Teenage pregnancy can be defined as pregnancy that occurs in young females aged under 20 years (Dickins, Johns, & Chipman, 2012). In Western civilization, teenage pregnancy is treated negatively, because young females are expected to study and only give birth once they have reached maturity or over 20 years. Teenage pregnancy disrupts and affects a teenager’s education, as they now have responsibilities that might affect their education. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy has indicated that there were 26.6 births per 1000 teen girls aged between 15 and 19 in 2013. There have been a steady decline in this rate since 1991 where it stood at 117 per 1000 teens of the same ages. The Centers for Disease Control reported that United States teen birth rates have declined since 1991. There were 34.3 births per 1000 teens in 2010, compared to 1991, which had 61.8 births per 1000 teens. In 2013, there were fewer babies born to teenagers than any other year since 1946. The sad part is that 17% of teen births occurred in females who had one or more babies. This demonstrates the need for education and prevention strategies especially amongst this population.
The most common sign of teenage pregnancy is missing one or more menstrual period. However, this is tricky since most of the teenage girls do not have regular periods. Other factors will contribute towards a teenage girl missing her period like exercise, dieting, having low body fat, or anorexia. Other signs of teenage pregnancy include vomiting or nausea, unusual fatigue, sore nipples or breasts, unusual mood swings, and frequent urination.
Abortion is the process of pregnancy termination before viability. During this process, the embryo or fetus is removed before it become viable. An abortion is normally purposely induced, and it is advised that a teen girls seeks medical help as this procedure could be life threatening. Legal abortions are considered safe procedures since they are conducted in medical facilities and by professionals (Williams & Bonner, 2006). It is estimated that approximately 47000 maternal deaths will result from unsafe abortions globally. Safe abortions do not result in any physical or psychological problems to the teen mother. Legal abortion is only carried out with approval from the teen, and she will have to demonstrate her willingness to undergo the procedure. The doctor will offer counselling and guidance to ensure that the teen is prepared and willing to undergo the procedure. Teen girls should be aware that pregnancies of over nine weeks cannot be medically aborted. The risks associated with performing an abortion at that stage are many and might result in complications.
Abortion is an effective method for treating or eliminating a pregnancy. Medically induced abortions are safe and offer the teen girl the option of not taking up responsibilities they cannot manage (Dickins et al., 2012). Abortion is only used after pregnancy has occurred, and it is not a permanent solution. A teen girl could still get pregnant after the abortion, which means that the procedure is only a termination method and not a treatment or cure for pregnancy. If a teen girl is interested in seeking a permanent solution, they should consider using family planning methods or abstaining from sexual activity. Abortion services are not available countrywide, and this is a hindrance to most teen girls who opt for unsafe methods to terminate their pregnancy. Unsafe abortions are performed in dirty conditions, which mostly leads to complications or death of the teenager.
Baby think it over
This is an infant simulation that is used for providing teenagers with parental experience (Herrman, Waterhouse, & Chiquoine, 2011). In the simulation, the teenager is provided with an infant simulator that has all the features of an infant. The simulator is intended to assist the teenage girl make responsible and informed choices regarding becoming a parent. This teenage pregnancy prevention method aims at showing, and allowing the teenage girls to use lifelike baby dolls. The dolls weigh around seven to eight pounds. The dolls also have sound that augments its authentic looks. The baby doll has an internal computer simulator that is used to simulate realistic infant crying at different intervals of fifteen minutes to six hours. The simulation sounds are randomized to ensure that the teenager does not make a schedule, which also simulates a real infant. In order to simulate a real baby, the dolls are designed to cry, when they need feeding, comforting, or placed in improper positions. The teenage mother will be provided with a non-transferable key, which she wears. The mother will use the key to stop the crying child. She will insert the key when holding the baby in order to stop the crying. To ensure that the teenager actually feeds the doll, feeding has been programmed to last around thirty-five minutes. The internal computer has the capability also to register incidences of abuse and neglect. The instructor can retrieve the dolls information to establish how the teenager treated the doll. The teenagers who participate in the program are responsible for the doll and other childcare items.
