Teenage pregnancy can have severe economic and social consequences for both the mothers and the child. Although adolescent pregnancy in the United States is at its lowest than it’s ever been in 40 years, it remains high compared to other developed countries.
Studies have shown that teenage pregnancies are a significant contributor to maternal and child mortality. Many complications stem from the fact that adolescent girls have little bodies that aren’t ready for pregnancy. And most of these pregnancies are either unplanned or are due to physical violence.
So what can we do to lessen the number of teenage pregnancies further?
Education is prevention
Evidence gathered over several decades have shown that abstinence-only-until-marriage education programs are not only ineffective in preventing teenage pregnancies and STDs. They are also unethical and stigmatizing because it promotes harmful gender stereotypes that encourage contrary health practices.
Despite this overwhelming evidence, the United States government has spent 2 billion dollars on domestic abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Scientific evidence shows that while abstinence education programs might be useful in theory, they are ineffective because they withhold crucial health information about their physical and intimate parts.
The first step that the government must undertake to lower teenage pregnancy rates is to defund their abstinence program in public and charter schools. They should divert that money to funding programs, such as evidence-based sexual education programs and allow teens easy access to contraceptives.
Switzerland has the lowest teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in the world. That is possible because of their well-established evidence-based education programs, free family planning services, and enacted laws that enable teens to get their hands on low-cost emergency contraceptives. Singapore also has low teen pregnancy rates due to similar laws and programs in their country.
A comprehensive education can improve the overall health and well-being of adolescent teens and empower teens to make informed decisions in their relationships and sexuality.
Parents must understand that discovery of their gender preferences and sexuality is a natural part of growing up, which will happen with or without comprehensive education. Despite the misinformation, this kind of knowledge does not encourage its students to engage in physical activities but instead helps them make informed decisions about physical intimacy.
Studies have shown that students who receive a comprehensive sexual education in school are more prone to have physical intimacy later than students who have not had the same training.
Improve access to contraceptives
Studies have shown that confidential and easy access to family planning services can directly affect teenage pregnancy rates. Specific health professionals play a key role in educating the proper uses of contraceptives and STD prevention information. Doing so will not only reduce adolescent pregnancy rates but also lessen STD rates among teenagers.
Scientific evidence suggests that even with easy access to contraceptives, intimate activity among teenagers did not increase. Schools that have free access to condoms have reported an increase in condom usage, thus preventing unwanted pregnancies and STD’s
Another way to do this is by increasing the insurance scope since most contraceptive pills can cost around $100 to $600, so it can improve access to contraceptives. Doing so will encourage teenagers to use contraceptives consistently.
It is no secret that acquiring contraceptives might come with judgment. That is why health-care professionals must also foster a safe and confidential space for teenagers. Studies have shown that secret access to free contraceptives can prevent up to 300,000 teenage pregnancies per year.
The fewer barriers there are between teenagers and contraceptives, the safer will be from unwanted teenage pregnancy.
Youth development programs
Youth development programs, such as job training, tutoring, and mentoring, have shown to reduce teen pregnancy rates vastly. Incorporating this into the school education system can only positively affect both the students and the teachers.
Acknowledging the fact that sexual development is a natural and a huge part of growing up can help teenagers express themselves honestly. Providing science-based evidence and strategies about physical intimacy can guarantee that teenage pregnancy rates will go down.
There are many potential steps to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies continually, and over the past few decades, we have been somewhat successful. However, there are still so many solutions that we have yet to implement.
The goal of any comprehensive education program should be equipping teenagers with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones from high-risk behaviors. By educating our youths, we enable them to make informed decisions they might not have otherwise known, had it not been for a comprehensive education.
Meta Title: Teenage Pregnancy: How Can It Be Curbed?
Meta Description: Pregnancy in teenagers can have severe consequences for the community. Here are different useful ways of ensuring that it is dealt with correctly.
Tags: teenage pregnancy,reproductive system,child,stem,complications,social,economic,evidence,charter school