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Key Ideas

  • The U.S. has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the developed world. Most teenage pregnancies are unplanned.
  • If you engage in sex you risk pregnancy, sometimes even with contraceptive use, which is not foolproof. The only absolute way to avoid pregnancy is to practice abstinence.
  • Teenage mothers are often poor, poorly educated, poorly motivated, involved with unhealthy behaviors (alcohol drugs, unprotected sex), and are less likely to receive prenatal care than other mothers. This often result in more complications, premature babies, and babies with problems (addiction, deformities).
  • Teenage mothers and father face a difficult future-education is difficult to complete. Jobs are hard to get. Many feel very isolated, lonely, and overwhelmed. Dependency on others because of a lack of education and the inability to sustain oneself through work creates a cycle of poverty.

Overview

This section addresses the specific problems and issues created by teenage pregnancy in this country. Statistics are given on teenage pregnancy, and the statement is clearly made that the only sure way to prevent pregnancy is to abstain from having sex. Students complete an activity in which they examine the reasons that they believe so many teenager get pregnant. This activity is followed by information about and a discussion of the psychology of adolescent pregnancy. Next students look at the hard choices a pregnant teen must make, and they explore the problems that children born to teenage mothers are at an increased risk of having. The section concludes by focusing on the impact of teenage pregnancy on the lives of the mother and father, including education, economic, lack of freedom, and greatly increased responsibility. The final activity deals with how pregnant teens can cope with, or prevent, these problems.

Objectives

Students:

\checkmark examine the statistics on teenage pregnancy in this country.

\checkmark identify the special problems teenage pregnancy can create for females.

\checkmark identify the special problems teenage pregnancy can create for males.

Vocabulary

abortions, abstinence, cycle of dependency, malformed, peer group, sexually active

Student Materials

Activity 5-1: Why Do Adolescents Get Pregnant?

  • Activity Report

Activity 5-2: Problems of Being a Mother and Father

  • Activity Report

Teacher Materials

Activity 5-1: Why Do Adolescents Become Pregnant?

  • None required

Activity 5-2: Problems of Being a Mother and Father

  • None required

Advance Preparation

‘See Activities 5-1 and 5-2 in the Student Edition.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Language Arts Role-playing and discussion groups help students develop communication skills and can lead to essay or journal writing.

Social Studies Teenage pregnancy has a tremendous impact on society. Issues such as welfare and the costs of medical care can be addressed in social studies.

Math Several Mini Activities require calculations.

Background Information

Teenage pregnancy is a matter of national concern. In theory, any teenager is at risk; in practice, the level of risk varies widely depending on age, socio-economic class, ethnicity, and other factors.

As a consequence, teachers are likely to face very different student audiences. In one class, no student may have gotten pregnant; in another, a quarter may have been through the experience. Obviously how the topic is presented will have to be tailored to the particular circumstances.

No one has yet figured out how to talk teenagers out of getting pregnant. Education is important, but does not seem sufficient in and of itself. Effective programs for the prevention of teen pregnancy usually combine instruction with the ready provision of contraceptives.

Image Attributions

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Authors:

Grades:

6 , 7 , 8

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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