AbstractAmericansare known to lead in many aspects of the world compared to other countries. Onestarts to wonder how wonderful is the American dream if we are known to fallbehind in education and more importantly have the highest rate of teenpregnancy amongst all nations. United States is a developed countries withaccess to many resources and technology.
Although, it may seem as if pregnancywill be easy with support, it is quite the opposite especially as an adolescent.Teenage pregnancy is a public health concern because it is a common,preventable issue in most of the states that also carries an undesirablestigma. IntroductionTeenage pregnancy andlack of education, finance, and support are key factors creating a disadvantagelifestyle for these adolescents (Furstenburg, 2010). Unplanned pregnancies can drastically change a person’senvironment, goals, along with their physical, mental, emotional, and socialwell-being.
These are all factors that can lead to depression if circumstances aren’taligned from the beginning. Taxpayers spend an estimated amount of $950million dollars for teenage births yearly (National Abortion Federation, 2010).Billions of taxpayer dollars are spent every year to care and support teenagebirths. Teen Birth rates are lowest in the Northeast and upper Midwest andhighest across the Southern states (Culp-Ressler, 2012).
Therefore,implementing an in depth, comprehensive sex education class covering parentingin schools will allow teens to fully understand the consequences of havingprotected or unprotected sex that often leads to unsafe sex practices. Theseissues usually stem from having lack of knowledge on the topic and decreaseaccess to sex education, contraceptives, and birth control (Culp-Ressler, 2012).Sexual risky behaviors can lead to getting pregnant and/or obtaining sexuallytransmitted infections that are either treatable or incurable. The GuttmacherInstitute (2013) say that risks of teenage pregnancy include:· Lowbirth weight, early delivery or death of the infant· Repeatableabuse and neglect of teenage mothers · Historyof teenage mothers being a product of adolescent · Povertyand high rates of dropping out of school · RepeatPregnancyThe United States has ahigher rate of teen pregnancy than other countries because one is not open totalk about sex with a child once puberty occurs. Children are being introducedto puberty at a much younger age today. Many different things can contribute togirls having an earlier onset of puberty.
Study shows girls who are obese havea higher chance of puberty coming earlier than girls that are not obese (Mangel,2010). Puberty is a time in a girl’s and boy’s life that changes them physicallyand mentally with thoughts of exploring their sexual behaviors. Since younggirls are starting their menstrual cycles earlier, it is the perfect time tohave the safe sex talk with them. The time for educating teens about safe sexor no sex is suggested to start earlier than before. Teenagers are most likelyto seek sexual information from their friends rather than their parents due tojudgment or disappointment (Mangel, 2010).
Therefore, it is important to keeptrust and open communication to avoid assumptions about what teenagers knowabout sexual education. Adequate sex education is needed in today’s schoolcurriculum in order to aid in the fight against teen pregnancy.Research has found anassociation between exposure of sexual content on TV and teen pregnancy thatconsists of 56% of sexual content (Rochman, 2012). The realities of teenpregnancy is being publicized all over TV and the internet, with shows such as theSecret Life of the American Teenager, Teen Mon, 16 & Pregnant, Maury, Junoand more.
All of these shows portray the good and bad aspects of teenage pregnancyalong with some exaggerations. According to Rochman (2012), 15% of teenagerssaid that these shows displayed an altered reality that teen pregnancy is easy,and it glamorized teen parenthood. However, 82% said it helped them understandthe challenges of teen pregnancy. They watched as some people ended up assingle parents, gave their babies up for adoption, had abortions, etc., all dueto various variables.
Teens expressed that they thought pregnancy would be harderafter the show. These shows and movies also provides informational resourcesfor teenagers on how to prevent mothers and children from homelessness, fostercare, and the juvenile system. Despite of sex educationprograms, condoms have been found to help prevent pregnancy.
In 1995, condomuse among 15-19 years old prevented an estimated 1.65 million pregnancies inthe United States (Mangel, 2010). While the majority of teens have usedcontraception in the past, most are using condoms or pills.
Alarmingly, half ofteens who are having sex are not using contraception and most experiencedcontraceptive failure due to incorrect or inconsistent use or using lesseffective methods, such as just condoms alone or pills (Culp-Ressler, 2012).The most common reason that teenagers did not use contraception was becausethey thought that they could not get pregnant. Almost 25% stated that theirpartner did not want to use contraception, which likely was a condom.