Teenage Pregnancy: the Preventable Health Issue

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Teen pregnancy occurs most often in southern states, or areas that don’t teach safe sex, or abstinence only. As technology has advanced, teenagers have been able to look online for information that they are not taught in school, so teen pregnancy in the United States has decreased a lot in the last few years (CDC). Many teenagers aren’t taught safe sex, so they don’t know how to prevent pregnancy or STD’s (National Campaign). More programs are needed in schools and in communities to teach those who don’t know about STD’s and pregnancy.

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Explain the Health Issue

According to Peskin, the best way to prevent teen pregnancy is by teaching TPP (teen pregnancy prevention) (Peskin) The problem is that a lot of these programs don’t get funding, especially in southern states where religion plays a bigger role in communities. It has been proven that areas with these prevention programs have fewer rates of teen pregnancy then areas without it. Parents talking to their teenagers early on about safe sex has also been proven to help prevent pregnancy (National Campaign, 2011). Teen Pregnancy and STD’s are statistically lower in rates in areas that teach safe sex, most teenagers are going to try it no matter what, so if they are taught how to stay safe, it can help the spread of STD’s and teen pregnancy.

Individual Level

Teen Pregnancy mainly impacts the individual. Teen pregnancy is a public health concern because teen mothers are more likely to experience negative social outcomes, including school dropout (CDC, 2012). Of the 1.3 million of students that dropped out of school in 2012, 30% claimed it was because of pregnancy or parenthood (Muckle, 2012). By age 22, only around 50 percent of teen mothers have received a high school diploma and only 30 percent have earned a General Education Development (GED) certificate, whereas 90% of women who did not give birth as an adolescent receive a diploma. Only about 10 percent of teen mothers complete a two- or four-year college program (Adverse Effects, 2011). Without an education nowadays, it is very hard to find a good job that can support yourself, and to include children, it is even harder. These teen mothers are putting a pause on their lives in order to care for their child. This could mean giving up on school, or putting a delay on school in order to care in order to be a mom.

Population Level

The problem of teen pregnancy has an impact on both the individual and the population. There is no single cause for the rising rate of adolescent pregnancy, but rather a combination of factors. These can generally be grouped under biological factors, societal factors, personal attitude and/or needs, ignorance, misunderstanding when it comes to sexual matters, and problems innate in modern contraceptive methods (Hechtman, 2006). Teen pregnancy can cause consequences including health, economic, and emotional outcomes for the parents and the child. Teen pregnancy costs U.S. taxpayers about $11 billion per year due to increased health care and foster care, increased incarceration rates among children of teen parents, and lost tax revenue because of lower educational accomplishment and income among teen mothers (Adverse Health, 2011). The population is affected by teen pregnancy because teenage mothers aren’t able to provide for their children, so they need to get support from the government.


Teen pregnancy can be a preventable health issue if it was understood and educated to everyone. Abstinence only education has been proven to not be completely effective since teenagers will still get curious and experiment. Since they were only taught abstinence as sex education, they aren’t aware of how to preform safe sex, and they could end up pregnant or with an STI/STD. Teen pregnancy has the ability to derail a teenager’s life, forcing them to drop out of school or not reach their potential because they have to take care and afford a baby. Many teenagers are unable to support a family financially, costing taxpayers millions of dollars for healthcare, foster care, etc.. Safe sex needs to be taught in schools in order to help prevent disease, infection and pregnancy.


Adverse Effects. (2011). Retrieved from https://youth.gov/youth-topics/pregnancy-prevention/adverse-effects-teen-pregnancy

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Vital Statistics System: birth data. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/births.htm. Accessed September 25, 2018.

Gosling, B. (2017). Adolescent pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.unfpa.gov/adolescent-pregnancy

Hechtman, L. (2006). Teenage mothers and their children: Risks and problems: A review. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2670180

Muckle, G. (2012). The Drop Out Crisis and Teen Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.progressivepolicy.gov/blog/the-drop-out-crisis-and-teen-pregnancy/

Melissa F. Peskin, Belinda F. Hernandez, Efrat K. Gabay, Paula Cuccaro, Dennis H. Li, Eric Ratliff,Kelly Reed-Hirsch, Yanneth Rivera, Kimberly Johnson-Baker, Susan Tortolero

Emery and Ross Shegog, (2017) Using Intervention Mapping for Program Design and Production of iCHAMPSS: An Online Decision Support System to Increase Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance of Evidence-Based Sexual Health Programs, Frontiers in Public Health, 5, (2017).

Prepregnancy Contraceptive Use Among Teens with Unintended Pregnancies Resulting in Live Births – Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), 20042008. (2012).

Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6102a1.htm

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Counting it up: the public costs of teen childbearing: key data. (2011) https://www.thenationalcampaign.org/costs/pdf/counting-it-up/key-data.pdf.

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Teenage Pregnancy: The Preventable Health Issue. (2019, Apr 05). Retrieved January 29, 2023 , from

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