Giving birth to a baby is always a joy, though sometimes unplanned. Teenage pregnancy becomes an all the more urgent problem, and health professionals widely discuss the consequences of early parenthood. So, what about teen pregnancy prevention? How should parents approach the problem?
The Negative Physiological Consequences Of A Teenage Pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy (the average age of a mother – 14-18 years old) has become a serious problem in our civilized world. The highest teen pregnancy rates have been registered in the UK, the USA, Russia, and Belarus. Psychologists explain that the increased frequency of sexual intercourse among teenagers leading to unwanted pregnancies is caused by teens’ inclination to experiment. The age threshold of sexual activity initiation in the USA becomes lower and lower. That’s why there are so many cases of teen pregnancy in high and middle school.
Speaking about early motherhood aftermath, a lot of experts refer only to the psychological consequences of the problem, clearly forgetting about physiological complications. Gynecologists proved that teenage pregnancy takes a far more complicated course than the pregnancy of a woman in her twenties a long time ago. Teenage girls often suffer from severe pains, uncontrollable toxicosis, and regular bleeding. Sometimes these unpleasant symptoms are related to the immaturity of a young girl’s organism: teenage bodies are not prepared for childbearing and giving birth. But in most cases, the symptoms occur because of the careless attitude a girl has to her own state of health.
Teenage girls can thoroughly conceal the fact of pregnancy from everyone around them, keeping up their usual lifestyle. Heavy physical loads, alcohol abuse, cigarettes – all this can lead to a rapid health deterioration of both the mother and the fetus. In the case of unwanted pregnancy, a teenage girl needs to change her usual lifestyle immediately, to take good care of herself and her future baby.
Medical experts have also managed to determine that teen pregnancies very often end in miscarriages. There is a risk of premature birth as well, and such complications always affect the baby’s health.
The Psychological Aftermath Of Teenage Pregnancy For a Mother and Her Baby
Despite there are numerous physiological complications of teen pregnancy, its psychological aftermath affects the mother and her baby much more seriously. First of all, a lot of teenage girls are simply not ready for giving birth to a baby and providing them with the necessary care during their whole life. That’s exactly why the very fact of being pregnant evokes only negative emotions in teenage expectant mothers, and that leads to the absence of maternal instinct altogether in the future.
Secondly, a teenage mother has to face constant social disapproval. Despite the increasing frequency of teen pregnancy cases in the USA, our society hasn’t changed its attitude toward pregnant teenage girls. Such future mothers are bullied at school, and sometimes they’re even scorned by their closest friends and family. For this reason, in such a situation teenage girls need all the support their parents can give as well as regular counseling sessions with a therapist. The attention to the future mother’s psychological state will help to avoid suicidal thoughts and depressions, making it easier for a teenager to enter this new stage of her life – motherhood.
Thirdly, the pregnant teenage girl is often depressed because her ambitions have been suddenly ruined. After finding out she is pregnant, a young girl understands that her prospects of going to a college or university or starting a career are unrealistic now. She won’t be able to fulfill her dreams in at least the next few years. This feeling of deep frustration is strangling for an expectant mother, and she resents her future baby for it.
Since teen pregnancy cases are quite a common occurrence in the modern world, teachers are trying to do all they can for teenage mothers so that they could complete their school education. That’s why pregnant teenage girls are taking facilitated exams. But this fact can’t eliminate the possibility of emotional pressure on a teenager completely.
We shouldn’t forget about the fact that teen pregnancy affects not only the future mother but also her baby. Quite often a teenage girl just can’t become a good and caring mother because at this time she has other interests and plans for her life. As a result, her child is love-starved by the most important person in their life, and it can’t go without effect on the little kid’s psyche. If a girl decides to keep her baby she should understand how much responsibility will rest on her shoulders.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention
One of the most common questions that cause constant worrying among parents is: how to prevent teenage pregnancy? Since such cases become more and more widespread, disquieted parents have to look for answers.
For this problem not to become their reality, parents should think about the proper upbringing of their kids when they are still very young. So, for example, boys and girls should be taught to treat their own bodies with respect. When you explain to your children where babies come from you should tell them again and again that a baby is born only if two people love each other. Your children have to understand that sex is an important step in a relationship, and they can have it only when they are completely sure.
Adults will also sooner or later have to accept the fact that their child has grown up. The average age when young people start their sex life is 15-16 in the USA. So, when your child reaches 15 you should talk to them and seriously discuss such issues as birth control and unprotected sex aftermath. Some parents take the next step and buy contraceptives for their kids.
Sex education is also a subject teachers bring up at schools nowadays. But children are often shy and can’t ask uncomfortable questions in class which usually leads to sexual ignorance. That’s why the best thing a parent can do for their child is to build a close relationship with them, based on mutual trust and respect.
You can’t build such a relationship in one day – it’ll require a very long time. Thus, for instance, you can get used to talking to your child every evening. The adults will tell their kids about interesting moments of their day, and kids will share some of their personal secrets in turn. Eventually, when your kid inevitably enters their teenage years they’ll ask all the questions not their friends, but you. In some families, teenage girls trust their mother so much that they share every little thing about their current relationship, including the details of their sex life. In this case, the mother can easily affect her daughter’s decision and warn her about protection during sex which makes teen pregnancy prevention very simple.
If all of the parents’ efforts were futile and they’ve found out their teenage daughter is pregnant they should keep calm and level-headed. The adults should speak to their child and ask her what term it is, what the father of the baby thinks about it, and if she is going to keep the baby. Modern techniques of early termination of pregnancy have reached such a level that the procedure won’t harm the teenager’s reproductive function. The girl should also know that a baby isn’t a toy: they will need constant attention and care from their mother, they’ll need love. Making a decision to keep the baby, the teenage girl should understand that her life will change forever, but at the same time, she will get a chance to become a good mother and bring up a happy child.
If your daughter has decided to keep the baby you should support her in this deliberate decision. She’s chosen a difficult path. It is usually the lack of support from loved ones that causes the girl and her mother to drift apart – and that has an enormous impact on a teenager.
Teenagers often have sex and don’t think about the consequences it can cause in the future. However, even if a teenage mother decides to keep the baby and not to get married it’s not a reason for despair. She can still live a happy life. There are a lot of women who gave birth to their first child when they didn’t even turn 20 but they’ve managed to make a career and find their true love later. There’s only one thing you should keep in mind: the desire to become a good mother is not enough – it’s a lot of hard work in spite of how old you are.
Teen pregnancy prevention is a relevant problem in our society, though it’s been studied for quite some time. Teachers and parents use various methods in order to avoid teenage pregnancy. There are not so many teenage parents who have managed to become a reliable support for their kids. So, if you’re a teenager, think twice before you make any decision!
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.