The topic of teen pregnancy is regarded to be a delicate and complicated issue. It interconnects with many aspects such as moral, psychological, and physical among others. Numerous studies regarding this theme focus on the unfavorable effects for a child rather than a mother. At first sight, it may seem to be simple and comprehensible, however, it is not. It continually expands in scope. A pregnant girl faces a vast array of challenges. Moral aspects include the censure of society, family, and friends. The physiological aspect means that a teen girl is still a child who is not ready to become a mother, to realize the importance of maternity, and to become fully accountable for a newborn child in the majority of cases. Indeed, it is difficult for a girl to acknowledge that she may lose the opportunity to go to school or study at the university and make a successful career. The physical aspect comprises various unfavorable consequences for a girl. Numerous research works have made a thorough study of this issue. The topic of teen pregnancy requires subsequent scrutiny because many questions remain unresolved. At the same time, a vast array of works embraces a wide range of themes and tries to delineate the problem in outline without paying attention to crucial details. Only a few works concentrate their information on the real surveys, highlight the particular features of a particular event and adduce proofs and appropriate figures. Teen pregnancy is considered to be a challenge that needs urgent solution.
The pregnancy for a teen girl comes at the age from 13 to 17-18 years. For a girl, unplanned pregnancy seems to be a catastrophe as she encounters many challenges she has to overcome. The one problem engages an opportunity of communicating the news to her family. Then, she has to decide whether to give birth to a child or have an abortion. The other challenge concerns an adjustment of plans and decisions. The pregnancy affects all the spheres of life that must be taken into consideration. The questions of education, career, means of subsistence, relationship with family and men necessarily arise. It is also worth mentioning that early pregnancy is dangerous both for a mother and for her child (Coyne, 2012, p.120).
According to the statistics of the World Health Organization, “About 16 million women (in the age from 15 to 19) become pregnant every year. It makes up 11 percent of all deliveries in the world” (WHO, 2011, p.36). About 95 percent of such births deteriorate in countries with low and middle levels of income. It is also said that a part of deliveries in a teen age falls in China (2 percent), Latin America and Caribbean States (18 percent), and Sub-Saharan Africa (more than 50 percent) (WHO, 2011, p.37). It proves that this challenge can be solved only by means of education and social work with the youth.
Indeed, this issue relates not only to the developing countries but also to states with high level of income. The rate of the teen mothers remains to be higher in comparison to the other western nations. According to the data provided by the Guttmacher Institute, about 550,000 pregnancies occurred among teen girls aged 14-19. The national rate consisted of 52 pregnancies per 1,000 women of this age-group (Sedgh et al., 2015, p.226). The highest rates were recorded in Mexico, Arkansas, and Mississippi, whereas the lowest in Vermont, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. In contrast, the decrease in the represented rate occurred in 2014 and amounted to 250,000 babies in the mentioned age group. The national rate was 24 pregnancies per 1000 women of teen mothers respectively (Penman-Aguilar et al., 2013, p.8). The reasons for such a diminution are still vague. It may be associated with the certain economic challenges or the growth of sex education of the youth. These various statistical figures are obtained by the institutions, non-governmental organizations, some scholars with the purpose of improving the current health system, mobilizing investment and establishing new peculiar details to scrutiny (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2016). The scientists from the RAND consider video games and lecherous sexual shows to be the root of all evil (Sadler et al., 2007, p.130). They came to the conclusion that TV, journals, and the eInternet affect the teenagers and impel to the aggression and improper behavior. They also assert that 13 hours per week is enough to change the conduct out of all recognition (Kothari et al., 2012, p.54). Thus, the TV and mass media are considered to be the main contributors to teen pregnancy.
Some investigations and works persist in the foundation of the special child care centers which would improve lives of children, born by the teen mothers. It seems to be efficient as the mother has an opportunity to finish school or graduate from the university and at the same time to look after her child. Whatever is the background of a family, this center would bring a child a great benefit – he/she would get accustomed to living in society and among peers without losing contact with his/her mother. This situation would simplify life of young parents providing them with a chance to be busy with other concerns (Sadler et al., 2007, p.124). It stresses the idea that the background of the family in not always a determinative factor.
