While conceiving at an early age affects an adolescent’s physical and mental health, the consequences of teenage pregnancy on society are also dire. An unmarried, pregnant teenager can face social discrimination, and they may often not get the support they need to complete their studies, get a job, and resettle in society.
Social isolation and poverty make them vulnerable to risky behaviors, which can affect society by creating financial challenges for the government, which needs to invest in the rehabilitation and welfare of teenage mothers and their babies (1).
Read on to know more about how teenage pregnancy affects society and some teenage pregnancy facts that parents and teenagers should know.
Effects Of Teenage Pregnancy On Society
Our society relies on moral beliefs, ethics, and human etiquettes. And unfortunately, teenage pregnancy is viewed as taboo. Society, as progressive as it wants to be, cannot embrace the concept of a pregnant teen mother.
And, here we look at some of the negative effects of teenage pregnancy on the child, the teenage mother, and society:
- Teenagers experiencing early motherhood cannot pursue their higher education due to the added responsibility of raising a child, which can negatively impact their academic and career goals, thereby contributing to a higher rate of illiteracy in society.
- The education of the teen mother remains on hold during pregnancy, and some teens even decide to drop out of their high school and find a job to supplement themselves.
- Teens who plan to attend college have to bear taunts, acidic remarksiXAn unkind comment said in a humorous way to criticize someone. , and arrogant discourses from their peers about their pregnancy and baby. In such circumstances, teen moms decide to focus on the baby or plan to get married rather than pursuing a higher education.
- Researchers conclude that most teenage pregnancies end with education dropouts because of the fear of embarrassment, humiliation, and harassment from the fellow friends and college mates.
- Teenage pregnancy statistics states that only one-third of teen moms can even acquire the high school diploma, and a few also get a college degree.
Kaylie Varney, a mom and vlogger, got pregnant at 19 and dropped out of college due to her health. Recalling her pregnancy journey, she says, “I was supposed to be the first in my family to finish college. But I ended up dropping out of college because I would throw up every single day. I would go to school and run to the bathroom. It continued until I decided I couldn’t do it anymore and dropped out of the college (i).”
2. Loss Of Government Revenue:
- Reducing teen pregnancy can be beneficial in decreasing welfare dependency. In most developing nations, government’s plan welfare schemes to take adequate care of teen mothers and their dependent children, recognizing that the lack of career opportunities often leaves these mothers in a vulnerable financial position. As the low-qualified mother cannot get a good job, she completely depends on such welfare schemes to overcome impending financial distress.
- In the United States, the annual expenses to fund teenage pregnancies cost around $7 billion. The government has to spend money on public assistance, child health care, and foster careiXChildren under temporary custody when their parents are unable to care for them or are dead. , to facilitate proper upbringing of the child.
- Teen mothers do not have to pay the taxes, and the government has to face a huge loss of revenue.
3. Social Obligations:
- Stereotypes and stigmas surrounding teenage pregnancy can contribute to social isolation and discrimination, limiting opportunities for young parents and their children.
- A teenage mother has to face several social obligations like not getting a good job, not getting respect from friends and family members.
- The entire social life of the teen mother gets ruined due to her early parenthood and unexpected pregnancy, and she has to spend her life in emotional trauma.
4. Lack Of Financial Support:
- A teen mother who does not get proper financial support from her parents or friends has to face a severe financial crunch.
- She has to face extreme difficulty to buy basic items for her newborn baby like, clothing and baby care products.
5. Increased Risk Of Destitution:
- As teenage pregnancy hinders the mom from pursuing higher education and acquiring basic qualifications, she lands up in a poorly paid job.
- In most cases, the biological father abandons the teen mom, and the baby becomes her sole responsibility. Hence, the mother ends up living in poverty and running the risk of imminent destitutioniXExtreme poverty that makes it even harder to provide for oneself. .
