Teen Pregnancy Young Lives at Stake Teenage Research Paper

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Teen Pregnancy


Teenage Pregnancy

The United States has the highest rate of Teen Pregnancy in the developed world with 750,000 every year and the accompanying negative social and economic impact on the teenagers, their children, their families, the community and the nation. Measures have been instituted, such as the 10 best practices, three-policy strategies and sex education programs. Most private and public schools teach abstinence as primary solution to the problem at 87%. The policy has proved ineffective, especially among older teenagers. Field practitioners make their recommendations for more effective prevention, which comprise the features of a recommended initiative.


This study seeks out the magnitude and impact of teenage pregnancy in a multicultural society like the United States. Statistics say that teen pregnancy rates went down from 1990-2005 but went up again from 2006 at 3%. How can current programs address the problem more adequately?

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TOPIC: Research Paper on Teen Pregnancy Young Lives at Stake Teenage Assignment

Teen pregnancy rates in the developed world remain highest in the United States (Guttmacher Institute, 2011). These are more than twice higher than in Canada at 27.9 per 1,000 women aged 15-19 and 31.4 in Sweden as of 2006. Approximately 750,000 teen pregnancies occur every year, and 82% are unintended. Of this number, 59% end in birth and the rest, in abortion. Abortion rate in 2006 was 19.3 per 1,000 women or 56% lower than in 1988 and 1% higher than in 2005. The 86% decline in teen pregnancy decline between 1995 and 2002 was attributed to the significant increase and improvement in the use of contraceptive methods. A decrease in sexual activity accounts for only 14% of the decline. American teens are likelier than teens in Canada, England, France and Sweden to have shorter and less consistent sexual relationships. They are also less likely to use artificial contraceptives, like the pill, or dual methods. About 46% of many sexually experienced male teens and 33% of female teens did not receive formal instruction about contraception before their first sexual experience (Guttmacher).

The majority of public and private high schools at 87% taught abstinence as the most effective method of preventing pregnancy, HIV and STD in a required health education course, according to 2006 reports (Guttmacher, 2011). That required health education course taught about condom efficacy at 65% and its correct use at 39%. It also taught about the risks of pregnancy at 76% and the risks with having multiple sex partners at 81% (Guttmacher).

Social and Economic Impact and Costs

Teenage pregnancy costs more than $9 billion per year of taxpayers' money (CDC, 2011; Hermes, 2011). These costs cover increased health care and foster care, increased incarceration rates, and lost tax revenue for lower educational attainment and income for teen mothers. Both pregnancy and birth significantly contribute to high school dropout rates among girls who receive a high school diploma at age 22 at 50%. This compares with almost 90% of those who graduate from high school without getting pregnant at that age. Their children are also likelier to become low achievers in school, drop out of high school, develop more health problems than other children, get imprisoned in their teen years, get pregnant as teenagers, or encounter difficulties in getting employment. These disadvantages remain even when the risks are adjusted for. These risks include poverty, low levels of education, single-family structure, and low school performance (CDC, Hermes).


The highest rates of teen pregnancy and children are found among non-Hispanic black youth, Hispanic or Latino youth, American Indian or Alaska Native youth and other socio-economically disadvantaged youth of any race or ethnicity (CDC, 2011). Black and Hispanic female 15-19 years old comprise only 35% of the total population yet account for almost 60% of all teen births in 2009. Greater public health efforts are aimed at these populations in addressing overall U.S. teen birth rates. Other sectors, which invite attention, are youth in foster care and juvenile justice system and those living in risk conditions. Teenage pregnancy is one of the six top priorities of CDC, which sees a "winnable battle" against it. Its prevention programs address specific protective factors. These are knowledge of sexual issues, HIV, other STDs and pregnancy' perception of HIV risk; personal values about sex and abstinence; perception of, and attitude towards, condom use; perception of peer norms and behavior towards sex; capacity to refuse sex and use condom; resolve to refrain from sex or limit the number of sexual partners; communication with parents and other adults about sex, condoms, and contraception; avoidance of places and situations leading to sex; and intent to use condoms (CDC).

