Teen Pregnancy The Role Of Parental Support Essay

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Teen Pregnancy: The Role of Parental Support A significant proportion of babies in the U.S. are born to women aged 15 to 19 years. In 2014 alone, 249,078 babies were delivered by teenage women, representing a birth rate of 24 in every 1,000 females in this age category (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2016). This represents a historic low in the prevalence of teen pregnancy in the U.S. compared to two decades ago, with delayed and/or reduced sexual activity as well as increased use of birth control among teens believed to be the major contributors of the decline (CDC, 2016). Even so, teen pregnancy in the U.S. remains the highest in the developed world (Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2016).

Whereas majority of teen births are unintended and occur outside marriage, it is important to note that many of these are intended (Sekharan et al., 2015). At times, teens may make a conscious decision to be mothers. Regrettably, whether intended or not, teen pregnancy is often condemned and shamed by parents, families, schools, and the society at large. Indeed, most discourses, efforts, and interventions in this area are predominantly obsessed with preventing teen pregnancy (Weed, Nicholson & Farris, 2014; Macutkiewicz & MacBeth, 2016). While the teen pregnancy may have negative consequences on both the mother and the child, it is crucial for parents to offer encouragement and support whenever their teenager(s) express a deliberate intention to become mothers. This paper critically highlights why it is important for parents and the society to understand teens' perspectives on pregnancy, and why social support is crucial for the teen's overall wellbeing.

Teen Perspectives on Pregnancy

The general assumption is that all teen pregnancies are unwanted. From the media and schools to the family and the society at large, pregnant teens are usually seen as promiscuous, deviant individuals who will never achieve anything significant in life. Nonetheless, not every teenager perceives their pregnancy as unplanned (Weed, Nicholson & Farris, 2014). Indeed, a number of studies conducted in the U.S. reveal that up to 12% of teenage women consciously elect to become pregnant (Macutkiewicz & MacBeth, 2016), with the prevalence of planned teen pregnancy being greater in African-American and Latin American teens compared to their Caucasian counterparts (Sekharan et al., 2015). This group (teenagers who deliberately plan to become mothers) tends to have a positive attitude towards early childbearing. In spite of the associated hardship, they view young motherhood as...

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They envision motherhood as a more attractive option compared to education and career. Also, they tend to be fond of babies and playing with them.
For some, parenthood compensates for something they perceive to be missing in/from their life or they are resentful about, such as lack of formal or informal occupation and/or a miserable childhood (Macutkiewicz & MacBeth, 2016). The desire for early childbearing may further be motivated by the yearning for a new sense of identity, the need for ending involvement in risky behaviours, the urge to complete birthing early, as well as the need to secure one's relationship with their boyfriend (Weed, Nicholson & Farris, 2014; Macutkiewicz & MacBeth, 2016). Unluckily, the reality of planned teen pregnancy has received little attention compared to unintended adolescent pregnancies (Sekharan et al., 2015).

While some positive perceptions about pregnancy carry significance and tangible meaning, the downside cannot be ignored altogether. From a health perspective, teen pregnancy may result in complications for both the mother and the baby. It may lead to premature delivery, hypertension, low birth weight and other obstetric complications, which may cause maternal and infant morbidities and mortalities (Sekharan et al., 2015). Nevertheless, these complications are not necessarily restricted to teenage pregnancies -- older females may also experience them.

Furthermore, in some cases, one may end up regretting even when the pregnancy was planned (Macutkiewicz & MacBeth, 2016). Contrary to expectations, a pregnancy may hinder one's freedom, obstruct the achievement of other life goals such as education and career, as well as deteriorate one's relationship with their romantic partner and/or parents. Also, teen pregnancy may lead to stigmatisation, imposing a substantial psychological burden on the teen (Sekharan et al., 2015). One may experience stress, depression, and feelings of rejection, causing one to regret the decision altogether. One may also regret planned teen pregnancy when they encounter practical child-rearing difficulties, especially when left to their own means. Bringing up children is without a doubt a complex responsibility, both financially and non-financially. When deciding to get pregnant, teenagers may often fail to anticipate with these complexities and eventualities, that lead to regrets.

The Importance of Parental Support in Teen Pregnancy

It follows from the discussion that teen pregnancy can…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2016). Teen pregnancy in the United

States. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/about/

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (2016). Trends in teen pregnancy and childbearing. Retrieved from: https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health- topics/reproductive-health/teen-pregnancy/trends.html

Macutkiewicz, J., & MacBeth, A. (2016). Intended adolescent pregnancy: a systematic review of qualitative studies. Adolescent Research Review, 1-17.


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