- April 29, 2020
Effects of Teenage Pregnancy
Effectsof Teenage Pregnancy
Althoughteenage pregnancy has declined over the years, the issue remains asocial problem for most countries. Early and unwanted pregnanciesaccount for approximately eleven percent of all births worldwide. Inthe United States, about seven percent of girls give birth duringtheir teenage years. The high numbers of teenage pregnancy around theglobe are creating many problems for parents, social services, andthe society (Yoshikawa,Aber, and Beardslee273).There has been a considerable effort by governments andnon-government organizations to reduce the numbers. While society mayface some problems from the high incidences of early and unwantedpregnancies, the real victims of the problem remain the teenagers.Pregnancy is hard enough for adults, but when teenagers are facedwith the challenges, it can become overwhelming. Consequently,teenage pregnancy results in health, financial, social, and emotionaleffects for the young parents, their family members, and thecommunities.
Consequencesof Teenage Pregnancy
Earlypregnancy can lead to health complications because teenage bodies arenot mature enough to handle the process of childbirth. The healthimplications affect both the teenage mother and the baby duringpregnancy and after the birth. Adolescent mothers are unlikely togain the body mass required during pregnancy, which leads to lowbirth weight. Thus, it causes for various health complications fornewborn babies and results in higher infant mortality rates. Such asituation can cause respiratory distress syndrome, which makes itdifficult for the newborn to take in the required level of oxygen forregular functioning of the body (Cederbaum, et al. 197). Low birthweight can also cause bleeding in the brain and severe heartcondition if not treated properly. Another medical condition thataffects children with low birth weight is Necrotizing enterocolitis,which affects the intestines of the newborn and leads to the swellingof the belly. Necrotizing enterocolitis leads to the baby havingfeeding problems and could require that the toddler is fedintravenously (Cederbaum, et al. 197). On the other hand, teenagepregnancy poses health risks to the young mother. In most cases, somepregnant girls suffer from anemia and high blood pressure becausetheir bodies can hardly cope with the pregnancy. These conditions canalso result in excessive bleeding during childbirth that can evenresult in death.
Furthermore,teenagers are also likely to encounter financial difficulties sincepregnancy and child rearing increase the daily upkeep costs. There isalso bound to be social strains on the teenagers as well as thesociety. The newborn and the mother require constant medical care,particularly if they developed any complications during the pregnancyand after birth. Besides, the young parents are usually in schoolthus, they can hardly afford to cover the financial expenses withoutthe help of their parents or relatives. For example, most youngadults are under their parents’ insurance coverage, which may notapply to the newborn. Thus, the family will have to incur additionalmedical expenses. Moreover, the newborn requires various basic needssuch as diapers, ointments, pacifiers, formula, and bottles.
Therefore,the financial constraints can cause the teenage mother to drop out ofeducation and find a job to supplement the family income. Thefinancial problems are particularly severe for the teenagers inlow-income households. Then again, it is difficult for the teens tofind well-paying jobs because they lack the educational achievementsand the skills necessarily to compete in the job market amidst thehigh unemployment rates (Chico, et al. 1033). Thus, paying for childcare services becomes a challenging an almost impossible task for theteen moms. On the other hand, the teenage mothers who can continuewith their education would have to depend on family to pay for childcare services. Hence, it puts undue strain on the financial resourcesof the family. Besides, it delays their education since they have totake some time off school during childbirth and recovery period.
Additionally,pregnancy during adolescent can result in emotional problems on theyoung parents (Yoshikawa, et al. 278). The teenagers face too muchscrutiny and judgment from family and friends, and sometimes it leadsto social isolation. The young parents also face significant stresslevels and may result in mental health concerns. Teenage moms facehigher levels of postpartum stress as compared to older mothers. Theyoung mothers are also more likely to suffer from posttraumaticstress disorder as compared to other girls in their age group sincethey endure numerous emotional and health problems associated withpregnancy and childbirth. Most women experience difficulty sleeping,trouble eating, anxiety, mood swings, and sadness for about two weeksafter delivery. However, these conditions can have devastatingeffects on young mothers.
Furthermore,teen mothers who have extra pressure from the society may end upsuffering from severe psychological problems such as depression.Besides, the young parents who are not offered emotional or financialsupport are likely to suffer from depression due to the feeling ofbeing abandoned. Pregnancy results in fluctuating hormones, which maytake an emotional toll on the person. The emotional toll on apregnant teenager may lead to the girl considering self-performedabortion and suicide, especially if they are abandoned by the parentsor the biological father. Some of these girls also spend a lot oftime worrying about their future because they some of theopportunities they had before the pregnancy are no longer available.Thus, it may lead to emotional problems, particularly when theyperceive their situation to be hopeless. Shame is also a contributingfactor to the emotional strain that a pregnant teenager faces due tonegative perception from the peers.
