Teenage Pregnancy
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Teenage Pregnancy


By: Lindsey, Jimmy, Mary



   Every 31 seconds an adolescent becomes pregnant

   Every 2 minutes a teen gives birth

   U.S. has highest teenage birth rates (4 times as many as Canada who ranks second)

   1 million teens in the U.S. get pregnant each year



          Young people becoming sexually experienced at earlier ages

          Society accepts youth’s sexual activity

          Teen mothers usually early developers

        Over 1/3 had started menstruation by age 11

          Earlier physical maturity

        Britain 11-12 yrs, USA 12 yrs, Norway 14 yrs.


Through the Times

   Lack of studies from the past

   The notion of adolescence was missing from early America (17th, 18th, 19th centuries)

   Age of sexual maturity was much older, so pregnancy wasn’t a major concern

17th and 18th Centuries

   Colonial women who did not marry in their teenage years were seen as unfortunate and disadvantaged

   Young pregnancies were not seen as a problem because of early marriages

   Study done by Smith & Hindus in 1975 showed low rates of premarital pregnancies in 17th century (biased study in two Mass. towns)

   Rapid rise and peak of premarital pregnancies in the late 17th and early 18th centuries

   By late 1700’s about 30% of births occurred within first 8 months of marriage



19th Century

   Changes in health and living occurred during the agricultural revolution

   Urban industrial society

   Early 19th century menarche didn’t start until 17 or 18 yrs. of age

   Decrease in premarital pregnancy

  May have occurred due to wave of religious revival


1960’s and 1970’s

   Sexual revolution

   Rapid decrease in age of first intercourse during the 1970’s

   Teen pregnancies increased 23% between 1972 and 1990



   24% rise in the teenage birth rate from 1986 to 1991

   Teen pregnancy rates declined slowly but steadily from 1991 to 2000 with an overall decline of 22% for those aged 15 to 19

   Most teenagers giving birth before 1980 were married whereas most teens giving birth today are unmarried

   One of every 3 girls has had sex by age 16, 2 out of 3 by age 18. Two of 3 boys have had sex by age 18.


Complications of Teen Pregnancy

   Anemia-significant competition between the nutritional needs of the young mother and her fetus

   Toxemia-poisoned condition of the blood cased by the presence of toxic materials

   Cephopelvic Disproportion-caesarian section sometimes required


   Abruptio Placental-seperation of the normally located placenta after the 20th week of gestation and prior to birth

   Urinary Tract Infection

   Prolonged Labor (over 20 hrs.)


Complications of Teen Pregnancy Cont.

   Difficult or Premature Delivery

   Pelvic Contraction

   One day fever

   Mild and Severe Preeclampsia-Due to HBP, protein leaks into the urine. Leading cause of maternal death

   Eclampsia-Causes hypertension and generalized convulsions; may be fatal

   Puerperal Morbidity-Caused by puerperal infection usually following childbirth. Starts in genital tract; can be fatal

    Maternal Death


Complications for Children

   Low birth weight (less than 5 lbs.)

   Premature birth (less than 36wks gestation)


More Complications of Children

   Lowered cognitive abilities

   Respiratory Stress Syndrome



   Other metabolic and neurological disorders

   Increase in infant death (often related to SIDS)


Disorders related to Low Birth Weight

   Intellectual Impairment

   Hyperkinesis (motor control and ADHD)


   Involvement in early childhood accidents

   Language delays

   Academic achievement problems

   Growth impairment

   Motor impairment

   Neurological disfunction


   Previously mentioned factors are not primarily biological, but they are also socially, economically, and emotionally based.


   Most group studies do not account for socioeconomic status among pregnant teens age 20 or younger.


   Incidence of prenatal anemia can be caused by socioeconomic causes rather than age.


Effects of Socioeconomic Status

          Adequate Prenatal Care

         Defined as care beginning in 1st trimester and including 5-9 prenatal visits, depending on gestational age at birth; intermediate care begins in 2nd trimester or includes 2-8 prenatal visits.

          Inadequate Prenatal Care

         Begins in the third trimester or includes 0-4 visits.

Younger mothers are less likely to seek prenatal care during the first three trimesters of pregnancy.

Table (% of mothers who seek prenatal care dependent on trimesters)



   Simms and Smith, 1986; based on 27% of 92 teen mothers who didn’t seek medical care until the 3rd trimester

   Reasons for Waiting

    didn’t know they were pregnant

    16% didn’t go out of fear/embarrassment

    14% afraid to confront pregnancy

    14% couldn’t talk to parents

    13% felt they didn’t need medical advice

    4% afraid of abortion

  Other reasons included ignorance of healthcare procedures and difficulty of access (Phi Delta Kappa, p. 135)



   Sociodemographic variables, such as maternal education and socioeconomic status contribute more to a child’s well being after birth than the age of the mother at pregnancy.

   Variables include:

   Maternal education disrupted due to pregnancy

   Single parent status

   Unshared childcare responsibilities

Aftercare Continued

   Adult mothers take babies for well baby care after birth as opposed to adolescent mothers who seek medical advice for problems such as colds, crying, feeding problems, etc.

   Willful neglect and child abuse are not more common among teen mothers but lack of experience and maturity may have overall influence on child’s health.




