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Teen Pregnancy Literature Review

Teen Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Literature Review


Teen pregnancy remains a significant public health concern, with far-reaching consequences for both the young mothers and their children. This literature review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of research on teen pregnancy, exploring its prevalence, risk factors, and potential interventions.

Prevalence and Trends

Teen pregnancy rates have declined in recent decades, but they remain higher in certain populations, such as low-income and minority youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2020, the birth rate for 15-19-year-olds was 18.8 per 1,000, a decrease from 41.5 per 1,000 in 1990. However, disparities persist, with Hispanic and Black teens having higher rates than White teens.

Risk Factors

Numerous factors contribute to the risk of teen pregnancy, including:

  • Socioeconomic status: Poverty, lack of education, and unemployment are associated with increased risk.
  • Family environment: Parental absence, conflict, and low parental involvement can increase the likelihood of teen pregnancy.
  • Peer influence: Friends who engage in risky behaviors, such as early sexual activity, can influence teen decision-making.
  • Individual characteristics: Low self-esteem, impulsivity, and lack of knowledge about contraception can increase the risk of teen pregnancy.


Teen pregnancy has significant consequences for both the young mothers and their children. For mothers, it can lead to:

  • Educational attainment: Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school and college.
  • Economic hardship: Teen mothers face higher rates of poverty and unemployment.
  • Health risks: Teen mothers are more likely to experience premature birth, low birth weight, and other health complications.

For children, teen pregnancy can lead to:

  • Developmental delays: Children of teen mothers are more likely to have cognitive and behavioral problems.
  • Health issues: Children of teen mothers have higher rates of infant mortality, low birth weight, and other health conditions.
  • Social and economic challenges: Children of teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty and experience social and emotional difficulties.


Numerous interventions have been developed to prevent and reduce teen pregnancy. These include:

  • Comprehensive sex education: Education programs that provide accurate information about contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and healthy relationships can reduce teen pregnancy rates.
  • Access to contraception: Making contraception easily accessible to teens can help prevent unplanned pregnancies.
  • Parent education: Programs that support parents in providing guidance and support to their children can reduce the risk of teen pregnancy.
  • Peer-based programs: Programs that involve teens in educating their peers about healthy sexual behavior can be effective in reducing teen pregnancy rates.

Policy Implications

Addressing teen pregnancy requires a multi-faceted approach that involves both prevention and support services. Policymakers should consider the following recommendations:

  • Increase funding for comprehensive sex education: Ensure that all teens have access to accurate and age-appropriate sex education.
  • Expand access to contraception: Make contraception available to teens without parental consent or cost barriers.
  • Support parent education programs: Provide resources and support to parents to help them communicate with their children about sex and relationships.
  • Invest in peer-based programs: Fund programs that empower teens to educate their peers about healthy sexual behavior.
  • Address socioeconomic disparities: Implement policies that reduce poverty and improve access to education and employment opportunities for teens and their families.


Teen pregnancy remains a complex issue with significant consequences for both young mothers and their children. Understanding the prevalence, risk factors, and potential interventions is crucial for developing effective strategies to prevent and reduce teen pregnancy. By implementing comprehensive policies and programs that address the underlying causes of teen pregnancy, we can create a healthier future for our youth.

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