Why Teenage Pregnancy is a Problem? Answers and Solutions

Why Teenage Pregnancy is a Problem
Why Teenage Pregnancy is a Problem

Why teenage pregnancy is a problem? This question can be a real head-scratcher, especially for parents who have to deal with this kind of situation. We understand that feeling.  Basically, teenage pregnancy is when a teenager, aged 13 to 19, finds themselves expecting. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the teenage pregnancy, including high school pregnancy rate was about 16.7 per 1,000 females in 2019. This often happens due to a lack of parental guidance or knowledge about the risks of underage pregnancy. 

Having a bun in the oven before graduating high school comes with its own set of challenges, especially because, generally, they’re not mentally ready to be parents. Below, we’ll dive into some impacts and discuss how we can be a support system for them.

Psychological Impact

why teenage pregnancy is a problem
Psychological Impact

The moment a teenage girl realizes she’s pregnant can be incredibly frustrating. We often come across cases where they experience extreme mental health challenges due to heightened stress, leading to depression because of teenage pregnancy.

It’s like their vision of a promising future, fulfilling their dreams, is suddenly thrown into uncertainty. Their study plans and carefully planned careers become uncertain, leaving them with a sense of insecurity.

Moreover, this pregnancy forces them to mature before their time, taking on more responsibilities while some struggle to balance themselves. 

This overwhelming feeling is worsened by cultural attitudes and social stigma that contribute to low self-esteem, leading to social isolation.

In our view, this is what can push teens to consider abortion. According to the CDC, around 8% of pregnant teens aged 13 to 19 opted for abortion in 2020. While the topic is still widely debated, these numbers should ideally be avoided with a good role of sex education, which we’ll discuss further.

Socioeconomic Challenges

Socioeconomic Challenges
Socioeconomic Challenges

The long-term outcomes of teenage pregnancy also bring along some socioeconomic consequences, including serious money hurdles. 

We can all agree that pregnancy comes with extra costs for routine check-ups, buying vitamins, and getting ready for childbirth. 

Knowing they’re still underage and not financially independent, this surely limits their access to getting those mentioned necessities.

We often read about issues related to this and find out that quite a few teens find themselves juggling school and part-time jobs to make ends meet. The hustle can be overwhelming, especially when they’re expecting.

And when the baby is on the way, financial strain hits hard because teen moms have to prepare for baby gear, diapers, and other prenatal care for adolescents. 

This reality will throw a wrench into any teenager’s future plans and dreams of saving up for a higher degree.

Social Stigma and Isolation

why teenage pregnancy is a problem
Social Stigma and Isolation

Another tough aspect when it comes to why teenage pregnancy is a problem is the social stigma that tags along. Young mothers typically become the hot topic of conversation among relatives and friends throughout their pregnancy. 

People might treat pregnant teens differently or act awkward when they meet them. It’s like your life has to fit into their standards, and the moment you step out, all eyes are on you with judgmental looks. We know that’s sad, but that’s the fact.

With such lousy treatment, we often come across pregnant teens isolating themselves from their surroundings. 

They tend to withdraw and find themselves feeling worthless. Many of them also feel left behind by friends who are freely playing and chasing their dreams. 

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Besides, some of them start taking a step back, and suddenly your social calendar becomes empty. Hence, many pregnant teens crave support in facing the challenges of adolescent maternity and the consequences of childbearing at such a young age.

Family and Friends’ Support in Teen Pregnancy

Family and Friends' Support in Teen Pregnancy
Family and Friends’ Support in Teen Pregnancy

You really can’t emphasize enough how crucial it is to have support from family and friends during teen pregnancy. 

While struggling to face reality and trying to balance everything in such a short time, having emotional support from their loved ones can really help improve their well-being. 

Practical support is equally important, like providing counseling services or giving them a ride to prenatal check-ups. Trust us, it means a lot to them. 

To learn more about how to support pregnant teens, we’ve discussed several related topics about adolescent maternity below to explore.

1. Emotional Support

why teenage pregnancy is a problem
Emotional Support

Support for pregnant teens doesn’t have to be all about money or practical stuff. You can offer emotional support to show how much you care for them. 

In fact, we believe this gesture hits closer to the heart because all they need are folks genuinely backing them up mentally. However, one thing we think is crucial is, don’t point fingers at them.

Create a safe space for them to express their true feelings and show their vulnerability. Be there for them with an empty cup, so you can hold their stories well. 

