Teens experience a lot of biological changes in their lives. It is during teenage period that individuals develop strong desire to have sex. Without adequate information on reproductive health, many teens have ended up with unplanned pregnancies. This paper discusses suggestive measures that can be enforced to reduce teen pregnancies. It further examines the reasons why it is appropriate to reduce the teen pregnancies.
Various measures can be used to reduce teenage pregnancies. Most teenage girls lack proper information on reproductive health. As a result, they may not know the dangers of engaging in premarital sex. Creating proper awareness on the dangers of premarital sex to the adolescents may help in preventing teen pregnancies. In some societies, it is a taboo for a parent to discuss sexual matters with his or her children. This is dangerous since the teens may get wrong information elsewhere concerning sexual matters. Education on safe sex should be intensified. It is imperative to include topics on reproductive health in schools to enlighten the teens on the risks of premarital sex. The sex-education topics should encourage abstinence and contraception.
Though some will argue that giving teenagers condoms and other contraceptives will encourage them to indulge in sex, there is no doubt that the contraceptives can be crucial in reducing teenage pregnancies. Given contraceptives or not, teens will still engage in sex. The teenagers should be well educated on safe-sex methods that incorporate safe contraceptive use. Any method that can help prevent unplanned pregnancies should be embraced when preventing teenage pregnancies. Teaching the teens on effective contraceptive use can also be pivotal in reducing teen pregnancies. Parents have always encouraged the teens to abstain. However, abstinence alone has failed. The teens still engage in sex. Instructing them on effective use of contraceptives may prove crucial in controlling the pregnancies.
Intensive engagement of the teens during non-school days in various tasks may also be crucial in reducing teen pregnancies (Sawhill, 56). It is usually idleness that leads the youth into engaging in sexual and immoral acts. Keeping them occupied may help in reducing teenage pregnancies among them. The teens can be encouraged to engage in alternative productive activities during their free times. This will keep them off risky behaviors that may jeopardize their lives. They can also be encouraged to indulge in charity works, and community service programs during their leisure times. Sawhill asserts that the introduction of after school programs may also protect the teens from corrupt influences (57).
Peer pressure is one of the key factors that influence teens into engaging in premarital sex. Parents should direct their children in choosing close friends and avoiding villainous company. In the peer groups, the teens may also be introduced to drugs. Under the influence of drugs, the teens are more likely to engage in unsafe sex that may result to pregnancies. Parents should educate their teens and encourage them to live positive lifestyles. They should be properly educated on the dangers of drugs early on in life so that they avoid them. Keeping teens off drugs and immoral influences may significantly lower pregnancy cases among them.
Efforts should also be made to stump out rape cases in the society. Recent studies indicate that most teen pregnancies result from rape cases. Rapists should be punished heavily to reduce rape incidents in the future. Providing sufficient support to teenage mothers can also be helpful in reducing teen pregnancy cases. This is much applicable in developing countries, where teenage mothers have forced their daughters into prostitution because of the tough economic conditions.
Studies also indicate that education can be effective in reducing teen pregnancies (cherry, 8). Uneducated teenage girls are much likely to become pregnant as compared to the educated ones. Parents should ensure proper education of their teens.
Teen pregnancies are often unplanned, and as a result, they affect the lives of the mothers and the born children. Issue of teens becoming pregnant is, therefore, an issue of social concern that requires careful consideration. Most teens do lack not only the basic knowledge on child bearing, but also lack resources to support children. This may lead to a lot of developmental problems in their children. Besides, the teen mothers undergo a lot of social stigmatization. In addition, their bodies are not fully developed for pregnancies. Their delivery is usually through the caesarian way which may put their lives at risk.
Teenage pregnancies cause a lot of psychological effects on the teen mothers. Most societies disregard girls who become pregnant before marriage. Such teens are viewed as irresponsible individuals who lack self control. They usually undergo depression which poses even more health risks to them. It also lowers the teens’ self esteem and image. The teen mothers will always bear a sense of guilt, and this may interfere with their development. They may also have feelings of frustration. These feelings may force the teen mothers into dangerous practices such as alcohol abuse and smoking activities. Childbearing has also forced several teens to drop out of school.
Cherry, Andrew. Teenage Pregnancy: a global view. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001.
Sawhill, Isabel. One percent for the kids: new policies, brighter futures for America’s children. Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution Press, 2003.