Underage pregnancy has been identified as a major source of social, ethical and healthcare concern in the UK. The problem has been described as an epidemic by many, and its onset has been invariably attributed to the sexual revolution of the sixties. …
Underage pregnancy has been identified as a major source of social, ethical and healthcare concern in the UK. The problem has been described as an epidemic by many, and its onset has been invariably attributed to the sexual revolution of the sixties. Nursing can play a vital role in proper care and follow up of healthcare maintenance in respect of underage mothers and their babies. The professional registered nurses must show impartiality towards any ethnic community in imparting proper healthcare service to all the patients.An increased freedom extant from the proliferation of two-income families, the attendant increase in parental divorce/separation often leading to single parent families, the glorification in the mass media of unchecked sexuality, peer pressure, hormonally induced rebelliousness and, paradoxically, the availability of safe, easy birth control and abortion, have all been described at one time or another as the root cause of this problem (Rodriquez and Moore, 2005, 686-87). Almost half a million babies are born to underage mothers every year in the UK (Vinovski, 2001, 205-25; Henshaw, 2003, 122-26). While the actual birth rate for this age group has declined in the last four years, the proportion of births to teenagers in relation to total births shows no sign of decrease (Vinovski, 2001, 205-25). In Western Europe, Britain has the highest rate of underage pregnancy, with over 20 per 1000 teenagers giving birth annually, once again only representing approximately 60 per cent of all underage conceptions. All these mothers are not properly cared for by healthcare institutions. In this regard, only professional healthcare nurses can afford a proper guideline and responsible care with thorough confidentiality. Factors leading to underage pregnancy have been whatsoever; however, the ensuing results of underage pregnancy are even more dramatic. The picture in England is, if anything, worse - about 90 per cent of all underage mothers receive income support (Davies et al., 2003, 131-40).
The choice to go on social assistance often translates into a cycle of poverty, isolation and depression, which may be merely a continuation of the teenager's previous history, or the start of a new cycle of need (Furstenburg, 2002, 127-38). The socio-economic implications for the mother and, ultimately, her offspring are not the sole problem, however. Babies born to underage mothers are also at an increased risk of a large number of immediate and long term problems. Death rates, low birth-weights, and rates for other psycho-physiological dysfunction are higher in children of underage mothers than in children of other older mothers (Grazi et al., 2001, 89-96; Kitzes, 2000, 28-44).
If viewed from sociological and social welfare perspective, some teenagers indubitably do find themselves victims of less than-conscientious civil servants, and some will want to prove to themselves and others that they have the capacity to make it on their own. However, as we have pointed out earlier, more than 70 per cent in the US and more than 90 per cent in the UK ultimately apply for and receive social assistance. And it is the impact of the need for and acceptance of this assistance which should be of as much concern to society as the cost of the assistance itself. As regard to this if a professional healthcare nurse look after the underage mother, it becomes a great contribution towards social service.
Becoming dependant on others for one's own and one's baby's existence is disempowering, especially since it comes at an age when personal autonomy is in its formative stage. Dependency, coming at this age, entrenches commonly held stigmatising beliefs in the teenagers themselves, and leads the teenagers to operationalise such beliefs in a way that results in social exclusion. Despite these facts, it should be doubtful ...
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