Teenage pregnancy causes

Written by gigi starr
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Teenage pregnancy causes
(2008 Polina Sergeeva / Creative Commons)

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Teen Pregnancy and Social Causes

Teen pregnancy rates are affected by the messages young girls get from the world around them, by their social circles and by the need for approval or attention. Often, teen girls participate in unsafe sexual situations to fit in with a peer group or to cement the affections of a particular young man. They don't fully understand that motherhood is work, miscalculating future loss of opportunity in career and personal growth from having children too early.

In 2008, a pregnancy boom in the Massachusetts town of Gloucester brought national scrutiny; it was later revealed that the girls wanted the experience the unconditional love of a baby in addition to the camaraderie of other young mothers. Teens also watch sexually charged television programming and emulate the characters they see, often with regrettable results. According to Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times, "When most of the television a teen watches is sexual in nature, risk for teen pregnancy doubles compared to kids who watch little or no sexually-themed television."

Abstinence-Only Education and Teens

The push for abstinence-only education from religious conservatives in the United States also ushered in a rise in teen births in participating school systems. Dr. Jonathan Klein of the American Academy for Pediatrics states, "Even though there is great enthusiasm in some circles for abstinence-only interventions, the evidence does not support abstinence-only interventions as the best way to keep young people from unintended pregnancy." The programs, which don't instruct teens on proper use of birth control or STD prevention, left young people uneducated in the face of rampant disease transmission and sexual curiosity. As a result, the Obama administration has stopped funding many abstinence-only programs in its 2009 financial year budget, choosing to refocus efforts into reducing teen pregnancies nationwide.

How to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Paediatricians and government officials agree that it's best to provide comprehensive education to teens to enable them to make healthier choices. Many also advocate making birth control and emergency contraception more easily available to young girls. It doesn't work to close teens off from sex altogether; instead, it's best to use sexual situations as an opportunity to teach teens better habits. Because poor sex education has led to an increase of teen birth rates in 26 states, adults can help matters with involvement and honesty about the costs of young motherhood.

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