TEENAGE PREGNANCY 13
Inthe modern day, young people are engaging in sexual activities morethan ever before, and if nothing are done, and then the age of youngpeople having sex is likely to get even lower. The resultingconsequence for the sexual activeness is teenage pregnancy. They fallin love at tender ages leading relations part of a sequence, whichmostly results to sexual intercourse. It is even more frighteningthat the modern youths are not even afraid of falling pregnant orcontracting a sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV Aids virus.The most alarming thing regarding having sex at such a tender age, ona regular basis, and at times having intercourse with multiplepartners probably threads to the fact that they lack the basicknowledge about contraceptives (Arai, 2009).
Inas far as adolescent pregnancy is a universal problem it is worthnoting that the pregnancy varies to the level of teenage bearing. Forinstance, the US had the highest rates of adolescent pregnancies inthe mid 1990s, Japan and most western European countries registervery low pregnancy rates, while the UK has the highest rate ofteenage pregnancy in Europe. If further we are to look at the case ofthe UK, there are about 90,000 teenage conception, of which around7700 are girls under the age of 16 years, 2200 girls aged 14 andunder. In line with the above figures, teenage pregnancy is verysignificant national issue that needs urgency in tackling, as therates are alarming. It is not only an issue of concern to one nation,but coordination between nations could probably indicate the stridesto be taken to tackle the problem. Such mechanisms of solving theproblem could appear in the form of necessitating need forinformation regarding safe sex practices, which will not only helpavoid an unwanted pregnancy but also, help them prepare and protectthemselves from sexually transmitted infections especially HIV thathas been on the rise in the recent years (Creatsas, 2002).
Causesand Implication of Teenage Pregnancy
Accordingto Department of Health (2001), who came up with a list of thingsthat contributes to teenage pregnancy, They organization notes thatthese factors include engaging in unsafe sexual activity, the underuse of contraception, having multiple sexual partners, substanceabuse especially alcohol, deprivation, insufficient attendance andbad performance at school, dropping out of school, low family income,and sometimes single parent families.
Adolescentpregnancies are among the main issues in every health care system.The reason is that an early pregnancy tends to have imprecations onthe girls’ physical, psychological, economical, and social status.Research has shown that teenage mothers hardly attend antenatal caresince in most times they spend a lot of their time trying to hidetheir status from the general public. Thus, teenage mothers will tendto deliver low birth weight babies, premature babies, and deaths inthe first year of the baby due to health complications. In addition,the infant mortality and morbidity rates are high for infantsdelivered by teenage mothers than those delivered by older women, andalso there is a likely hood these children are be raised in singleparent families, and there after live in poverty. It also goeswithout saying the probability of early motherhood has beenassociated with low educational achievement is very high with thelong term effects being effects including low or no income, lowoccupational status, unemployment and there after affecting theteenage girls’ welfare (Anderson, 2000). All of these factors areissues that the government can coordinate and find a way to educatethe teenage girls about taking precautions.
Teenagemothers who have a repeated pregnancy have an increased chance ofexperiencing further social inequalities and they may bedisadvantaged at a variety of place. For example if such a mother wasto have a second pregnancy that can significantly delay a youngwoman’s progress in education, work, training or securing jobpositions at specific organizations or departments. Viewing secondpregnancy from a health perspective, a short period betweenpregnancies is viewed as a health factor leading to poor birthoutcomes. It should take between 18 to 23 months to between births torestore the mother’s nutritional resources (Andalo, 2005). Researchhas shown some teenage women choose to have a subsequent child tocompensate the loss from a miscarriage, stillbirth or an abortion.Additionally, a second pregnancy would be because of experiencing aviolent intimate partner where many have little influence sexualactivity, or the ability to negotiate for contraceptive use withtheir partners. Even if such mothers were to have two children, theirprobability of getting married narrows down and they may be forced toraise single families. Single families are acceptable today, butstill the society further appreciates those families raised by twopeople father and mother.
Youngfathers on their part they are positive about being parents and havethe interest of being a parent whose there for their kid. However,they are often in a struggle as fathers and do not feel confident inthe role. Most the time they will find it harder than the youngmothers to balance their adult responsibility as parents and theiridentity as young people. Notably, financial constraints hinder themfrom providing for the child or family. As an effort to preventrepeat teenage pregnancies and improve support for teenage parents,strong social support, that should include support from socialservices, can aid in the compensation of lacking protective factorsin young people’s life (Moore, 2006).
