Especially for teens who think they can't tell their parents they're pregnant, feeling scared, isolated, and alone can be a real problem. Without the support of family or other adults, pregnant teens are less likely to eat well, exercise , or get plenty of rest. And they are less likely to get to their regular prenatal visits. Having at least one trusted, supportive adult -- someone nearby in the community, if not a family member -- is invaluable in helping them get the prenatal care and emotional support they need to stay healthy during this time.
There are many programs in place to help teen parents learn parenting skills, complete their education, particularly high school, and find meaningful employment or further training and education with the idea of obtaining a better job. The truth is a teen parent will need more support and perhaps time to complete these tasks. Having good childcare that empowers the teen parent rather than forces the teen to abdicate to the paid care provider is a must. Only about half of the females who become pregnant will complete their high school education by the time that they are twenty-two, compared to about ninety percent of the females in that age group who do not become pregnant.
Adolescent pregnancy is a complex issue with many reasons for concern. Teenage pregnancy is a natural human occurrence that is a poor fit with modern society. In many ways it has become a proxy in what could be called the cultural wars. On one philosophical side of the debate, political and religious leaders use cultural and moral norms to shape public opinion and promote public policy with the stated purpose of preventing teen pregnancy. To begin, Martin, et al. 2012 provides national vital statistics on teen pregnancy. Leishman and Moir 2007 provides a good overview of these broader issues. Demographic studies by organizations like the Alan Guttmacher Institute ( Alan Guttmacher Institute 2010 ) give a statistical description of teenage pregnancy in the United States. The number of teen pregnancies and the pregnancy outcomes are often used to support claims that teenage pregnancy is a serious social problem. The other side of this debate presented in publications by groups like the World Health Organization ( World Health Organization 2004 ) reflects the medical professionals, public health professionals, and academicians who make a case for viewing teenage sexuality and pregnancy in terms of human development, health, and psychological needs. These two divergent views of teen pregnancy are represented in the United States by groups such as Children’s Aid Society; Healthy Teen Network; Center for Population Options; Advocates for Youth; National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy; National Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting, and Prevention; state-level adolescent pregnancy prevention organizations; and other organizations that include teen pregnancy within their scope of interest and services. Mollborn, et al. 2011 delineates other important aspects of teenage pregnancy (race, poverty, and religious influences) that help explain why teenage pregnancy is considered a problem in some circles. The association between teenage pregnancy and social disadvantage, however, is not just found in the United States. Harden, et al. 2009 reports on the impact of poverty on teenage pregnancy rates in the United Kingdom. This phenomenon is not isolated to the United States and Great Britain; it is global. Holgate, et al. 2006 and the authors of Cherry and Dillon 2014 provide a comprehensive overview of global teenage pregnancy. To round out this general overview, the article Jiang, et al. 2011 is a description of a pragmatic national effort to improve the sexual and reproductive health of all adolescents and young adults. The best sources for research are professional journals and monographs from national and international health and development organizations focused on specific countries, regions, and global teenage pregnancy variations and trends.