Teenage pregnancy is one of the major social problems in the United States. According to statistics, there were 229715 infants born of teenage mothers; 15-19 years, in 2015 in the United States. This implies that about 229715 teenage girls’ life took a drastic turn from normal learning activity to motherhood. This results to substantial economic and social cost through long-term and immediate impacts on teen parents as well as their children. Teen is a prime age in people’s life where they get to concentrate on their studies and build their career. Pregnancy and childbirth at this age can result to lifetime economic and social consequences, especially for girls without strong support system. In this regard, it is considerably important to define practical primary, secondary and tertiary measures to prevent teenage pregnancies.
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Teenage pregnancy is as a result of nearly initiation into sexual activities. Thus, one of the best teenage pregnancy primary prevention strategies is delaying girls’ initiation to sex. This can be done by offering sex education to teenagers both girls and boys, explaining the effect of early sexual interaction. The role of sexual education should be taken by parents, religious institutions and schools where teenagers spend most of their time. Teenagers should be encouraged to abstain and investing their energy into building their profession. Schools should create counseling and support programs, especially for girls who have social issues such as unsupportive parents, broken families or parents involved in drugs and other legal issues, to ensure they can afford basics needs including sanitary towels.
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Other preventive measures would include defining laws that would deny girls below 18 years right to consent to a sexual relationship. This would discourage older men; 18 years and above from preying teenage for sex, especially girls experiencing economic challenges, who would get into a relationship with grown men for financial support. Another preventive measure is assigning teenage girl with a responsibility of caring for an infant for a day or two and make them understand the difficulties involved in raising a child. Life experience videos on struggling young mothers should also be used in sex and relationships education forums to make them understand and fear the consequences of early pregnancies.
Secondary measures should be employed for teenage girls who are already introduced to sexual activities and those who already have first child, to prevent second birth. The best strategy to employ in this case is by educating girls on importance of using contraceptives, especially those that prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Girls should be educated on effective use of contraceptives to prevent early pregnancies. Those with their first teenage baby should be educated on contraceptive to prevent them from getting pregnant again.
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Tertiary prevention strategies should also be provided to teenage mothers to help them cope with hard life. Majority of teenage mothers may end up dropping from school due to lack of strong support system. Local government and NGOs should consider starting programs to support teenage mothers to go back to school to continue building their life. The program should incorporate parents or relatives, to assist in taking care of babies as their mothers go back to school. The programs should also consider offering daycare services for mothers without family support to care for the babies. These mothers should also be financially supported to be able to cater for their babies’ need and school related financial needs.
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