Genderpower inequalities, according to Heaven (2001), gender powerinequality plays a significant role in young girl’s vulnerability.Sexual and physical violence now characterize relationships betweenmen and women in most communities. Most of the times women have lessinfluence over their bodies compared to men and they are required tobe accountable of their action than young men are required. Younggirls who date gang members are twice likely to become pregnant incomparison to those who date boys free of gang relations. Women withgang members for partners may find it difficult, as they feel lesspower in the negotiation of contraceptive use. Such a relationshipmay lead to the woman to feel vulnerable as they have to cue in withtheir gang sweethearts who probably have no goal of having them for afamily.
Drugand Alcohol adolescents who participate in one or more form of riskybehavior often partake in other risk behaviors. The high rate ofalcohol and drug abuse contributes to lots of teenage pregnancy.Whenever a teenager is intoxicated, with drugs or alcohol, they mayfind themselves engaging in unprotected sex, which easily results topregnancy or HIV. This probably explains why even men can be duped tohaving unprotected sex while they are drunk. In line with theteachings of Dittus (2002), substance use cause psychoactive thatincrease sexual arousal and desire, decreasing inhibition andtenseness, diminishing the decision making process, judgment, and thesense of responsibility, finally disempowering women to resist sex.Thus, according to the study, there has been an increased risk toresulting to forced sex and the decreased like hood of using condomsunder the influence of alcohol.
Lackof education on safe sex the lack of education on safe sex by boththe educator and the parent may lead to teenage pregnancy. In themodern day parents do not spend sufficient time with their teenagers,they are usually off working living them own their own. Childrenoften practice what they hear as rumors or make tests and experimentswhich they are not aware whether they will work. It is this time thatthe teenagers are left alone that a lot does happen. Girls areallowed to dress up in demining manners and boys all together treatthem without any respect. In addition, parents allow their teenagekids to stay out late exposing the girls to higher possibilities ofgetting pregnant. In some cases adults feel sex education will onlylead to promiscuity (Martin, 2003).
ContraceptiveDittus (2003), argues there are those who are of the idea thatcontraceptives only encourages sexual activity, being of the ideathat if contraception was not available sexual activities would beavoided. However, family planning services are made readily availableto the young people with the purpose of availing reproductiveservices, provision of contraceptives including condoms, empoweringthem with necessary facts on how to use them. In the case of thegirls who will fall pregnant because they do not want to usecontraceptives, they will usually hold fatalistic attitudes, they arelikely to feel lack of control of their own lives, lack selfcompetence, and have a passive dependent approach to male-femalerelationships.
Themedia has its part in pressuring teenagers into sex earlier thanexpected. Today television programs, films, magazines,advertisements, and novels, are filled with sex and love. The mediaportrays the sensational side of sex influencing teenagers toperceive sex as something in fashion. Many girls will rely onmagazines as their single source of information about sex, birthcontrol, and health related issues ignoring the consequences of sexsuch as unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases(Martin, 2003).
Accordingto Social Exclusion Unit (1999), preventive measure and adoptinghealth promotion strategies are very important especially ininstances where the teenage mother’s health needs have not yet beenmet. Thus, the aim of the strategy would be to develop a wide rangeof prevention programs and supporting services over a period forexample, ten years. This can result to a reduction in the rate ofteenage conceptions. The plan entails to have all teenagers obtainquality sex education from their school setting. Thus, it will offerthe adolescents with sufficient knowledge, allowing them to makeinformed choices, about sexual activities and relationships. Inaddition, sex education will help the teenagers to act in a way thatpromote health and social well being.
Theproper and consistent use of contraceptives cuts down on repeat andunwanted pregnancies. The people must understand their fertility andthe range of contraceptive methods available to them. Therefore, thisinformation has to be provided in an environment that is accessible,responsive, and friendly to them. However, some barriers lay in theirway to accessing the right contraceptives and they include the lackof knowledge of the available options, lack of access to informationabout contraception, unfriendly environment which is not friendly toyoung people, costs, and resistance from the partner.
Understandingteenage motivation and intentions, and guided contraceptive usebrings down unwanted and repeat pregnancies. Efforts towardsprevention of repeat pregnancy amongst teen mothers should focus oncontraceptive provision immediately after birth this should befollowed by individualized support for at least two years. However,to void dropping the contraceptive, the father needs to be involved.Better yet, in order to offer the teen mother the best advice,healthcare and social service providers need to be involved andunderstanding on reasons for a second pregnancy (Vlassoff, 2004).
