From 2010 to 2011, the birth rate for women ages 15 to 19 years fell 8 percent to the lowest rate -- 31.3 per 1,000 women -- ever recorded for that age bracket in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drop in teen births indicates that the focus on pregnancy prevention has had a significant effect on the decisions of many young people to have babies. The disadvantages of teens having children generally outweigh any advantages.
In a 2006, the journal "Pediatrics" published data on the attitudes of teenage pregnant mothers toward being a parent. One of the main themes the authors found was that the teenagers felt unready to be parents. One participant said she would know more about what to expect if she were older. The uncertainty of what to expect can be overwhelming to new parents.
Jobs were another area of concern for many mothers in the study. Many of them were still in high school, and some would not be able to finish their high school education or continue on to college in the near future. The lack of education and job experience would make it difficult for them to help support their babies. Some who were single felt that the fathers of their babies wouldn't be around to help support them, making their circumstances even more uncertain.
Another common theme among mothers who participated in the study was that having a baby would mean that they could not continue planning and living their lives as they had originally planned. Friends, going out, education and jobs were all areas of their lives that would have to change. Physical changes in routine and becoming responsible for another person were also areas of concern.
It's hard for young parents to go out with friends as they did before they were parents. The teen mothers participating in this study were also worried about what other people would think of them. Even if a couple marries at 20 or 21 years of age and has children soon after, their friends might not be as understanding as the couple would like. The practicalities of life with a baby mean that friends might not understand the choice to have children so young and move on with their lives without the new parents.
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