Someyoung mothers may also neglect their baby because they may beunwilling or unable to provide undivided attention to the newborn.For example, a young mother may become overwhelmed by the constantneeds of the baby which may limit her freedom to interact with herpeers. Consequently, it leads to a sense of unworthiness and couldlead to the person developing low-self esteem as well as stress.
Additionally,various social problems are associated with early and unwantedpregnancy. One of the most outstanding social problems is loweducation achievement. Once a teenage girl becomes pregnant, it hardfor them to continue pursuing education like their peers. A lot ofyoung girls usually drop out of school due to the stigma facedexperienced in learning institutions. For example, pregnantadolescents are likely to suffer taunts, ignorant discourses, andisolation from their peers, which may push them to drop out ofschool. Once they give birth, teenage moms may opt to search for jobsinstead of pursuing higher education. Therefore, the localgovernments are forced to allocate money to cater for child healthcare, public assistance, and foster care leading to lost revenues.Statistics show that the annual cost of teenage pregnancies is about$7 billion (Linders 149). Besides, the money spent on teenagepregnancies could have been put to other uses to improve socialservices for all people in the society.
Adolescentmothers are among the less educated members of the community. Hence,it necessary for the government to step in with welfare schemes tointervene. Teenage moms are also exempted from paying taxes, whichfurther reduces the government revenue. Due to the low educationalqualifications, most teenage mothers are likely to get low payingjobs, and this could lead to destitution. In most cases, the burdenof child upkeep is the sole responsibility of the mother, which leadsto increased level of poverty for the new family. The young girls mayalso engage in unhealthy behavior to cope with their emotional andfinancial problems. For instance,some young girls may turn tosubstance and alcohol abuse to deal to escape their problems.
Thenagain, this creates the problem as some of these young parents engagein criminal behavior to get money to cater for their needs. Forexample, some girls might decide to enter into illegal activitiessuch as being drug peddlers. Eventually, some of them are imprisonedfor drug-related offenses or other criminal activities. Therefore, itmakes the effects associated with teenage pregnancy much worse andincreases the already high cost of criminal justice system.
Teenagepregnancy has far reaching consequences for those involved andsociety. The children of teenage mothers suffer from various healthcomplications because their bodies are unable to respond to thehormonal and body mass changes during pregnancy. Childbirth is alsochallenging for the young girls, which can lead to excessive bleedingputting the mother’s life at risk. Likewise, it affects the newborndue to problems associated with low birth weight. Babies from teenagemothers are likely to experience respiratory distress syndrome, whichresults in breathing complications. They are also susceptible tobrain damage and heart conditions. Additionally, the new parentsencounter tremendous financial burden. The medical care expensesduring pregnancy and after the birth can lead to severe financialconstraints for the family, especially because the adolescents areunable to support their child. In most cases, the parents and familymembers have to cater for the medical and upkeep expenses of thebaby.
Besides,the teenage girls are more likely to drop out of school due to stigmaand in search of jobs to add to the family income. All these problemsmake the young mothers susceptible to mental health problems due tostress and isolation from their peers. The new mother is solelyresponsible for her children and sometimes the situation is toooverwhelming for them to handle. Thus, some of them result tounhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol and substance abuse.Moreover, some teenage girls engage in criminal activities such asselling illegal drugs to get the money they need to take care oftheir child. Some young girls can also have psychological disordersto the extent that they may develop suicidal thoughts.
Assuch, the federal and local administrations are forced to allocaterevenue to take care of pregnant teenagers instead of putting it toother uses. The effects of teenage pregnancy are massive andfar-reaching, so preventive measures have to be put in place toensure that occurrences are minimized. The problems associated withearly and unwanted pregnancies affect everyone in the society eitherdirectly or indirectly. Consequently, people should cooperate andeducate the young adults how to be responsible thus, mitigate theproblems.
Cederbaum,Julie A., Putnam-HornsteinE, King B. Gilbert K., and Needell B.“InfantBirth Weight and Maltreatment of Adolescent Mothers.” AmericanJournal of Preventative Medicine.Vol. 45, No. 2, 2013, pp. 197-201.Chico,Elsie, Gonzalez A., Ali N, Steiner M, and Fleming A. S. “Executivefunction and mothering: Challenges Faced by Teenage Mothers”. WileyOnline Library.Vol. 56, No. 5, 2015, pp. 1027-1035.
Yoshikawa,Hirokazu, WilliamBeardslee, and J. Lawrence Aber.“The effects of poverty on the mental, emotional, and behavioralhealth of children and youth: Implications for prevention.”AmericanPsychologist.Vol.67, No.4, 2012, pp. 272-284.
Linders,Annula. “TeenagePregnancy as a Social Problem: A Comparison of Sweden and the UnitedStates”. SpringerLink.Vol. 16, No. 3, 2014, pp. 147-147.