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In spite of the challenge that teen pregnancy involves, there are also other additional factors as this delicate topic touches upon the issue of child`s health. It also deals with the outcomes which may arise in the future and affect the baby`s life. The investigations support the idea that the maternal age of the first birth is more important than all the other. The age at which the girl begins childbearing influences both the mother and all the children she can give birth to. The mothers who are in age under 20 have high chances to give birth to a dead child. The UNCF statistics also confirms that, “The children of teen mothers have higher chances to die during the first week of their life (about 50 percent) in comparison with those women who gave birth in the age of 20-29” (UNPF, 2013, p.40). The younger is the mother the higher is the risk. A possibility to die during the deliveries is widespread in Latin America. The death rate of teen mothers under 16 exceeds by four times the similar rate among women from 20 to 29 (UNPF, 2013, p. 43). Another question concerns the intellectual faculties, talents of a child vary. Some children lag behind or on the contrary catch up with their peers. It may be related to the background of each family, the mother`s influence or the inherent abilities and personal aspirations. The questions remain the same. The children of the older mothers are more adjusted to the life and show better aptitudes for studying.
One more topic which needs examination is the background of a teen mother, its environment, etc. The works do not cover plenty of situations when the family matters. It is not about the unmarried mothers, but sexual abuses and harassment. It is reported that 10 percent of young girls under 15 were forced to sex and then became pregnant (Sadler et al., 2007, p.122). It has a bad influence on a teen mother and on her child. In such cases, it may occur that a teen mother will detest her child.
Unfortunately, there is another factor. The heavy burden of diseases (23 percent) is caused by the pregnancy and childbirth (López Turley, 2003, p.4). The absence of contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, chronic ailments, consequences of illness are of the utmost importance both for a mother and a child. People say that the girl should give birth to a child as early as possible because a baby gains better immunity in contrast when the woman is mature enough. Actually it relates to the mature women (for instance, from 20) whose body is almost developed and ready to bear a child. It means that the mother is full of energy and strength to provide the fetus with all vital elements (López Turley, 2003, p.6).
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The topic of teen pregnancy is considered to be one of the most confusing problems of the contemporary society. The main discrepancy is that a teen girl needs help and special care, including psychological because sometimes she does not realize the gravity of the situation. A future mother has to overcome numerous complications, and they are ignored by the modern society. The main problem is that a teen mother is afraid of taking somebody into her confidence. She is too young to realize all the responsibility she has to take upon herself. Concerning the special centers for the teen mothers, they seem to be an embodiment of that fear from which the girl tries to escape. The adults wish to help, but the teenagers consider them to be enemies. Indeed, these centers are a good example of how society could support the girl and her child in a difficult situation. To improve these centers and their popularity there should be workers with the similar life situations or the women who are not so old to understand the teenagers and their conduct. There also should be meetings with our teen mothers or with girls who are pregnant and are going to give a birth to a child. These communications will make them feel confident and understood. It would help them to establish friendly relations and connections with others.
Many studies seem to be very contradicting and obscure. For instance, they can describe the received results but the convincing conclusions are absent. Other researches are rich in figures and statistics, but then admit their mistakes. The methods of such works also vary. Some use the surveys, questionnaires, public inquiries, but do not take into account the certain specific criteria. These surveys have to investigate the strata, age group, the history and background, the cultural aspects and beliefs, the way of behaving, the relationships in a family, and the origins in their entirety, instead they focus on other less important matters. Some methods like the comparison of teen mothers, non-teen mothers, mothers with teen sisters, mothers with non-teen sisters are quite strange because all the women differ from each other in behavior and beliefs and it is better to investigate the environment and psychological peculiarities rather than women who do not fall under the same criteria. The results of such investigation are considered to be made artificially. The one may agree that the only fact that matters is the health of a teen mother in all aspects, the life of a newly-born child and the outcomes which may arise for him/her. Another issue that needs studying is the matter of fatherhood. There are so many investigations regarding the girl`s state, but there is a lack of works on the boy`s state. Not all the boys leave their pregnant girlfriend. Many of them try to keep in touch with future mother of their child and help her to cope with the troubles of motherhood.
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In conclusion, teen pregnancy is considered to be one of the main problems for the contemporary society. This issue touches upon the various spheres of everyday life, beginning from the family and the future. There are a lot of investigations which try to reveal the unknown facts and peculiarities of the problem. The foundation of the special care centers helps to improve the current situation but does not solve the problem in its entirety. However, despite all the taken actions, the challenge is not eradicated. This matter should be examined thoroughly. It requires further investigations. The application of the old and new methods will favor the reduction of the teen pregnancy rate as well.