The Effects of Teenage Pregnancy
Daniel E. Asante
North Charlotte Campus
The Effect of Teenage Pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy is a social problem that has existed for over a century and has always been a great concern to every nation due to the numerous adverse consequences it brings on both the economy and society at large. In the middle of the 70s, teenage pregnancy had reached an astronomical height that it was described as “epidemic” by the Alan Guttmacher Institute in a booklet entitled “11 Million Teenagers” which was widely circulated at the time (Gallagher, M., 1999). This, in fact, put pressure on Congress at the time to pass a bill that would increase family planning fund by hundred percent as a strategy to curtail teenage pregnancy “epidemic” (Gallagher, M., 1999). The rate of Teenage Pregnancy rose from 23.9 births per 1000 single female teenagers in 1975 to 31.4 in 1985, and to 46.4 in 1994. In the last part of the 90s, the rate had dropped by16 percent. For teenagers between 15 and 19 years, the rate of teen pregnancy had dropped by 36 per cent by 2002 and 33 per cent by 2004 (Gallagher, M., 1999). Until recent times, Teenage pregnancy was considered an abomination and a mockery to a family. It carried a stigma and a disgrace to the young mothers and their immediate families. The young mothers were often considered sinners and the children born out of wedlock were referred to as bastards or illegitimate. The horror and the disgrace that was immediately associated with giving birth to bastards or illegitimate children, kept teenage pregnancy at the lowest minimum (Sprague, C., 2009). In the 20th Century, the attitude of society toward teen mothers and their children or teenage pregnancy in general changed; society looked at them with compassion. Soon the horror, the intimidation, and the stigma that surrounds teenage pregnancy dissipated. This has, in no simple terms, contributed to the current level of teen pregnancy in our society. Though the rate of Teenage Pregnancy has declined in the United States in the last decade, it is still considered high, relative to other developed countries such as Sweden, Great Britain, and Denmark. Teenage pregnancy is a real social problem that requires all and sundry in finding a lasting solution to it. What makes teen pregnancy a huge problem lies in the negative effects it brings. The purpose of this work is to discuss some of the effects of teenage pregnancy which include health issues, school dropouts and dependency on the public for economic support.
One striking effect with teenage pregnancy is the high propensity for the pregnant teenager to suffer some health problems. Very often, teenagers who become pregnant try to hide their pregnancy from their parents and in so doing, they do not get the necessary medical attention that initial pregnancy requires or may use crude means to abort the baby which can result in bleeding and death. About 33% of pregnant teenagers do not receive proper prenatal care and monitoring (Sprague, C., 2009). This can result in an increased risk of miscarriage, anemia and high blood pressure in the pregnant teenager. Also, children born to teenage mothers usually exhibit low birth weight which is accompanied with other health hazards like respiratory disease, bleeding in the brain, and intestinal problems. All these account for the high mortality rate for infants born to teenage mothers than those born to women older than 20. This will in effect put some financial demand on the families of the teenage mothers.
Another effect that has captivated the attention of civil society is the rate at which pregnant teenagers drop out of school. Drop outs today are ill-effects for future labor force; a situation which can cause poverty and semi-illiterates which civil society considers very serious in the development of a nation. Research shows that between 30 to 35 per cent of pregnant teenagers drop out of school compared to the 6 per cent of non-pregnant teenagers (Sprague, C., 2009). Dropping out of school has an inherent effect on the teenage mothers; the early pregnancy deprives them of getting the necessary education and skills that will ensure them of rewarding and stable jobs. Finding a regular source of income therefore, becomes extremely difficult for teenage mothers as every job position requires certain skills. Their inabilities to secure jobs lead them to falling on the public for financial support.
Finally, pregnant teenagers are likely to encounter abject poverty if they do not have a strong financial backing from their parents. Surprisingly, a higher percentage of these teens come from either broken home or staying with single parents, and are already living in poverty (Gallagher, M). Also, most of these teens are unmarried and likely to be single mothers which will cause them to face further acute economic hardships than if they were married. The only alternative at their disposal to partially solving their economic predicaments in the short run is to seek public assistance; that is, relying on welfare which includes food stamp. Over 80 per cent of teen mothers go on welfare within three years of giving birth (Sprague, C., 2009). If the teen mother does not go back to school to attain any profession which is mostly the case, their daughters are more likely to become teen mothers and it becomes a vicious cycle.
There are numerous effects of teenage pregnancy but the limit of this paper cannot exhaust all of them. In conclusion, teenage pregnancy is one source that can cause health, economic and educational setbacks not only in the lives of teenagers who allow them to be impregnated but generations down the “road”. All these can be averted if teenagers are taught abstinence from early sex until they have at least completed high school or attained age of 20. Where the teenagers are uncontrollable, they must be advice to use protections such as condoms but one thing is that condom is not 100 percent safe. There has been instances where condoms have torn and causing pregnancy.
Sprague, C. (2009). Teen Pregnancy. Teen Pregnancy – Research Starters Sociology, 1-6.
Retrieved from EBSCOhost.,
Gallagher, M. (1999). The Age of the Unwed Mothers: Is Teenage Pregnancy the problem? – A
Report to the Nation. Retrieved from httl://www.americanvalues.org/html/r_theage_of_
References: Sprague, C. (2009). Teen Pregnancy. Teen Pregnancy – Research Starters Sociology, 1-6. Retrieved from EBSCOhost., Gallagher, M. (1999). The Age of the Unwed Mothers: Is Teenage Pregnancy the problem? – A Report to the Nation. Retrieved from httl://www.americanvalues.org/html/r_theage_of_ unwed_mothers.html