- Teenage pregnancy increases the risk of spending the entire life in poverty for both the teen parents and the baby, particularly those who come from low socioeconomic status. As fewer teen moms attain proper educational degrees and qualifications, they cannot find suitable and well-paid jobs to improve their financial position.
- Teenage pregnancy is most of the time linked to the lower annual income of the mother. As a result, 80% of teen mothers have to rely on social welfare schemes planned by the nation.
6. Medical Complications:
- Teenage pregnancy increases the risks of medical complications in both the mother and her baby.
- A lack of proper prenatal care often induces medical complications like high blood pressure, anemia, and premature birth of the baby.
- Although advisable, it isn’t always possible for the teen mother to go for regular prenatal checkups, which increase the risk of medical conditions.
- Moreover, teen pregnancy increases the likelihood of medical complications in the baby, and they may suffer from low birth weight, blindness, deafness, respiratory problems, and even an increased risk of infant mortality.
7. Emotional Crisis:
- After getting pregnant at an early age, the teen mother may suffer from a huge emotional crisis due to a lack of social support from the family.
- Severe emotional and mental breakdown triggers the onset of evil behavior like suicide attempts or attempting to self-abort the baby.
- The teen mother experiences severe depression while facing negative feedback about the pregnancy from society.
8. Substance Abuse:
- Substances are a good way to adjust reality and soften the blow. Society can be cruel, often driving teen moms over the edge. It is not surprising that such women turn to substances to quell the ongoing negativity. For some, it becomes an unhealthy coping skill that provides some escapism for them.
- Studies conclude that teenage pregnancy directly affects teenage drug addiction rates.
9. Work Harder Than Others:
- For those of you who think parenting is a task, imagine having to do it all alone, with no support and no one to talk with! Teen moms face several consequences.
- However, the reality is that they have to work harder than others. The poor literacy rates and a lack of education make it harder to support the child.
10. Bad Reputation In Society:
- Society usually considers teenage pregnancy a social dilemma and young parents have to face huge humiliation and negative remarks from people.
- Teenage pregnancy is a viewed as social stigma and teen parents have to bear bad reputation as the society treats them as outcasts and strangers.
11. Higher Suicide Rates:
- Teenage moms are more prone to committing suicides, as humiliation and embarrassment, and the lack of social support can trigger depression.
- Emotional stress, financial crisis, and societal alienation are some of the main contributing factors that trigger suicide among teen mothers.
- A good support system is extremely crucial for the young mother, to help rid her of suicidal thoughts (2).
The graph shows that the overall teen birth rate in the US reduced from 61.8 to 15.4 births per 1,000 adolescent females (15 to 19 years of age) between 1991 and 2020. It was also seen to decline across women of different races. The birth rates are reported to be higher among American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, Black, and Hispanic teen than among teens overall.
Birth rates among females between 15-19 years by race in the USSource: Trends in Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing; The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Shocking Facts About Teenage Pregnancy
Here are some of the most alarming facts about teenage pregnancy:
- According to the US CDC’s National Vital Statistics Reports 2020, 91.7% of teen births in the US are outside of marriage.
- Most teens get pregnant due to unprotected sexual intercourse, a lack of maturity and a lack of personal responsibility.
- A lack of proper sex education, the stigmatizing of sex, and many other societal rules contribute directly or indirectly to teen pregnancy. It is important to garner information from a reliable source, and not blindly follow the internet or Reddit. Teens should speak to their physicians about sex and pregnancy.
- 40% of teen mothers are unable to pursue higher education and cannot offer their children strong financial ground.
- For a teenage mother, it may take a relatively longer time span to attain a stable living, and the child has to suffer the negative consequences.
- Most young fathers hesitate to commit to the teen mother and moms have to raise the child alone.
- Taking responsibility for the child is a huge burden itself, and the teen mother has to face several negative consequences like financial distress, no committed partner, lack of education or good job, and no permanent house. All these social consequences of teenage pregnancy make life more difficult for the mother and her baby.
- Teenage parents often have to face negative judgment from their family and friends and have to face discrimination from society. It makes life more miserable for the teen, as she cannot handle society.
