What exactly is teenage pregnancy

What are the causes and consequences of premature mothering of underage girls?

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. Pregnancy of underage women
2.1. An overview of teenage deliveries in Germany
2.2. Causes of Premature Pregnancy

3. The influence on the youth of underage mothers
3.1. The influence on the social life of underage mothers
3.2. The Influence on School and Professional Development of Underage Mothers
3.3. The impact on underage mothers' sense of responsibility

4. Conclusion

5. Bibliography

6. List of figures

1 Introduction

According to the Federal Statistical Office, more than 6000 girls under the age of 18 became pregnant in Germany in 2014 alone. About half of them had an abortion.1 The other 3,000 girls chose the child2 - and thus against their youth. In the following I would like to answer the research question “And suddenly the youth stops. What are the causes and consequences of premature mothering of underage girls? ”To get to the bottom of the picture and to clarify to what extent the early and largely unplanned motherhood has an impact on the youth of teenage girls. The topic of teen pregnancy is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the media. Among other things, new TV formats are regularly developed that accompany underage girls during their pregnancy or in the early stages of motherhood.3 How problematic this topic is is obvious. In their youth, teenagers are confronted with a variety of developmental tasks that they have to master.4 The sociologist Prof. Dr. Among other things, Katharina Liebsch names the following tasks that young people have to deal with: acquisition of school and professional qualifications, knowledge of the world and its people, establishment and maintenance of social contacts, differentiation of intersubjective and sexual experiences as well as the development of an individual profile of specific skills.5 If underage girls have a baby, they may no longer be able to cope with this maturation process without restrictions.

In the present work I would like to deal with the girls who decide against an abortion and for early motherhood. For this purpose, I will first give an overview of minors in Germany who give birth to a child and look for possible causes for early pregnancy. The next step is to examine what effects early motherhood has on key areas of youth development, such as school and professional careers, the social environment and the development of a sense of responsibility. Does the thesis that adolescents have to stop abruptly through early motherhood prove to be true, or are teenagers with children still, or perhaps even better, able to cope with crucial developmental tasks of adolescence? The aim of this work is to find answers to the research question and to provide an initial overview of possible conflicts between motherhood and adolescence.

2. Pregnancy of underage women

The entry into puberty also brings the first sexual experiences with it. The body changes, men break their voices and begin to grow beards, they experience their first ejaculation. In women, the breasts grow and the monthly menstrual period begins.

"Many girls and young women can increasingly enjoy their erotic charisma (...) in the course of adolescent appropriation processes and deal with it in a playful way (...)."6

So it happens that adolescents also experience their first sexual intercourse. A survey by the Federal Center for Health Education showed that the first sexual intercourse experiences are predominantly made at the age of 17, but sometimes even at 14 or 15 years of age (see Figure 1).7 In European countries there is also a noticeable trend that young people experience their first time at an increasingly younger age.8 This also increases the chance that young women can become pregnant earlier.

2.1. An overview of teenage deliveries in Germany

The share of child births in Germany is very low compared to other countries and especially third world countries (see Figure 2)9 and the birth rate of underage women in Germany continues to decline.

In 2002, almost 7,600 women under the age of 18 gave birth to a child, 4 years later there were only just under 6,200 women and in 2009 there were not even 5,000 young women (see Figure 3).10 The latest data from the Federal Statistical Office are available for 2014. As already shown in 1., only slightly more than 3,000 under 18-year-olds had a child during this period. In addition, the share of deliveries of minors in the total number of deliveries in Germany is negligible year after year, as the Federal Center for Health Education published in a graphic in 2011 (see Figure 4).11 And yet teenage pregnancies are a never-ending phenomenon in Germany that remains present despite innovative contraceptive options and nationwide attempts to educate people. A study by "Pro Familia" in which 1,800 underage, pregnant women were asked, found that in 92% of them the pregnancy occurred unplanned. Another result was the connection with the educational level of the pregnant adolescents. 54% of those questioned were secondary school students, only 11% attended grammar school. 12

2.2. Causes of Premature Pregnancy

Developing one's sexual identity and having one's first sexual experiences is an important part of puberty. In the recent past it has therefore also been recognized that one cannot prevent adolescents from sexual intercourse by regularly preaching abstinence.

