The modern world is characterized by the absence of any strict prohibitions and condemnations. Free access to information and entertainment often leads to disastrous consequences such as teen pregnancy. As a result of the morality lack, sexual restrictions are significantly reduced by modern society. The mass-media are actively promoting safe sex, which increases teenagers’ sexual activity. For some reason, knowledge of contraception does not allow teenagers to respect the rules of save sexual contacts, which enhances the possibility of teen pregnancy.
The latest researches reveal the stunning teenage pregnancy statistics. According to Guttmacher Institute, there are more than 800,000 pregnant teenagers in the USA each year. Around 80 percent of teenagers become pregnant before getting married. Almost 90 percent of them are in the state of pregnancy involuntarily. Despite of numerous governmental steps against teen pregnancy, 35 percent of the teen girls have at least one pregnancy before they turn 20 years old. Nearly 80 percent of teenage fathers do not marry to underage mothers of their children.
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Psychological studies show that the problem of adolescent pregnancy involves a number of complex social and emotional issues. First of all, single-parent family appears to be one of the main reasons for teen pregnancy. Girls who grow up in families with parents divorced, always dream of a real family. Therefore, the deficit of a harmonious relationship in the family often convinces girls to have their own child and compensate the emotional vacuum. Teen pregnancy can be also caused by harassment and violence at the young age. The shock may evoke the feelings of worthlessness or even anger which will lead to promiscuity sexual life and pregnancy. The girl’s self-confidence and curiosity are considered to be one more reason for teen pregnancy. Very often, the young people do not have a clear idea of sexual intercourse’s results. Teenagers simply do not observe a direct causal relationship between sexual activity and pregnancy.
The problem of adolescent pregnancy leads to a number of difficult social and psychological consequences. As stated in March of Dimes, motherhood in adolescence is significantly different from what it seems to be in the teenager’s fantasies. Adolescent girls, engaging in intimate contact, often do not realize its consequences. On the practice, teenagers recognize the fact of pregnancy too late which may lead to various emotional problems. The first natural reactions are shock, shame, guilt, embarrassment, fear, panic, and reluctance to accept the fact of pregnancy. In most cases, young fathers do not want to take responsibility for the situation and run away, leaving young mothers alone with their problem. Teen girls feel themselves stressed as they are completely not ready for the formidable challenges in their lives.
The emotional impact of teen pregnancy appears to be highly dramatic. Stanger-Hall and Hall assume that the reluctance to acknowledge the incident causes many critical consequences because the stress may seriously damage the girl’s state of mind and health. The described situation makes teenagers feel in a deadlock when they see no way out of the situation. Many pregnant girls may find it very important to share their experience with people around. In case they fail to share their inner emotions with others, they often feel oppressive and fearful which can later lead to the loss of the meaning of life. Pregnancy’s emotional effect suppresses children’s psychics as they are not adult enough to be responsible for all challenges of the pregnancy.
Except the permanent stress, adolescent pregnancy causes a lot of other negative effects such as social blot and misunderstandings with parents. March of Dimes notices that parental support is very important in this moment, and when teenagers do not find the mutual understanding it may drive them to a very critical condition bordering with depression. Another problem is that nearly 30 percent of pregnant girls are forced to leave the school. Pregnancy makes the studies complicated and can prevent education along with many other life opportunities. It becomes more difficult to communicate with classmates as pregnant teenagers begin to feel ashamed of their mutable shape. New circumstances create new plans, which often have nothing to do with those that were prior before pregnancy. Plans for a college lose its primacy and, according to the statistics, only 40 percent of young mothers are able to finish the high school. It is also difficult for teen mothers to be employed or to find a prestigious and well-paid job in the future which is impossible without proper education and experience.
Adolescent girls are unaware how to raise the children, the future seems uncertain which is way scary for young mothers. Many pregnant teenagers fall into a deep depression that can cause incurable psychological traumas. It is a matter of fact that teenager’s psychic is quite unstable which can often lead to numerous suicidal attempts. Everyday stress and pressure can make teenagers lose the sense of life which causes serious damages of the psychological health. According to the Guttmacher Institute’s researches, teen pregnancy is responsible for the suicide in 21 percent of cases.
Despite psychological issues, adolescent pregnancy also leads to a number of medical problems. It is a proven fact that pregnancy at age of 15 is 2 times more likely to end with miscarriage and 10 times increases the chance that premature children will be born. At the age of 10 to 15, the risk of lethality cases is 4 times higher than for women at the age of 20 and above. The following trend is observed: the younger mother is the greater danger of complications and chances of different pathologies. Many of these problems are related to the fact that teenagers are still physically immature as their bodies are not fully formed and evolved. Very often, pregnant girls ignore the fact of their pregnancy and do not comply with proper diet and behavior which may have serious consequences during the childbirth. Teen pregnancy increases the risk of anemia, toxicosis, gestosis, hypertension, miscarriage or premature birth.
Teenagers’ sexual activity also leads to a danger of getting various sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, gonorrhea, and clamidiosis. At this age, teenagers are unaware of basic means of contraception and neglect condoms as protection against infection and pregnancy, being in the state of affection or under alcoholic intoxication ("Teenage Pregnancy, Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS"). Such frivolity may have dire consequences when pregnant adolescents become infected and transmit the disease to their children by inheritance. Another negative effect of teenage sex is a high chance to get human papilloma virus (HPV) and herpes. These infections are very dangerous in adolescence as they reduce the immunity, lead to infertility, and cause cancer of the cervix.
It must be admitted that cultural attitudes are of very important influence on the sexual behavior of teenagers. First of all, sexual education should start in the family. Parents are supposed to discuss possible consequences of the sexual activity, which will surely increase teenager’s knowledge about this issue. Swierzewski admits that adolescent pregnancy prevention must also base on the atmosphere of trust, which includes frank discussions that will keep teenagers out of reckless behavior and stimulate them for later sexual activity. The primary school should also take part in providing teenagers’ sexual education and information about contraceptive methods. Moreover, teenagers with low educational and religious activities involvement are more likely to experience teen pregnancy. In this case, extracurricular activity is one of the strongest factors to prevent teenagers from early sexual life.
Thus, teen pregnancy is one of the modern world’s challenges that damages both emotional and physical health of teenagers and leads them to the social isolation. As it may be seen from above, the main reason for teen pregnancy is adolescents’ lack of knowledge and experience in this matter. Nowadays, teenagers are under the influence of Internet and mass media who often promote immorality and pornography. In these circumstances, it is very important that parents and school convince teenagers to abstain from the early sexual activity.