- Having a child at a young age, does not stop either of the young parents from fulfilling their dreams or attaining success in life. However, the things become more difficult because of the extra responsibility of taking care of the baby.
- Almost all teen pregnancies, around 80%, are unplanned and unexpected. A lack of sex education and contraception is the main reason for it.
- Over a quarter of pregnant teens choose abortion to get rid of the hardships and social implications of teenage pregnancy on society.
- As compared to other developed nations, the United States has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy, parenthood, and abortion.
- Teenage pregnancy imposes several pregnancy complexities like anemia, hypertension, toxemia, premature delivery, and placenta PreviaiXA pregnancy condition when the placenta blocks partially or all the lower part of the uterus (cervix). (3).
The consequences of teenage pregnancy on parents and individuals can have far-reaching effects on their lives, including their education, career prospects, and overall well-being. Additionally, teenage pregnancy is linked to several apprehensions and objections. One of the reasons is that teen pregnancy has some adverse effects on society, including increasing the burden on various family members of the teen to raise the teen and their child. Hence, you should follow practical measures to prevent teenage pregnancy by promoting sex education and abstinence in the young generation, to reduce the educational and economic consequences of teenage pregnancy.
Prompt guidance is essential to aid your teen in leading a successful life and not being prone to commit mistakes in their impressionable years. Also, parents must instill the right set of values and morals in their children to help them make appropriate life decisions.
Altogether, it is the equal responsibility of the parents and the society to teach and guide teenagers towards the right paths, rather than merely passing negative comments and demotivating them.
Infographic: Negative Effects Of Teenage Pregnancy On Society
Teenage pregnancy can significantly affect society, both in terms of the individual teenager and their family, as well as the broader community. It can have social, economic, and health-related consequences, which could lead to immediate and long-term impacts on society. This infographic highlights the significant negative effects of teenage pregnancy on society.
- Teenage pregnancy has a significant negative impact on both the mother and her family.
- It often leads to social discrimination against the mother.
- Financial difficulties caused by the pregnancy can force the mother to limit her education.
- In many cases, teenage fathers refuse to take responsibility and abandon the mother and child.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can society support teen mothers to overcome parenting challenges at a young age?
Parents and society can provide teens with prenatal care and healthcare services to ensure a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. They can help teens attend parenting classes to equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary for raising a child. They can also help teenagers find jobs and housing and become independent. Furthermore, they can provide teens with support that can help challenge negative stereotypes about teen moms and create a better future for themselves and their children (8).
2. What can we do to prevent teen pregnancy and reduce its impact on society?
Strategies that could work to prevent teen pregnancy and reduce its impact on society involve providing proper sex education, where parents should be responsible for explaining their children healthy sexual practices. Also, there should be more teen-friendly clinics to provide information about STDs and contraceptive use (9) (10).
3. How does teen pregnancy impact family relationships?
Teen pregnancies can negatively impact family relationships, as unmarried pregnant teens may encounter stigma or rejection by parents and friends. They may also face threats of violence. Even married girls who become pregnant before 18 years have been found to be more likely to experience violence within a relationship (11).
Personal Experience: Source
- The Costs and Consequences of Teen Childbearing.
- Christine W. Musyimi et al.; (2020); Suicidal behavior risks during adolescent pregnancy in a low-resource setting: A qualitative study.
- About Teen Pregnancy.
- School-Based Health Centers
- ABeth Barnet, et al.; (2004); Reduced School Dropout Rates Among Adolescent Mothers Receiving School-Based Prenatal Care
- Teenage Women, Abortion, and the Law
- Hilary S. Connery; et al.; (2014); Adolescent substance use and unplanned pregnancy: strategies for risk reduction
- Help Pregnant Teens Know Their Options: AAP Policy Explained.
- Help your teen make healthy choices about sex.
- Health Care Providers and Teen Pregnancy Prevention.
- Teenage Pregnancy.