Three-Policy Strategies that Work

These are comprehensive sexuality education, access to contraceptives and reproductive health care, and youth development (CCGI, 2003). Comprehensive sexuality education programs have been found to delay the start of sexual encounters, reduce the frequency of encounters and the number of sexual partners as well as increase the use of condoms and other contraceptive forms. In comparison, the effectiveness of abstinence-only programs has not been shown to be effective. Sexuality education should be also be provided outside the school so as to reach other high-risk teenagers. It should link up with other youth programs, such as employment, foster care and juvenile justice. Funding should be allotted to community-based organizations to provide these programs and train providers on how it should be taught (CCGI).

Access to Contraceptives and Reproductive Health Care programs will succeed if more than 60% of teens by age 18 and 80% by age 20 should have access to reproductive health care and contraception (CCGI, 2003). If sufficiently and nationally funded, public family planning will prevent 325,800 unintended pregnancies among teenagers aged 15-19, 700 teenage births, and 183,300 abortions. Barriers to these include cost, confidentiality, and accessibility of services when teenagers become sexually active. Minors may want to keep their sexual activity from their parents. Family planning programs should be offered publicly and by private insurers. Reproductive health care services should be extended in a friendly and convenient manner. It should not be judgmental, conducted by peer providers, off-site and through practices, which make contraceptive methods easier to access (CCGI).

Youth development programs are believed to be among the most effective pregnancy prevention measures against teen pregnancy (CCGI, 2003). They can improve life skills and life options for the young who get ensnared for wrongly perceiving that they lack opportunity. Some of these programs have demonstrated positive effects, such as reducing birth or pregnancy rates and risk behaviors. At the same time, they encourage job readiness training, youth-led business ventures, peer teaching or counseling, academic tutoring, recreation, mentoring, community service work, life skills training and other forms of opportunity and support for young people. In preventing teen pregnancy, youth development programs can provide education and links to reproductive health services. Program policies include funding and facilities to support the programs, expansion of employment funding and internship opportunities in businesses, which participate in these issues (CCGI).

Community-Based Doulas for Disadvantaged Pregnant Teens

A recent descriptive study conducted with 24 pregnant and disadvantaged teens revealed that the adjunctive role of community-based doulas provides vital and primary support during their difficult time (Breedlove, 2005). Doulas are women in the community who provide support and positive presence during labor, childbirth and immediately after childbirth. They also provide maternal and psychosocial support to the teen mothers. Surveyed teens said they received enhanced knowledge about childbearing, support during childbirth, self-care, and early attachment to their newborn. They also reported that the doulas were a positive addition to their supportive networks. Doulas who extend comprehensive relationship-based caring are a valuable supplement to perinatal programs in the community. Overall, the study found that pregnant teenagers perceived doulas as increasing their ability to cope with the stresses of pregnancy. They also viewed doulas as friends who support them through pregnancy, labor and childbirth, early parenting and provided them with increased knowledge about motherhood in their unique social condition (Breedlove).

Prevention Programs: 10 Best Practices

The Office of Adolescent Health began implementing a $75-million grant program for teenage prevention program in support of proven effective models (HHS, 2010). There are 72 grantees in 32 States, in addition to Washington DC, which receive grants for up to five years. The OAH oversees the implementation and evaluation of the grants (HHS). Evaluation studies of earlier programs show that many are not effective or not too well evaluated (Johns, 2000). Research identifies the 10 best practices for the programs, three of which are a youth development component, family involvement, and culturally relevant practices. Emphasis is placed on the role of cooperative extension in improving outcomes for teen parents and their children, especially those living in urban communities. These best practices are particularly useful in the communities in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties where teen pregnancy rates are highest, especially among Hispanic adolescents. It is, thus, important to address the unique characteristics and needs of this minority group. The identified best practices have been incorporated into the programs in partnership… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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