Teen pregnancy in Los Angeles (LA) is on the rampant increase and measures must be taken to prevent this (LA Health, 2010, p 4). Having the highest rates in the United States, the report shows that four girls of 14-years old out of four state that the first sexual intercourse was unwanted or even involuntary leading to undesired pregnancies (Teen Pregnancy Statistics and Teen Pregnancy Facts, 2000-2004). To prevent these cases of unwanted pregnancies, preventive measures must be put in place. The following essay intends to look at the health perspective that has been taken towards prevention of teenage pregnancies and promotion of health together with disease prevention.
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L A covers a wide geographical area and is the second largest city in the United States (LA Health, 2010, p 4). In addition, it has a total population size of about 3.8 million inhabitants and, as result of this high population size, it becomes the biggest city in the state of California (LA Health, 2010, p. 4). LA also forms a regional part in the United States that is highly populated and forms among the highest multicultural cities in the US. Having this statistics in mind and considering the fact that LA is the second largest city in the United States, it had the highest reported cases of teen pregnancies that result to a good number of single young mothers about 20% for every teenager who has engaged in sexual intercourse (Sutter Medical Center, 2008). This high number of teen pregnancies has financial drawbacks to the economy with an average cost of about $29million in each single year. Apart from economical issues that are brought about by teen pregnancies, there are a couple of social issues that are related to the issue of teen pregnancies (Checkland and Wong, 1999). These issues are poverty coupled with the level of income and its distribution. The well being of a child the health issues that are related to teen pregnancy and child welfare. Teen pregnancy does not only relate to health issues but also a list of social issues that could be reduced greatly if the parents bearing infants were more prepared. Such social issues include child abuse due to neglect from parents caused by lack of funds, which may result to poor health care for the infants.
There are disparities that exist in the ethnicity and poverty among women in Los Angeles district (Scott and Brown, 1993, p. 61). These disparities present as observable health inequities that are prevalent among women in this county and are brought about by the presence of racial and ethnic differences that exist among the women. The disparity in poverty levels provides another basis for the inequity in health care. These disparities create a bottleneck for the proper administration of health services to the pregnant teens, which poses danger to teens’ health and to the infants that they bear. The pregnant teens in Los Angeles County create a situation hindering their access to good prenatal services. Ethnic disparities contribute to the rise of social inequality. In particular, the situation of black women at the labor market suggests divergent courses and rates (Waldinger and Bozorgmehr, 1999, p 398). Hispanic women have also experienced the problems of unemployment and, therefore, they should work hard to earn enough to earn for living (Waldinger and Bozorgmehr, 1999, p. 208). This is a contributing factor leading to increase of poor health. A combination of social, economic and the existing conditions in LA play a major role in the health disparities encountered by young pregnant women and this hinders them from receiving health services during pregnancy (Adolescent Family Life Program, n. d.)
The target population that has difficulties with health services during pregnancy is girls under the age of 14 because they are the ones who have to carry the pregnancy to term (Teen Pregnancy Statistics and Teen Pregnancy Facts, 2000-2004). Women are faced with major difficulties when it comes to access to health services in the Los Angeles County. Data collected from a particular report shows that those women residing in households that are have a federal poverty level (FPL) of less than 100% have a higher likelihood to report poor health a status when a comparison is made between them and women who live in house that have an FPL of greater than 300% (Sutter Medical Center, 2008,). Factors such as this provide a great hindrance to a pregnant teenager in LA who cannot afford medical services especially if this teenager is trying to hide the pregnancy from their parents. Teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancies have health and societal challenges for pregnant teens and to the society as a whole (Checkland and Wong, 1999). Pregnant teens who are confronted to such challenges of bringing forth a child prefer having abortions to end their misery rather than carrying the pregnancy. Babies born out of these pregnancies are likely to have low birth weights, premature birth in addition to the possibility that these single mothers might neglect the responsibilities of breast-feeding the baby. This presents risks to both the teen and the child. Due to the health risks that teen mothers and children conceived out of irresponsible teen sex behaviors face, the risks to the mother is such as post partum depression and the child also has the risk of being underweight and exposure to health risks such as a teenager who is using drugs during pregnancy. Other risks can result to worse consequences such as sexually transmitted diseases (Newman and Newman, 2008, p. 347).Particular attention deserves AIDS and HIV, as the number of such case among adolescents have increased by nearly 5 % from 1986 to 2001 (Newman and Newman, 2008, p 347). Therefore, there must be preventive measures that should be taken to ensure that irresponsible teens’ sexual behaviors do not result in diseases and unwanted pregnancies that convert their lives to sudden parenthood. Therefore, there must be preventive measures that should be arrived at to ensure that the teens do not get pregnant or get sexually transmitted infections. The possibilities of post partum depression are also great in such situation sand the teen mothers should undergo a period of counseling to prevent the occurrence of such drastic incidences. Health promotions should be insisted upon for the case of pregnant single young mother so that they can receive the best prenatal care and disease prevention should be a factor that has also has to be put into consideration.