We also don’t recommend offering unsolicited advice because some might feel judged. Let them spill their feelings, and all you need to do is open your ears and heart.

When it comes to decision-making, you can give your opinion if they ask, as we mentioned before. You can also remind them that they are the captains of their ship, and you’re the trusted mate. 

For instance, if they’re confused about pregnancy and labor issues, offer to accompany them to consult with an obstetrician for professional advice.

2. Practical Support

Practical Support
Practical Support

Now, let’s talk about practical support. You might think you have to be on standby 24/7 to assist a pregnant teen every day. That’s not the case!

Based on our experience, you can start by helping them find and access prenatal care and health services. For example, give them a ride when they have a doctor’s appointment or want to join a prenatal yoga class.

To cover these expenses, we can all agree that having a budget is crucial. If they’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by that, you can lend a hand with budgeting to keep overspending in check. 

There are also some government aids that offer assistance for teen moms in managing their families, like the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides financial support.

Another one worth mentioning is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). 

This program hooks them up with nutrient-packed food, counseling, and support, making it easier for young moms and their kids to lead a better life.

What else to do? Take over their house chores! We recommend handling the ones that seem challenging for them during their pregnancy, like grocery shopping or doing the laundry. 

With simple acts like these, pregnant teens won’t feel alone and will feel loved by their family and friends amid childbearing consequences at such a young age. 

3. Educational Support

why teenage pregnancy is a problem
Educational Support

Pregnant teens might feel insecure because their situation brings unique needs for schooling. Many of them even have to put their education on hold due to self-doubt or not seeing any future ahead. 

You can help them debunk this stigma and negative feeling by offering educational support.

A. Schools for Pregnant Teen

These days, many schools provide online courses with flexible schedules that suit teen moms. One example is the Minnesota Virtual High School, offering online classes for grades 6 to 12. 

You can also suggest continuing their education through homeschooling, allowing them to keep up with their studies while navigating the challenges of pregnancy.

There’s also a Teenage Pregnant & Parenting Students (TAPPS) Program that helps preggo students to stay studying normally in high school while allowing them to adjust their status mentally and physically. 

If they’re still struggling to follow the system, we recommend joining tutoring classes. It provides the extra support they need to better understand subjects they are struggling with. 

B. Scholarships for Young Mom

Once they finish high school, we highly encourage you to help them explore scholarships. We’d love to recommend some, such as the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Support Award, offering a $5000 scholarship for young moms aged 17 and above. 

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Another one is the Arizona Business and Professional Women’s Foundation Scholarship, which can be applied for by moms over 21. Seize this opportunity to access higher education despite the hustle of being a young mother.

4. Building a Support Network

why teenage pregnancy is a problem
Building a Support Network

Facing the socioeconomic consequences of being pregnant can take a toll on teenagers’ mental well-being. That’s why building a solid support network is like crafting a safety net for them. 

For instance, aunties can lend a hand in the kitchen for dinner, and uncles taking turns to provide transportation for doctor appointments can be super helpful in managing the sudden influx of routines. 

Meanwhile, best friends may offer a safe, non-judgmental space to listen and stay up late for a midnight talk. Each has its unique role, positively influencing the behavior and well-being of the pregnant teen. 

You can also help by exploring online sources about teen pregnancy and parenting, like articles or classes that assist them in preparing for becoming a teen mom. 

Besides, these platforms help them connect with people in similar situations, share updates, and receive support during the journey.

5. Support for Mental Health

Support for Mental Health
Support for Mental Health

Talking about mental health for pregnant teens is like riding a real rollercoaster. We get that mentally, they might not be ready to take on the full responsibility of being a mom. But, the situation is pressing them to have to.

Not to mention, they have to cope with an emotional whirlwind due to the hormonal shifts, adding to their mental state. 

Hence, it’s crucial to offer support for their mental health so they can recognize their emotions that can affect their well-being.

You can suggest joining prenatal yoga classes that help them connect with other young moms-to-be. Besides, this activity also trains their breathing and mindfulness techniques so they can release built-up emotions and infuse positivity.

Additionally, we also recommend accompanying them in doing hobbies, like swimming or light exercises at the gym. These activities can offer a much-needed sense of normalcy and contribute to a healthier mental state.

6. Role of Friends

why teenage pregnancy is a problem
Role of Friends

Friends play a significant role in keeping a pregnant teen positive and helping her mingle with peers. They contribute to maintaining a sense of normalcy by engaging in age-appropriate activities despite the unique circumstances she faces. Let me give you an example. 