"Advocates of comprehensive sex education (...) argue that research has clearly demonstrated that abstinence-only education does not effectively change teens’ behavior. "13

Instead, young people should be given information about sexual intercourse and, above all, about contraception at an early stage. That seems easier said than done, however, as young people mostly avoid situations in which educational discussions can take place. They find such conversations annoying and uncomfortable and are also inhibited.14 Educational education at school is perceived as boring or embarrassing and does not seem to do justice to the interests of the young people.15 So it happens that the modes of action of various contraceptives are sometimes not really understood.16 But contraception problems are not the only cause of teenage pregnancies. The causes can be divided into three levels: the level of knowledge about contraceptives and their use, the level of psychosociological conditions and the level of socio-economic aspects and education.17

Many factors play a role in the level of knowledge about contraceptives and their use. On the one hand, it is generally a hurdle for many young people to find out about contraceptive methods. The first visit to the gynecologist is associated with many insecurities and fears for the majority of young girls.18 In addition, they can be put off by various myths, such as that the pill leads to weight gain or that the IUD causes inflammation.19 Another factor is the organizational requirements that contraception entails (see Figure 5).20 Girls must take the pill every day and must not be forgotten. The gynecologist must be visited regularly in order to be able to prescribe supplies. The girls must also be aware that the effect of the pill can be weakened in various exceptional situations, for example through interactions with other drugs or through diarrhea or vomiting. In such cases, they need to be able to respond responsibly. But the condom also brings with it certain requirements and difficulties (see Figure 6). For example, buying condoms is associated with inhibitions and couples have to agree on who is responsible for buying them. Condoms need to be disciplined and, most importantly, used correctly. If it is recognized that something has gone wrong, the right response must be taken - for example with the so-called “morning-after pill”.

All of these requirements can lead to adolescents having to forego the use of contraceptives at one point or another. The Federal Center for Health Education determined the reasons for leaving out contraceptives during the first sexual intercourse. Most of the respondents blamed the fact that the sex came unexpectedly and that there was no time to worry about contraception. But also the reckless thought that nothing would happen or too much alcohol or drugs played into the decision against contraceptives (see Figure 7).21

But also at the level of the psychosociological conditions can cause premature pregnancies. Because while most teenage pregnancies are unplanned, there are also a small number of underage mothers who have consciously or unconsciously planned motherhood. Especially in adolescence, girls often have to struggle with self-doubt and emotional conflicts. They then hope for a predetermined path and more self-confidence from a baby.22

"Girls who are poorly integrated into their peer group, have little support from their families of origin, may not have experienced a lot of beautiful things in life so far, may hope for a new beginning with new impulses for a future life when they want to have children."23

That especially young girls with a low level of education become pregnant, as already mentioned in 2.1. mentioned, may be at the level of socio-economic aspects and education. Because girls who consistently perform poorly in school and therefore have no prospect of a good future at school and, above all, professional, long for a way out. In order to no longer have to deal with their own professional career, they opt for early motherhood. Mothers are socially recognized and it is precisely this recognition and appreciation of their own person that minors expect from a child.24 Motherhood automatically gives them a set role and they know what to do in the future.