Because of these health issues, various community resources and partners have come up with programs and are currently investigating the issues that face these pregnant teens and single mothers. Consequently, they have come up with programs that are aimed at helping to reduce the rate of teen pregnancies and the possible occurrence of disease sexually transmitted infections. Such program is the Sutter Women’s Services that aims at taking care of the children who are engaged in early teen sexual activities and find themselves as soon-to-be parents. However, similar programs should be involved to prevent the sexual initiation among the teens and ban the display of sexuality on television (Carroll, 2009, p. 515). The program aims at giving guidance to the teen parents so that they can have a good beginning for their new roles as parents and continue at this path for the assurance of a brighter future. Sutter Medical Center in California has a women’s Service Program with the responsibility of reaching out to the Sacramento County teens who are already pregnant or are already parenting by via two management programs that include adolescent Family Life Program and the Cal Learn Program.
Another program that is trying to help the youths in LA that have pregnancy cases is the Adolescent Family Life Program that deals with the provision of grants to both public and nonprofit organizations to: “1) develop and evaluate programs to encourage adolescents to postpone sexual activity; 2) develop and evaluate programs with pregnant and parenting teens to mitigate the effects of too-early-childbearing; and 3) support related research” Adolescent Family Life Program (n. d.). The two programs mainly deal with prevention and care demonstrations instead of offering health grants to these youths to prevent the exposure that they have to possible illnesses due to sexually transmitted diseases and the risk of pregnant mothers giving birth to premature babies who are underweight.
The nursing profession can include in their programs possible free services that are funded by the government for those teenagers who have pregnancy cases that were unplanned so that the cases of children borne with low body weights and those born prematurely can reduce. This can be done by provision of prenatal services at lower prices to genuine cases of unplanned for pregnancies. In order to achieve this, the nurses should cooperate in public that is otherwise known as community based organizations helping them to reach out to the great number of teenagers in LA who undergo pregnancies. These are just a list of organizations that offer services to pregnant teen mothers with the aim of creating awareness and helping the teen mothers cope with their situations. The main objective for the use of these organizations and activities would be to reduce the case of negligence that pregnant teenagers have when dealing with the children whom they give birth to in order to prevent incidences of low birth weight and premature children being born. The programs can use the educated women in LA who have a greater connection with these pregnant teens so that they can educate them and create awareness to the importance of having prenatal and antenatal care. This invitation could be among the best, as it will ensure that the awareness programs are more effective.
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The main need of women in the Los Angeles community is the provision of health services that are offered to them irrespective of the financial position and social status. The community needs to have a system where the financial considerations of each social class is considered so that all women irrespective of their social class can have access to prenatal services to reduce the consequences that result from lack of prenatal services. This should be used by the national health for the provision of health services that will contribute to a healthier population.
Adolescent Family Life Program. (n. d.). Program Assessment. 2010. Web.
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Checkland D., and Wong, J. (1999). Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues. Canada: University of Toronto Press.
Healthy women, healthy children preconception health in LA County (2010) LA Health. Web.
Newman, B. M., and Newman P. R. (2008). Development through life: a psychological approach. US: Cengage Learning.
Scott, J., and Brown, E. R. (1993). South-Central Los Angeles: anatomy of an urban crisis. US: University of Texas.
Sutter Medical Center. (2008). The Adolescent Family Life Program & Cal Learn Program. Web.
Teen Pregnancy Statistics and Teen Pregnancy Facts. (2000-2004). Family First Aid. Help for Troubles. Web.
Waldinger, R. D. and Bozorgmehr, M. (1996). Ethnic Lost Angeles. US: Russell Sage Foundation.