Public Health Topic: Teen Pregnancy

Authors Avatar by morgan7duboisgmailcom (student)


Public Health Topic: Teenage Pregnancy

Morgan DuBois


Public Health 1

Winter 2013



        A forefront public health issue that the United States is facing is teenage pregnancy. According to the CDC “in 2011, a total of 329,797  babies were born to women aged 15–19 years” (2013). Teenage pregnancy produces serious consequences for the teenage mother, child, and society in general. For these reasons, preventing adolescent pregnancy is a high public health priority. The rate of teen pregnancy has declined since the 1950’s, but it is still a current issue in the United States (Schneider, 2011). However, “despite the recently declining teen pregnancy rates, 34% of teenage girls get pregnant at least once before they reach age 20, resulting in more than 820,000 teen pregnancies a year” (“Adolescent Pregnancy Rates,” 2004).

        One of the central problems with teenage pregnancy are the health consequences facing the young mothers. Teenage mothers are less likely to seek prenatal care which effects both the mother and baby. If pregnant teenagers do seek prenatal care is it usually later in the pregnancy when compared to older mothers (Trussell 1988). “Common medical problems among adolescent mothers include poor weight gain, pregnancy-induced hypertension, anemia, sexually transmitted diseases, and cephalopelvic disproportion” (“Adolescent Pregnancy Rates” 2004). Also, young mothers are more likely to smoke during their pregnancy (Schneider 2011). Children born to teenage mothers are more likely to suffer from low birth weight, which has many problems associated with it such as chronic respiratory problems, mental illness, cerebral palsy, deafness, and blindness (“Teen Pregnancy,” 2013).

        Pregnancy at a young age tends to interfere with the mother’s education, which in turn will effect her future career. “Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, versus approximately 90% of women who had not given birth during adolescence” (“Teen Pregnancy,” 2013). Due to the stress of pregnancy and they are more likely to miss school and thus end up poor and on welfare. The money for welfare comes straight from our taxes. In 1987 it was estimated that it costs $18,130 a year to support a young mother and her baby (Mclellen, 1987). Currently, teen pregnancy is a burden on society because the government spends about $7 billion to help families that began with a teenage birth (“Adolescent Pregnancy Rates,” 2004). Many politicians see teenage pregnancy as a drain on tax payers if the mothers are receiving welfare from the government.

Join now!

        The seriousness for adolescent pregnancy and parenthood is sometimes forgotten because of the effects of the media. Teenage pregnancy is commonly used as the theme or plot in many books, movies, and television shows. This serious issue is sometimes portrayed as lighthearted which can change peoples view and make them forget about all the physical, monetary, and physiological risks that come along with having a child at an early age. Reality-shows featuring pregnant teenager’s stories have become a common thing to see on television. MTV has launched two popular shows on the subject titled 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. ...

This is a preview of the whole essay