Teen pregnancy is defined as a pregnancy that occurs in a young woman under twenty years of age. It comes with many complications, starting with the pregnancy itself, where the mother may struggle with medical complications like premature labor. Mental strain is also high on teen mothers, who may feel excluded by their peers or may feel it necessary to drop out of school, to hold a job and support their coming baby. It comes with a whole slew of problems, but what causes it? This paper will explore some of the common factors that can lead to teen pregnancy, including a lack of guidance and education, poor judgment from teenagers, lack of access to birth control, and the nature of teen relationships today.
Talking about things like contraception and sexual relationships can be awkward for parents, who may avoid it simply for this reason. Some schools also try to avoid it the most they can, by using abstinence-based educational programs that simply try to use STDs and pregnancy to scare students out of having sex. The problem is that this doesn’t work. In fact, Texas is a state known for its abstinence-based programs, but is also high on the list for teen pregnancy rate. It would seem that tackling the problem head on and education teens, instead of shaming them, would be a more appropriate route to take.
Another issue that arises is poor judgmental decisions. As children grow into teens, they find themselves faced with greater amounts of peer pressure that may lead them to try drugs or drinking. When paired with the pressure to have sex, it is no wonder that the rate of teen pregnancy is so high. This is especially true because kids they must hide things from their parents. They become so good at it that the issue cannot be addressed before things like pregnancy result from these types of encounters.
Teenagers also become pregnant because they cannot access the birth control that would help them stay safe. Things like condoms can be expensive or embarrassing to purchase. It is also common that young women under the age of 16 must have a parent sign for them to get birth control. Knowing their parents will not approve, teens sometimes make the decision to go ahead with sex using the ‘pull-out’ method or in other ineffective ways.
Finally, the sexualization of children and the nature of relationships place a lot of pressure on teens, sometimes to be sexy. Young women may seek out relationships with men who are several years older than them, which used to be common practice. This can result in abusive relationships, dating violence, and teen pregnancy.
After reviewing the factors that may cause teen pregnancy, it seems the best approach is to educate and inform teens about the risks of sex, including pregnancy and STDs. Accessible birth control and an open, honest relationship with parents may be the key to preventing this epidemic, as well as preventing poor relationship choices and questionable judgment from peer pressure.