I’m sure many of you know the statistic that Hispanics account for the majority of teenage pregancies, if not, here are some statistics.
- While teen pregnancy rates are dropping across the country, they remain stable among hispanic teens.
- The birth rate among hispanics ranks highest compared to other industrialized nations.
- Living in poverty increases the risk of teenagers becoming pregnant before the age of 19.
- States with the highest economic inequality have the highest incidence of teen pregnancies reported.
- States with abstinance only programs have the highest incidence of teen pregnancies reported.
As shocking as these statistics may seem, they are true. I believe it is true that living in poverty affects teenage pregnancies. I am from Laredo, Texas which is 95% hispanic. It was also named the #1 least diverse city in the United States. In Laredo, you see a lot of teenage pregnancies in high school, sometimes even in middle school. I lived in the south central side of Laredo and went to United South Middle and High school. In middle school there were a couple of girls who turned up pregnant, but high school proved the statistic. Some girls even had multiple children during their high school career.
I believe it was easier for a single mother to stay in school if she was able to recieve help from the government for her baby and childcare. Unfortunately, I know of some male students who had to drop-out of high school in order to get a job to support the mother of his child and the upcoming baby. Accordingly, I know of some girls who were kicked out of their homes and were forced to move in with their boyfriends families. Usually it was not so bad because there is government support for pregnant woman out there.
PROBLEMS WITH TEEN PREGNANCY
- Lack of Prenatal Care
The problem with teen pregnancy is that some girls are not educated enough to take the necessary steps to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal care is such an important aspect of developing well for your baby. The majority of teens need someone by their side guiding them with information about prenatal vitamins, monthly OB/GYN appointments and all there is to know about giving birth, but some teens don’t have this guidance.
Recently a close friend of mine told me her 17-year-old sister had just given birth to a beautiful baby boy but she didn’t tell her parents until she was 8 months into her pregnancy. As soon as she told them they rushed her to the doctor and was prescribed all sorts of vitamins in order to nourish the baby before it was born. I am no one to judge but the thought of telling your parents is tough and it makes teens avoid the situation. An adult would know the necessary steps towards prenatal care; on the other hand, teens need the help.
- Premature birth and low birth weight
According to information from the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin webpage, one factor that contributes to low birth weight is teen pregnancy. Low birth weight can cause complications with breathing and cognitive development for the baby as their body is not developed enought to handle all of this.
Many hispanic teens don’t have the financial or emotional support from their families and the thought of having to tell them about an unplanned pregnancy scares them; thus, leading to depression. Being pregnant also puts your life on pause for a short 9 months and if a teen is used to being active in sports or enjoying their weekends by partying, it is hard for them to put this life aside and can lead to isolation and lonliness from their friends.
Speaking from experience I know how difficult it is to tell parents about an unplanned pregnancy. I cried the first few weeks before telling my parents because I thought my family would react negatively to the news. I was having to mentally prepare for the worst. Fortunately, my brothers were very happy that they were going to be uncles to my daughter and my mother was happy she was going to be a grandma. On the other hand, my father was not so happy at the beginning. Eventually he came around and said he was happy that our family was growing. 🙂 Unfortunately, this is not the case for most teens. Especially if they are still in high school.
- Post Partum Depression
Although teenagers are capable of becoming pregnant, they are not done growing up themselves. If a teen does not have the support of their family they will have a difficult time carrying their baby to full term. Once their baby is born and they are not ready to care the child they can fall into post partum depression. Fortunately, there are programs out there incase teens don’t have support at home. Signs of postpartum depression are fatigue, guilt, lonliness, sleeplessness, restlessness, mood swings and excess worry.
One last thought…
A baby is a beautiful gift, but if one is not mentally prepared or does not have the support from their family this journey in life can be a tough one. Hopefully, schools can implement the importance of abstinance or the importance of prenatal care to teens in order to have a healthy and successful pregnancy, but until then Hispanics are still the statistic of teen pregnancy. If being a teen mom is hard enough I hope teens learn from their experience and find a way to be successful and wonderful mothers despite their hardships in life.
April-Renee Reinhardt 🙂