent of American adults feel that abstinence-only education should be taught in schools. Most medical organizations and practitioners support comprehensive sex education.
Teenage pregnancy is a growing problem in America. Teenage mothers often drop out of school and end up on welfare, barely able to support their child. Sometimes, teenagers who give birth do not live through the ordeal,
as their bodies are not ready to handle the stress of...