Friends can invite her to hang out for a movie, attend a dance party, or visit a bookstore together. These activities show a sense of support that bridges the gap between motherhood and teenage life.

Additionally, friends like you can also invite their pregnant teen’s pal to participate in discussion forums that cover current topics. Inviting her to study groups also allows her to engage in her education and keep up with it.

While doing so, we think that equipping the pregnant teen’s friends with knowledge about pregnancy is equally crucial. 

They can be responsive when they notice unusual signs that may arise and understand that their friend needs immediate professional help. Therefore, supportive friends become one of the safety nets for the pregnant teen.

7. Long-term Planning and Support

why teenage pregnancy is a problem
Long-term Planning and Support

As we’ve mentioned before, pregnant teens often tend to feel like their future is over once they find out they’re expecting. But, hey, they can still explore their potential and even work! This is where your role comes into play.

You can guide the teen to discover job opportunities that match their qualifications and situation. We think that working from home is a suitable option since they can still take care of their baby while working.

Not just that, we also recommend looking for part-time jobs that help them balance their role as a parent and follow their career path. And the most important thing is to make sure they enjoy the jobs.

You know, being a mom is the toughest job. If they choose a job that doesn’t align with their passion and they don’t enjoy it, it’ll feel even harder to do.

Apart from work, family support, where everyone pitches in to raise their baby, is essential. It’s not just about helping with childcare but also providing input on parenting skills. So, teen moms can have a good starting point to take care of their baby.

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Don’t forget to keep an open line of communication to create a collaborative environment that supports each other.

Conclusion

Answering the question of why teenage pregnancy is a problem requires a two-pronged approach. We need to provide sex education that includes tools and insights about reproductive health. Thus, they can make informed choices that don’t harm or disadvantage them. 

Besides, there’s also a need to share information about government policies, legal issues, and access to juvenile birth control to empower teenagers to determine their futures. So, we’re not just talking about addressing the issue but more about preventing teenage pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What role can siblings play in supporting a teen sister or brother through pregnancy and parenthood?

Siblings can help support their sister or brother going through parenthood and pregnancy by providing a non-judgmental space. Sharing your ears to listen to all their problems and concerns helps them feel heard and more at ease. 

This emotional assistance also has positive mental health implications, especially during the challenges of early parenthood. As a sibling, you can also offer practical help, such as childcare in the early days, to help them balance their responsibilities.

2. How can parents of pregnant teens assist in ensuring their child continues their education?

Parental guidance becomes a source of strength for pregnant teens so that they can maintain the enthusiasm to continue their education. They can offer supportive communication to understand what the teens think about their school situation. 

After that, we recommend parents seek information about learning options at school, such as online classes or part-time attendance. This is crucial so that their teens can keep up with the schedule, aligning with their unique needs.

3. How can families and friends help a pregnant teen deal with social stigma and isolation?

Families and friends are the closest individuals who can provide emotional support for pregnant teens. You can create a space for understanding that what they are going through is indeed a challenging experience, and you are willing to be there as a companion through this journey. 

Additionally, you can initiate open discussions about cultural attitudes or stereotypes regarding pregnant teens to dismantle social stigma. This, of course, will help them rise above and strive to become more prepared parents without worrying about the looming shadows of judgment from society.

4. What are effective ways for friends to offer support without judgment to a pregnant teen?

Teens tend to prefer sharing their problems with their friends. Hence, you can offer a space for open communication so that they are willing to share what they feel as pregnant teens. 

You can also suggest and accompany them to opt for counseling services that will improve their mental state during this challenging situation through professional guidance.

5. How can family and friends prepare for the arrival of the baby?

As supportive friends and family, you can actively participate in helping the pregnant teen prepare for the baby’s arrival. One way you can do this is by accompanying them to medical appointments. 

This small gesture demonstrates your emotional support in preparing them physically, mentally, and emotionally for the upcoming birth. It also aids in educating them about the risks of underage pregnancy and showcasing preventive measures. 

6. How can family members effectively communicate with a pregnant teen while respecting her privacy and independence?

Pregnant teens might get a bit uneasy if you check in on them with interrogating questions. So, you can kick off the convo with some casual chat, like asking how they’re feeling or if there’s anything you can help with. 

Try to keep it chill and treat them like the independent teenagers they are. This way, they’ll feel respected as “grown-ups” gearing up for parenthood.

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