March 7, 2013
Informative Speech 2:00 T-TH
How to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy carries high cost in terms of both the social and economic health of mothers and their children. Teenage mothers are less likely to receive prenatal care, and their children are more likely to be born before term, to have low birth weights, and to have developmental problems. Teenage mothers are also less likely to complete their education than moms over twenty years of age.
Teenage pregnancy and birth rates both dropped in the 1990s among all racial and ethnic groups. Increased abstinence among teens could explain the decrease . However, the U.S. still has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy among western industrialized nations, 42.9 births per 1,000 females aged 15-19. In 2002, there were 431,988 births to females under twenty. Four out of ten girls become pregnant by the age of twenty. Eighty percent of these teenage pregnancies are unintended, and 79 percent of pregnant teens are unmarried. The birth rate remains high in low-income, minority neighborhoods, where the birth rate still remains at 153 and 138 births per 1,000 for black and Hispanic teenage girls respective. Sixty percent of all teenage mothers are in poverty at the time of birth.
Teenage pregnancy is linked to several risk factors. Being poor, living in a single-parent household, child abuse, and risky behaviors such as drug abuse and early or unprotected sex are all predictors of whether a teenager will become pregnant The three general strategies to reduce teenage pregnancy all try to increase the factors that protect teens against these risky behaviors. The first is an abstinence-only approach, which has not been shown to be effective . The second is comprehensive health education or sexuality education that includes information on contraception; this may delay sexual initiation and increase contraceptive use. Finally, youth development programs that include sex education...