1 See Federal Statistical Office (2016): Abortions according to the age of the women and the rate per 10,000 women in the age group. At: https://www.destatis.de/DE/ZahlenFakten/GesellschaftStaat/Gesundheit/Schwangerschaftsabbrueche /Tabellen/Alter.html (as of: 02/27/2016)

2 See Federal Statistical Office (2016): Natural population movement. Live births according to the age of the mother. At: https://www.destatis.de/DE/ZahlenFakten/GesellschaftStaat/Bevoelkerung/Geburten/Tabellen/Lebend geboreneAlter.html; jsessionid = 2755D149F2BEA390ED53D18B3624CF65.cae3 (as of: 02/27/2016)

3 See Clemmitt, Marcia (2012): Teen Pregnancy. Does Comprehensive Sex-Education Reduce Pregnancies? In: CQ Researcher: Childhood and Adolescence in Society. Selections From CQ Researcher. SAGE Publications. Thousand Oaks, California. P. 225

4 See Hackauf, Horst; Winzen, Gerda (2004): Health and social situation of young people in Europe. VS publishing house for social sciences. Wiesbaden. P. 17

5 Liebsch, Katharina (2012): Life planning and future orientation. Options on adult life. In: Liebsch, Katharina (ed.): Youth sociology. About adolescents, teenagers and new generations. Oldenbourg Publishing House. Munich. P. 209

6 Flaake, Karin (2012): Puberty, Biology and Culture. Experiencing physical changes. In: Liebsch, Katharina (ed.): Youth sociology. About adolescents, teenagers and new generations. Oldenbourg Publishing House. Munich.

7 See Federal Center for Health Education (2002): Jugendsexualität. Repeat survey of 14 to 17 year olds and their parents. Results of the representative survey from 2001. BzgA. Cologne. P. 48

8 See Hackauf, Horst; Winzen, Gerda (2004): Health and social situation of young people in Europe. P. 43

9 See Dorbritz, Jürgen (2014): Teenage pregnancies and births in a West-East comparison. In: Federal Institute for Population Research: Population Research Current. Issue 2 / 2014. Volume 35. Wiesbaden. At: http: //www.bib- demografie.de/SharedDocs/Publikationen/DE/Bev_Aktuell/2014_2.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=3 (as of March 1, 2016) p. 3

10 See Laue, Evelyn (2011): Pregnant minors in Germany. Statistical data on abortions and births. In: Federal Center for Health Education: Teenage Pregnancies Current. Special issue 2011. FORUM Sexual Education and Family Planning. Cologne. At: http://www.sexualaufklaerung.de/cgi-sub/fetch.php?id=697 (as of March 1, 2016) p. 9

11 See ibid. P. 7

12 See Block, Karin; Matthiesen, Silja (2007): Teenage Pregnancies in Germany Study results on risk factors and contraceptive errors in the pregnancy of underage women. FORUM Sex Education and Family Planning. Issue 2. At: https://forum.sexualaufklaerung.de/index.php?docid=1029 (as of: 25.02.2016)

13 Clemmitt, Marcia (2012): Teen Pregnancy. Does Comprehensive Sex-Education Reduce Pregnancies? P. 226 f.

14 See Artelt, Julia (2012): Teenage Mothers. Pregnancies in adolescence. Educationally relevant prevention and intervention offers. Diplomica publishing house. Hamburg. P. 42

15 See Friedrich, Monika; Remberg, Annette (2005): When teenagers become parents. Living situation of young pregnant women and mothers as well as young couples with children. A qualitative study on behalf of the BZgA. Volume 25. BZgA (Research and Practice in Sexuality Education and Family Planning. Cologne. P. 57

16 See Busch, Ulrike; Franz, Jutta (2004): Pregnancies of Minors - Background and Counseling Requirements. FORUM Sex Education and Family Planning. Issue 4. At: https://forum.sexualaufklaerung.de/index.php?docid=500 (as of February 25, 2016)

17 See Häussler-Sczepan, Monika; Michel, Marion; Wienholz, Sabine (2005): Teenage pregnancies in Saxony. Offers and need for help from a professional point of view. BZgA (research and practice in sex education and family planning, 26). Cologne. P. 34

18 See Artelt, Julia (2012). P. 43

19 See Friedrich, Monika; Remberg, Annette (2005). P. 57 f.

20 Cf. Matthiesen, Silja (2008): When contraception fails - qualitative and quantitative analyzes of contraception failures in adolescents. In: Journal for Sexual Research. