Adolescent pregnancy is viewed as a high-risk situation as there are serious health risks that are created for the mother, the baby, and society at large. “Early childbearing increases the risks for both mothers and their newborns.” (World Health Organization, 2014) There are many other health problems that can occur from these pregnancies along with the financial difficulties it places on the family and the community. Prevention starts with identifying risk factors and promoting education to the public. Risk factors for adolescent pregnancy can include lack of parental supervision or communication, sexual pressure from peers, friends or siblings who are sexually active, the belief that most peers are sexually active, lack of education, drug or alcohol use, dating someone who is at least three or more years older, living in poverty, and lack of goals for the future. (Southeastern Idaho Public Health, 2017) Through identification and early intervention progress can be made to help prevent adolescent pregnancies from occurring.
Within the community, there are resources available to the public to assist with adolescent pregnancies. One of the local resources in my community is Planned Parenthood which is an organization that provides sexual health care in the United States and around the world to help women and families. (Planned Parenthood, 2017) Another available resource for the prevention of teen pregnancy is the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPP) from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). “ The OAH TPP Program is a national, evidence-based program that funds diverse organizations that are working to prevent teen pregnancy across the United States. OAH invests in the implementation of evidence-based TPP programs, and provides funding to develop and evaluate new and innovative approaches to prevent teen pregnancy.” (HHS, 2017)
For Pennsylvania, the rates of teen pregnancy have decreased over the recent years. According to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, “ the teen birth rate in Pennsylvania declined 62% between 1991 and 2015” and “the teen pregnancy rate, which includes all pregnancies rather than just those that resulted in a birth, has also fallen steeply, by 60% between 1988 and 2013.” (2017) Potential reasons for this improvement include better education to adolescents and the public on prevention of pregnancy and a higher use of birth control methods. Much more work still needs to be done to work on this problem but continued effort, education, and resources will make a difference.
Planned Parenthood. (2017). About us. Retrieved from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us
Southeastern Idaho Public Health. (2017). Risk factors for teenage pregnancy. Retrieved from http://www.siphidaho.org/rephealth/app_risk.php
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. (2017). Pennsylvania data. Retrieved from https://thenationalcampaign.org/data/state/pennsylvania
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2017). Teen pregnancy prevention program (TPP). Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/grant-programs/teen-pregnancy-prevention-program-tpp/index.html