Adolescent Pregnancy and Nursing Role in Prevention

Adolescent pregnancy is a pressing issue in the United States that poses significant economic concerns, as well as risks to the health and wellbeing of the younger generation. Despite the national efforts to address this problem, in 2010, there were 614, 000 registered teen pregnancies in the U.S., with 26% of those pregnancies ending in an abortion (Sedgh, Finer, Bankole, Eilers, & Singh, 2015).

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Compared to other developed countries, the United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancies, with 57 pregnancies per 1000 females aged 15-19 years old (Sedgh et al., 2015). The annual cost of adolescent childbearing in the U.S. is approximately $9.4 billion, which makes it a crucial problem for the healthcare sector (Romero et al., 2016). The health risks of teen pregnancy are also important to address.

For instance, according to Jeha, Usta, Ghulmiyyah, and Nassar (2015), adolescent pregnancy leads to increased risk of complications during and after pregnancy, as well as to a higher incidence of postpartum depression. Moreover, infants born to teen mothers are at a higher risk of being underweight, experiencing respiratory distress syndrome, and in developing autism (Jeha et al., 2015). Factors associated with an increased risk of teen pregnancy include low socioeconomic status, low income and education levels, and underemployment (Penman-Aguilar, Carter, Snead, & Kourtis, 2013).

Research has also found significant racial disparities linked to adolescent pregnancy rates. For instance, in 2014, the teen birth rate was twice as high for Hispanic and black teens compared to white teens (Romero et al., 2016). Therefore, addressing high-risk populations through a comprehensive and efficient intervention program could help to lower the incidence of teen pregnancy on a national level.

Problem Statement

Despite a recent decrease, teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. are still high, especially for certain populations (Romero et al., 2016). A young maternal age poses a significant concern for complications, including infections and developmental issues in infants (Jeha et al., 2015). Moreover, teen pregnancy is increasingly costly for the government and the healthcare industry, which can have a knock-on effect on the provision of health services for other conditions and diseases (Romero et al., 2016). All of the above make teen pregnancy a significant issue that must be addressed, especially in high-risk populations.

Significance to Nursing

Teen pregnancy poses significant concerns not just for young mothers, but also for nurses and other medical practitioners. For instance, it can create ethical issues related to abortion and contraception use. Moreover, it affects the health and well-being of the younger population. There is also increased pressure on nurses to provide pregnant teens with necessary care and medical aid to avoid pregnancy complications and other health consequences. Finally, adolescent pregnancy increases health care expenditures (Romero et al., 2016), which might affect the institutions’ budget and funding in the long-term.

Purpose of the Research

This research will aim to determine preferable intervention schemes to address the issue of adolescent pregnancy in the local community. The present research could prove to be useful in reducing the issue of adolescent pregnancy in the long-term by providing guidance and evidence in support of an effective intervention scheme.

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Research Questions

The main research question is, “What is the preferable intervention to reduce the rate of teen pregnancies in the local community?” However, there are also several supporting questions that could help to fulfill the aims of the study. These include:

  • Which populations in the local community are at a higher risk for teen pregnancy?
  • What is the overall trend in teen pregnancies in the local community?
  • Are there any community risk factors that contribute to higher rates of teen pregnancies?
  • What are the interventions that are currently used to address the issue of teen pregnancy in the local community, if any?
  • What interventions are considered to be effective in reducing teen pregnancy rates in similar population contexts?
  • What are the required resources for the implementation of the proposed intervention?
  • Which barriers to implementation could affect the success of the intervention?
  • What are the community and personal factors that could influence the outcome of the intervention?
  • What control and evaluation tools can be used to track the progress of the intervention?

Relevance to Master’s Essentials

The chosen research topic fits into the Master’s Essentials as outlined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2011). First of all, Master’s Essential IV, which stresses the importance of translating and integrating research into nursing practice (AACN, 2011), applies to the topic. The present research would help to provide evidence-based information and recommendations for reducing adolescent pregnancy rates in the local community.

Secondly, the results of this research might become a foundation for promoting policy change to address the issue of teen pregnancy. As such, Master’s Essential VI: Health Policy and Advocacy also applies to the chosen focus of research. Moreover, the intervention scheme will most likely require a collaborative effort of different people to ensure successful implementation and positive outcomes. This means that Essentials II and VII apply to the chosen research project.

Finally, the end goal of the project is to promote better health outcomes among the target population, which corresponds to Essential VIII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving Health. Adhering to recognized standards in research and practice, as well as using a client-centered and culturally appropriate approach to the intervention, will help to ensure positive results from the project and prove its effectiveness in addressing the issue of teen pregnancy.


Jeha, D., Usta, I., Ghulmiyyah, L., & Nassar, A. (2015). A review of the risks and consequences of adolescent pregnancy. Journal of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, 8(1), 1-8.

Penman-Aguilar, A., Carter, M., Snead, M. C., & Kourtis, A. P. (2013). Socioeconomic disadvantage as a social determinant of teen childbearing in the US. Public Health Reports, 128(2), 5-22.

Romero, L., Pazol, K., Warner, L., Cox, S., Kroelinger, C., Besera, G.,… Barfield, W. (2016). Reduced disparities in birth rates among teens aged 15–19 years — United States, 2006–2007 and 2013–2014. MMWR: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65(16), 409-414.

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Sedgh, G., Finer, L. B., Bankole, A., Eilers, M. A., & Singh, S. (2015). Adolescent pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates across countries: Levels and recent trends. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56(2), 223-230.

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