The Problem of Teen Pregnancies

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In schools today, teenagers deal with much more peer pressure than teenagers did twenty years ago. One of those peer pressures is being sexually active. Being sexually active then puts teenage women at the risk of becoming pregnant. Teenage pregnancies have constantly been a problem in the United States. Not only does teen pregnancies affect the mother and the child, they also affect the American society as a whole. Nonetheless, the high rates of teen pregnancies can be decreased. The use of contraceptives such as birth control and/or condoms are both solutions to help reduce the number of teenage pregnancies. Having the parents sit down and talk about sex education can help lower rates as well. However, there is one solution that completely solves every case of teenage pregnancy and that is abstinence. Teenage pregnancy is a problem in the United States that can be decreased by using contraceptives, emphasizing sex education in the home and being taught to stay abstinent.

The Problem
Teen pregnancies have constantly been a problem in the United States. Studies have shown that the United States continues to have one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy among developed nations (“Teenage Pregnancy Is a Significant”). The media plays a major role in influencing teenage pregnancy by creating a movies and television shows that represent teenage pregnancies as positive circumstances. Movies like Juno and Knocked Up both end in happily ever after's while that is not the case in reality. Juno, the teenage mom, has supportive parents and a sensitive boyfriend. In Knocked Up, the father, who is once a complete slob, changes his ways for a woman he got pregnant on a one night stand. Women these days are not always lucky enough to have families or men like the ones in Juno and Knocked Up. Television shows like “16 and Pregnant” and “The Pregnancy Pact” also give the impression that teen pregnancy is normal and should not be frowned upon. Teen pregnancy has been linked to a greater risk of health problems and poverty in both teen mothers and their children. The death rate in childbirth for teens under the age of fifteen is two and a half times greater than for mothers who are between the ages of twenty and twenty-four (Steinberg). Many young teens are not fully developed before getting pregnant. Therefore, they may not be able to nourish their babies without taking away nutrients needed for their own growing bodies. The nutrients an expectant mother consumes go to the developing baby, thereby depleting nutrients needed for her own growth (Steinberg). Children born to teen mothers are more likely than other children to have low birth weights, putting them at greater risk of dying as infants, and of developing blindness, deafness, mental and respiratory problems, and cerebral palsy. Milder problems, such as hyperactivity and dyslexia, are also more likely to occur in children with low birth weights (“Update: Teen Pregnancy”). Pregnancy can be unhealthy for teenage mothers as well. They are considered particularly vulnerable to ailments such as hypertension and anemia. They are also less likely than older mothers to seek appropriate prenatal care, and less likely to gain an appropriate amount of weight while pregnant. If a teenager does happen to get pregnant, they may not take their pregnancy very seriously. Some young ladies still believe that even though they are pregnant, they can still take part in activities such as drinking, smoking, or doing drugs. No amount of these substances is safe for the baby, and they can even complicate the pregnancy. Aside from the harm to those directly affected, teen pregnancy is also blamed for adding to the cost of health care, because teen mothers often require public assistance. Approximately one-quarter of teen mothers go on welfare within three years of the child’s birth (“Teen Pregnancy Is a Significant”). According to government figures, close to 900,000 teens become pregnant each...
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