Social Science 113
Professor John Doe
3 April 2018
Teenage pregnancy is widely associated by poor achievements in education, poor mental and physical health, poverty, social isolation and other related factors. Also, there is a growing recognition regarding social economic disadvantages and how they cause teenage pregnancy. According to UNICEF, the UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate compared to other countries in Europe (“The well-being of children”). In most parts of the UK, the birth rate compared to teenage mothers fell in the 1970s (Harden 43). However, the UK rates have remained fairly consistent, and have stayed stable from 1969 (Harden 43).
Since 1998, under 18 and under 16 conception rates dropped by approximately 6%, only to start rising again in recent years. For instance, in 2005, approximately 39,000 teenagers in several parts of England became pregnant. 44% ended up aborting by illegal methods. About 7,617 of those who conceived were under 16 years of age (Dennison). In 2000, the National Attitudes and Sexual Lifestyles Survey conducted a survey that included 11,000 males and females between the age of 16 and 44 in Britain (Dennison). The survey found that the median age at first intercourse was between 16 and 19. Research shows that first sexual encounter before turning 16 is very common in people who come from manual social classes, those without or with little qualification, teenagers who do not live with their parents and teenagers that leave school before they turn 16.
The proportion of males that reported to have engaged in sex at the age of 16 was 30%. This issue has not changed through the years and has remained constant until today. Although the females that reported to have engaged in sex by the age 16 was less by 4%, the number is still huge and has also not shown any change through the years (Dennison).
Also, most teenagers that are likely to become pregnant in their teens do not cite schools as their main source of information about sex. Early sexual encounter is reported to be more common amongst girls at the age of 13 in many parts of the world. Early sexual encounter is not likely to be seen as an autonomous and consensual event and is more likely to bring about regrets and is more likely to be unprotected against infections and pregnancy. With the current development and economic development, teenage pregnancy has emerged as a significant social problem and a health issue. It has been the focus of many governments since the last two decades. There is a need to reduce teenage pregnancy rate worldwide because of its negative consequences on the mother and the baby.
Teenagers who conceive are not only at risk of complications during childbirth, but they also risk contracting diseases that are transmitted sexually. A single instance of unprotected sex has 1% chance for someone to contract genital herpes and about 50% chance for contracting gonorrhea (Noll et al. 367). Conceiving before one is 16 years of age posses the risk of miscarriage and pre-term delivery. In addition to that, teenagers may fear their parents’ reaction as well as some medical procedures and, in the process, risk other severe consequences.
Psychologically, pregnant teenagers, especially those who are below 16 years, are mostly psychologically immature while their emotions are likely to be unstable. In addition, pregnant teenagers tend to have additional stress that is imposed by pregnancy. Socially, 90% of teenagers who conceive do so out of wedlock (Noll et al. 369). Furthermore, some teenagers from poor income families conceive as a result of social-economic challenges.
The effect of teenage pregnancy is severe especially to the mother. Pregnant teenagers are likely to develop short term mental problems such as depression. Their education and employability is also affected since teenage mothers are likely not to continue with their education.
As a result, this will leave them without any skills and with very few chances of landing employment opportunities that require skills. Pregnant teenagers are also likely to lack the required support considering that 9 out of 10 of these teenagers get pregnant out of wedlock. Teenage pregnancy may also be caused by family conflicts since teenage pregnancy has been found to be high among teenagers that are exposed to violence.
A number of scholars have been against sex education in schools and federal aid that is mostly given to single parents, providing that these two concepts are the major causes for teenage pregnancy in many countries. Sex education and federal aid are mostly required to strengthen the status of the mother and her children, but, eventually, it is not doing this but concentrating on teaching teenagers on how to engage in protected sex. In addition to that, a number of teenage pregnancies have been pinned on the lack of a father figure in the family. The absence of a father figure brings about social dilemma in many homes.
Emotional issues that many children suffer from due to the lack of a father figure in their life become potentially hazardous for many children. Many children are affected mentally since these powerful emotions can inflict permanent damage on the children. Male children are affected differently from female children. Male children need a male role model in their lives so that they can learn how to become proper men (Noll et al. 371). Male children mostly chose to do negative things, which include impregnating young girls because they lack proper understanding of the consequences of their actions.
On the other hand, female children that are raised up with their mothers alone are likely to end up having sexual encounters at a very early age. This is because female children want to make up for affection that they have missed from their fathers. Their dependency on males is caused by their presumed need for a person that can replace their fathers (Noll et al. 373). These teenagers lack the required way of relating to other males compounded by the fact that they lack the idea of what entails a proper relationship.
On a critical side, literature on teenage pregnancy has only concentrated on negative issues of being a teenage parent forgetting that some teenagers have become successful parents. One consequence of teenage pregnancy has been the lack of skills, which is caused by lack of proper schooling. However, some scholars have criticized this notion, providing that education and its completion depends on an individual. They have also provided that this is a short term effect; if a teenager has the will to complete her education, she certainly will.
Dennison, Catherine. “Teenage pregnancy: an overview of the research evidence.” Health Development Agency, 2004. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/www.wiredforhealth.gov.uk/PDF/bloopregPO.pdf. Accessed 15 Nov. 2017.
Harden, A. “Teenage Pregnancy And Social Disadvantage: Systematic Review Integrating Controlled Trials and Qualitative Studies.” The BMJ, vol. 339, 2009, pp. 42-54. doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b4254. Accessed 15 Nov. 2017.
Noll, J., C. Shenk, K.Putnam, “Childhood Sexual Abuse and Adolescent Pregnancy: A Meta-analytic Update.” Journal of Pediatric Psychology, vol. 34, no. 4, 2009, pp. 366-378. NCBI, doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsn098. Accessed 12 Nov. 2017.
“The well-being of children: how does the UK score?” UNICEF UK, 2008. downloads.unicef.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ReportCard11_CYP.pdf. Accessed 12 Nov. 2017.