Teen pregnancy is a topic of concern due to the significant impact on the health of the mother, child, and community. The resources available for supporting the needs of teenage mothers are decreasing; resulting in the majority of teenage mothers being caught in the vicious cycle of poverty, school failure, and limited life options (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2000).
In the United States more than 40% of women become pregnant before they are twenty years old, and 50% of teenage pregnancies occur within the first six months of their initial intercourse experience (Dangal, 2006). Certain behaviors teenagers display act as predictors to early sexual activity: early dating, alcohol use, dropping out of school, lack of family and community support and relationships, a victim of sexual abuse, and having a mother who was nineteen years old or younger when she birthed her first child (Dangal). Additionally, teenage mothers face the risk of added health problems to themselves and the child during and after pregnancy. Girls under the age of fifteen are at an increased risk for contracted pelvis, and all teenage girls have an increased risk for maternal mortality, inadequate prenatal care, poor maternal weight gain, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), pregnancy induced hypertension, anemia, and postpartum hemorrhage (Dangal, 2006). STDs affect 25% of sexually active teenagers each year, and STD infections can lead to life long problems such as infertility, cancer, and ectopic pregnancies (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2000). Other health and social risks associated with teenage pregnancy include higher infant mortality, or children with decreased cognitive abilities, physical growth, and future attainment (Cassata & Dallas, 2005).
Nursing professionals who provide care within the community must create plans of care, and provide the means to evaluate the success and need for continued nursing interventions for the community's teenage population. Sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and the health risks associated with both are the focus point of nursing intervention plans to increase adolescents awareness and knowledge base, and to reduce or prevent the overall occurrence of STD infection and pregnancy. Also, nurses must educate teenagers who already are pregnant to seek medical care. Early and adequate prenatal care is crucial to detect health problems associated with teenage pregnancy, and to assure healthy outcomes and healthy mothers (Dangal, 2006). In an effort to reduce the rate of early sexual behavior resulting in poor health outcomes, STD infection, and pregnancy, teenagers, their parents, and the community need to be aware of the consequences. Awareness is fostered through social mobilization, information dissemination, sex education, contraceptive accessibility, and communication campaigns (Dangal). Diagnosis
The diagnosis for the selected aggregate is: Knowledge deficit related to negative consequences of sexual behavior resulting in STDs, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), and/or pregnancy secondary to adolescence. Rationale
According to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (TNCPTP), in the year 2003, 32.8% of American ninth graders reported having sex at least once (TNCPTP, 2004). The same report by TNCPTP affirmed the number of tenth graders that reported having sex at least once was 44.1%; eleventh graders, 53.2%; and twelfth graders, 61.6% (TNCPTP). Combined with the previously mentioned statistic by Dangal (2006) that half of teenage pregnancies occur within six months of the first intercourse experience, the potential impact of high rates of teenage sexual activity is shocking. Sexually active adolescents also face the risk of contracting a STD. "Every year, approximately three million adolescents in the United States, about one in four, acquire STIs [sexually transmitted infection]" (Brown, n.d.). Although the overall number of teenagers...
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