It is no secret that assisting teenagers to avoid unwanted pregnancies has become a challenge. Using the baby think it over dolls is one method for preventing teenage pregnancy. Research has demonstrated that the dolls can be effective if the teenagers use them in the appropriate and recommended way (Herrman et al., 2011). However, other researchers have indicated that the dolls were ineffective. These differences in research have various reasons for the discrepancies. Most of the researchers have stated that the dolls are only used for short periods like weekends, which limits the teenager’s time with the doll. Increasing the time is recommended. Since this is not a real baby, the teenager could ignore its cries. The only effect this would have is reduced marks. This is an effective method of changing teenagers’ attitudes towards parenting after they have used the dolls. The best way to handle teenage pregnancy is through prevention strategies. Making use of the baby think it over dolls, is the best way to show the teenagers the difficulties and requirements of parenting. The controversies surrounding the usage of the dolls is mainly due to inconclusive evidence.
Using birth control
There are different birth control methods, and they all work differently. A teen girl should find out the different birth control methods available and establish one that would be effective. To determine the effectiveness of a birth control method, the teen girl should determine their sexual activity and their current needs. The common birth control methods available include male condoms, female condoms, pills, patch, and intrauterine devices (Chung-Park, 2008). The methods are not 100% effective, but they have reduced the possibility of a person becoming pregnant. Facts have shown that most teen pregnancies are unplanned for, and the teenage girls are unaware of their pregnancy until much later during their term. Therefore, teenage pregnancy should be prevented, and there is need to encourage teens to use at least one birth control method if they are sexually active. There are other sexually transmitted diseases, which the teen girl should also be aware of and make attempts at preventing their transmission.
The most effective birth control methods are vasectomy for males, tubal ligation for females, and implantable contraceptives. These methods have a one percent failure rate. Tubal ligation and vasectomy are both permanent solutions, which might not be considered or recommended for teenagers. Condoms are readily available, and teen girls can get them from school nurses. Condoms have a failure rate of around 17%. This is because if worn or used wrongly they are likely to burst, which could lead to fertilization. Teenagers should be taught on the proper usage of condoms to ensure they prevent teen pregnancy and other sexually transmitted diseases (Strunk, 2008). Emergency pills are also effective in preventing teen pregnancy, but they should be taken within 24 hours of unprotected sexual activity. The only limitation is that the pills can only be taken once in a month. This limitation hinders the usage of pills and mostly leads to abuse of the pills by teens. The use of IUD devices is effective, and it is a reversible contraception. Research has shown that most users of these devices are satisfied with their usage. Teenagers who have or are using IUDs have indicated they are more satisfied, and the devices are effective. Once the device is removed, fertility returns immediately, which makes them safe for long-term usage.
The problem of teenage pregnancy has been on the decline in the United States, but it is still a growing concern for parents and authorities. Teenage pregnancy is a preventable condition provided the teens are offered guidance and education. Statistics have shown that the current methods being used are effective, and they have resulted in decline. There are various methods that teens could use to prevent teenage pregnancy, but in order to treat or eliminate the pregnancy abortion is the only option. Abortion is an effective method provided it is conducted in a legal and safe environment. Procuring abortions should only be encouraged if the teen is not prepared and they cannot support or provide for their child. The best methods for preventing teen pregnancy are sex education, and contraception. These methods are effective, and they have been proven to reduce cases of teen pregnancy.
Chung-Park, M.S. (2008). Evaluation of a pregnancy prevention programme using the Contraceptive Behavior Change model. Journal of advanced nursing, 61(1), 81-91.
Dickins, T.E., Johns, S.E., & Chipman, A. (2012). Teenage pregnancy in the United Kingdom: A behavioral ecological perspective. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 6(3), 344.
Herrman, J.W., Waterhouse, J.K., & Chiquoine, J. (2011). Evaluation of an infant simulator intervention for teen pregnancy prevention. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 40(3), 322-328.
Strunk, J.A. (2008). The effect of school-based health clinics on teenage pregnancy and parenting outcomes: An integrated literature review. The Journal of School Nursing, 24(1), 13-20.
Williams, M.T., & Bonner, L. (2006). Sex education attitudes and outcomes among North American women. ADOLESCENCE-SAN DIEGO-, 41(161), 1.
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