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Childbearing Among Teenagers

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Childbearing Among Teenagers During the past 40 years teenagers have been identified with having many social problems such as drug abuse, suicide, criminal behavior and childbearing. Even though these concerns have not shown a significant threat to the welfare of future generations, there has been considerable effort, especially in industrialized countries, to control and prevent these issues. Teenage pregnancy, in particular, has made an impressive improvement over recent years.1 Compared to the last three decades, 33% less teenagers in Canada were pregnant in 2001 according to Statistics Canada (Medical News Today, 2004). When analyzing teenage pregnancy rates in industrialized countries, Canada and Great Britain's rates were modest when compared to the low rates in Sweden and France and the highest rate in the United States (The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2001). Parents, teachers, community leaders and service providers have increased the motivation of youth to achieve higher levels of education, enforced sexual education in schools to promote effective contraceptive use and greater social support for services related to both pregnancy and disease prevention among adolescents. There is an increasing indication that the developed world is beginning to realize that the most influential pregnancy prevention strategy is to ensure that adolescents have opportunities, which allow them to make the decisions that will safeguard their own futures. They are at a vulnerable crossroad in their lives and are in need of guidance and support (Tunick, 1996). ...read more.


Economic and social disadvantage is among the causes, as well as consequences of teenage childbearing. Economically, young mothers' lives are drastically affected. Many drop out of school and therefore have a harder time trying to find a job that generates enough cash flow to support herself and her baby. In Canada, the recessions in the 1980s and 1990s caused the standard of living to rise, requiring more than a single mother's income. Since teenagers who gave birth were likely to be single it posed a problem in producing enough income to sustain the family unit (Dryburgh, 2003). There is a cause and effect relationship and educational failure, poverty, unemployment and low self-esteem are understood to be negative outcomes of early childbearing. These circumstances also contribute to the likelihood of teen pregnancy. For example, the teenager may not have received the proper schooling or they may have grown up in an unsupportive household which may lead them to engage in early sexual activity in which a child is born and put through the same cycle. Teenagers are very vulnerable and must be guided in the right direction by their guardians as they are at a point in their lives when they are faced with many decisions which can be overwhelming (Tunick, 1996). The Alan Guttmacher Institute states that "while sexual activity among teenagers of all income levels is now common, having a baby is not. ...read more.


Educators, parents, and policy-makers should avoid emotional misconceptions about sexual education; based on the rates of unwanted pregnancies and STDs among teenagers, it is unwise to ignore the need for both education on how to postpone sexual involvement, and how to protect oneself when sexually active (DeCarlo, 1996). To effectively reduce rates of unintended pregnancy and births among teens, the government should invest in a teen pregnancy prevention plan. Moreover, these prevention funds should be invested in proven, scientifically evaluated programs which are effective in helping teens to delay the initiation of sexual intercourse and to practice safer sexual behaviors when they become sexually active. The declining rates of teenage pregnancy rates in Canada and industrialized countries illustrate that they are moving forward and learning from their history. As technology has developed and much more attention has been given to issues affecting adolescents, we are attaining encouraging outcomes. The level of education, in particular sexual education that recent generations are receiving is much higher now than in the past. There is a growing acceptance in society that there is a need to improve health funding and knowledge to tackle dilemmas like teenage pregnancy. The need to continue these efforts is prevalent. Even though teenage pregnancy rates have decreased, teenage abortion and STD rates have risen. Adolescents are too fervently resorting to abortion given that a substantial proportion of pregnancies and births to young women are unwanted. Canada and the studied, developed countries have come a far way, yet they still have a far way ahead of them. ...read more.

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