Policiesto reduce high rates of pregnancies
Measuresshould include information on availability of support measure suchthe Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC), and give information howyoung people can easily access it. Also, there can be introduced afirst track card system in the practice, enabling urgent appointmentfor EHC to everyone showing this card. In addition, furtherinformation can be provided about local contraception and availablesexual services for those under the age of 25 years. Such a policybares the purpose of baring the need of a town. Thus, for the townsor cities identified as having high teenage conception rates and highdeprivation index scores there will be arrange of specific help thatsees the needs of the teens in this particular city or town.
Accordingto Bennett (2005), for communities to attain lower figures inunwanted pregnancies, they first have to identify the high-riskbehaviors embedded in the society and affecting the young people’sgrowth and development. It is at this point that they can come upwith designs for the desired intervention from a holisticperspective. However, for the community to be able to achieve suchheights, pulling together the different skills and professionalsavailable is important.
Onthe other hand, at the national level the issue can be approached viathe implementation of strategies preventing teen pregnancies. Russell(2004) was of the view that healthcare providers need to come up withintervention programs that empower families, schools, and societiesin general, thus, they can play the important role of providing thenecessary information on sexual health issues. On the other hand, theparents should be involved in the education of their teenagechildren, enabling them to have role models. Schools need to playtheir part by offering courses about gender issues, and more trainingfor teachers regarding sex education. This should open up the societyon sexual health issues disregarding it as taboo.
Governmentcan fund pilot projects at the national level to undertake teenagepregnancy among other measures that are already in place. Throughthese pilot projects, the government will be dealing poverty andsocial alienation arising from teenage pregnancy. Thus, the projectwill be empowering teenage parents helping them develop self-esteemand maturity. Teenage pregnancy is a public health issue andtherefore proper measures must be observed to avoid the isolation ofteenage parents, which in turn may lead to the their social exclusion(Bennett, 2005).
Worldhealth organization has it, health promotion is looked as the processof enabling people to increase control over their heath and improveit. This process entails a number of strategies that are aimed atempowering individuals and communities by means of offeringsupportive environment, education and information on health relatedissues. Thus, the government will improve the people’s healththrough support and encouragement projects.
Accurateand update health information promotes teen sexual health promotion,thus, up to date knowledge need be offered to young people byresponsible professionals who follow the evidence based practice.Therefore, teen pregnancy could be tackled effectively only whenintegrated nursing interventions are involved. With this approach, anumber of different practitioners work collaboratively with the aimof assessing plan implementation, monitor and evaluate the care thatneeds to be offered to these teenagers. Hence, it is important in thedifferent stake holders involved in teaching enlighten the parents onwhat is covered during sex education to be implemented. In addition,and of most importance, all the health social care professionals andyouth community workers should be properly trained to meet the needof the teenagers on sexual education (Andalo, 2005).
Theaction plan is mandated to reduce the number of teenage pregnanciesamong young girls between the ages 15-17 by trying to raise theirawareness on sexual health issues (Social Exclusion Unit, 1999). Thiscan be attained by offering information in friendlier environments.Thus, the trick would be to set up an area or a clinic in an areawhere young people feel that they converge after school with the solepurpose of discussing contraception and related sexual health issueswithout criticism on their action. Information to be offered is onsexual health, teenage pregnancy and its consequences. Those incharge will be professionals, friendly, approachable, and will notjudge anybody.
Anexample of an effort by the UK government in tackling teenagepregnancy it has increased the accessibility of contraceptivesservices to teenagers and especially to young people still at school.It should be noted that those in rural areas tend not to travel toareas of service. This is because of adolescents’ isolation and areduced attendance of sexual health clinics. Proximity to clinicsmight be an important factor for young people who live in the ruralareas anonymity is also an issue that is taken into consideration byteenagers, thus, they will times prefer to travel to more distantservice clinics in order to ensure their identity is not revealed.Despite all these, the clinics have been criticized as not to beeffective due to poor attendance of teenagers (Department of Health,2001).
Teenagepregnancy may be declining in Europe, but it is still is asignificant health issue for every country. Teenage pregnancy is apublic health problem associated with social exclusion thatconsequently leads to poverty, unemployment, poor educationalattendance and achievement, and poor health for both the mother andher child. Thus, the need for further development, or reorganizationof sexual health services in primary care to meet the standards andneeds of teenagers in relation to teenage pregnancies and relatedhealth sexual issues is evident. For this to be enabled andimplemented effectively, sufficient resources have to be allocated totackle teenage pregnancy.
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