   Largest country in S. America

   Official language is Portugese

   Main religion is Catholicism

   Problems with domestic violence, street children, child abuse, and husbands murdering family members

   Life expectancy

Men 64

Women 69.6


Overview of Teen Pregnancy

   teen pregnancy is viewed as a problem associated w/ maternal morbidity and mortality, delivery complication, and low-birth-weight infants

   there is no federal funding for any substantial programming to prevent teen pregnancy  

   Teens and preteens gave birth to 900,000 babies in 1997, accounting for 26.5% of all live births in the country


Related Questions

   What kind of message does Carnaval send to teens? (annual feast of Brazilian sensual indulgence)

   How does Brazil’s well-earned reputation for its laid-back ideas on sexual freedom affect teens?

   What is the impact of easy access pornography?

   Does T.V. nudity make a difference?

(these questions are being debated by politician, social workers, and health officials)


Social views, customs, and practices

   two social customs clearly contribute to teen pregnancy


   influence of parentela



   teen pregnancy has a low priority in government

   policymakers agree that to reduce teen pregnancy, it is necessary to better understand

   reproductive attitude, behavior, and interaction between teen boys and girls w/ this info., it is possible to develop educational programs that are culturally appropriate and

   designed to reduce teen sexual activity and childbearing

   if problem proceedsensures that teen mothers will drop out of school, probably have health problems (mother or child), work menial jobs or turn to prostitution, and remain poor for the rest of their lives.




   in the region of Palestineformed in 1948 as a Jewish state

   it borders and is influenced by Arab countries

   81% of population are Jewish36% of world’s Jewish population live in Israel

   Israel is segregated between Jews and Palestinians

4.728 million Jews

1.255 million Palestinians

   Muslim or Christian

   official language is both Hebrew and Arabic


Overview of Teen Pregnancy

    teen pregnancy does not appear to be a major social problem

    according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (1999)in 1997, 6,690 girls (2% of all girls) between 13 and 19 years old became pregnant

    low rate of teen pregnancy is in part due to the low rate of adolescent premarital sexual activity.

    study in 1995 reported that 28% of adolescent males and 14% of adolescent females in tenth and eleventh grades reported premarital sexual activity

    other reason for the low rate of teen pregnancy:

    the strength of the families

    “family planning education” or sex ed.

    birth control

    religion and nationalism in lives of Israeli adolescents


Social Views, Customs, and Practices


   both Jewish and Palestinian families function under a strict system of patriarchy.  If a female adolescent engages in consensual premarital sex and becomes pregnant, she is faced w/ the severe criticism and punishments of her father. Single parenthood is not socially accepted in Israel.  Most adolescents wait for marriage before having children, and girls who choose to have premarital sex use some birth-control method.


   Family is an important institution in Israelthe concept of family is respected by both the religious and secular society.

   Jewish Israeli adolescents are faced w/ concerns including tour of duty in the militia, national preservation, and destiny of the Jewish people

   Significant contributing factors to the low rate of teen pregnancy

    family values that prohibit premarital sexual activites

    low number of teens engaging in premarital sex

    universal sex education

    easy access to birth-control materials




   Southeast Asian country

   Vietnam is the 12th most populated country in the world

   76.6 million consisting of 54 ethnic groups


Overview of Teen Pregnancy

   the concept of teen pregnancy is rarely mentioned as a separate issue from overall high birth rate

   it is normal for a 13 to 14 year old girls to get married

   part of the culture



Social Views, Customs, Practices

   Quality of life for many people continues to be marginal

   Other related Problems:

   high poverty rate

   extensive use of child labor



General Statistic Office says that 21,000 (10.5%) of all prostitutes are under 18 years old



   The cycle of a high poverty rate along with extensive use of child labor is the direct result of Vietnam’s history of war.  Young boys are needed for their labor, while young girls are expected to produce children.

   Long-range measures to prevent teen pregnancy:

    Improve the condition and responsibility of families

    Promote human values

    Promote increase in the standard of living for all Vietnamese people



Test Questions:


1)      Explain the concept of adolescent pregnancy during the early colonial period.




2) List four complications that teen mothers may experience during pregnancy.




3) List four complications that children may experience due to teen pregnancy.




4) What are two cultural customs or practices that Brazil practices that contributes to teenage pregnancy?



5) List some contributing factors to the low rate of teen pregnancy in Israel.




Taking it Lying Down: Sexuality and Teenage Motherhood.  Macmillan Education Ltd. 1991.


Hardy, Janet B.  Adolescent pregnancy in an urban environment : issues, programs, and evaluation. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 1991.


Vinovskis, Maris.  An “epidemic” of adolescent pregnancy?: some historical and policy considerations.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.


Adolescent, sexuality, pregnancy, and parenting: selected readings.  Child Welfare League of America, Inc., 1997.


Anastasiow, Nicholas J.  The Adolescent Parent.  Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co, Inc., 1982.


Teenage Pregnancy.  Center on Evaluation, Development, and Research.  Phi Delta Kappa.


Cherry, Andrew L.; Dillan, Mary E.; Rugh, Douglas.  Teenage Pregnancy: A Global View.  Greenwood Press; Wesport, Connecticut, 2001.


Lindsey Friedmann