Teenage Pregnancy

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Teenage pregnancy is a universal problem that accompanies the beginning of sexual activity at increasingly younger ages. Surprisingly, only one in 5 youth do not have intercourse before the age of 20, and in the United States alone, annually, almost one million teenagers between the ages of 15 – 19 becomes pregnant (Rector, 2007). Sexual activity among adolescents is a major problem confronting the nation and the world. Consequently, this has led to a rising incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), emotional and psychological conflicts, and out-of-wedlock childbearing. As a result, sex education should be taught at an early age as a preventative measure. Teaching abstinence and sex education at an early age is not only very popular; it also makes sense. Social science data shows that teens who abstain from sex do substantially better on a wide range of outcomes (Rector and Johnson, 2005). For example, teens who abstain from sex are less likely to be depressed and to attempt suicide; to experience sexually transmitted diseases; to have children out-of-wedlock; and to live in poverty as well as become welfare dependents as adults. The earlier children become sexually active the more detrimental it is to the health of the mother and child. Teenage pregnancy is a problem that affects nearly every society -developed and developing alike. In essence, it is a common public health problem worldwide. Finally, those who delay sexual activity are more likely to have stable and enduring marriages as adults. Therefore, there are vitally important efforts aimed at reducing out-of-wedlock childbearing among young adult women, improving children's well-being, and increasing adult happiness over the long term. The aims for programs addressing these issues regarding teen pregnancy should be threefold. First, direct the initiative toward delaying the onset of sexual activities and early marriages. Second, direct the plan toward preventing pregnancy for sexually active adolescents by the use of effective contraception. Third, direct the program toward ensuring the well-being of adolescent parents, including the avoidance of further pregnancies (Dangal, 2006). In this approach for prevention of teen pregnancy, a program through abstinence education should be created. This needs to be a clinic-focused program to bring about behavioral changes in the teens. Early childbearing can be postponed by delaying early marriage and delaying the timing of the first birth through the effective use of family planning methods via a clinic-focused program. Additionally, subsequent pregnancies among young women should be discouraged by way of these clinics as rapid repeat pregnancy in young mothers also increases prenatal risks.

Numerous studies have examined additional programs designed to bring about positive behavior in teens in general and positive reproductive health behavior in particular. Some sex education programs that are taught in schools are Reducing the Risk, a program for high school students in urban and rural areas in California. This program uses behavior theory-based activities to reduce unprotected intercourse, either by helping teens avoid sex or to use protection. Another program is Postponing Sexual Involvement, for African American 8th graders in Atlanta, GA. This program helps youth understand social and peer pressure to have sex and to develop and apply resistance skills. Healthy Oakland Teen (HOT), targets 7th graders in Oakland, CA. These health educators teach basic sex and drug education (Dean, 1997). Statistically speaking, 56% of young women and 73% of young men today have had intercourse by age 18 (Rector, 2007). Too often, adolescent pregnancy is viewed as a problem having to do exclusively with teenage girls. Overlooked – by many - are the boys and men who share equally in this responsibility. Their need for pregnancy prevention information and services is no less important. Talking about abstinence with male or...
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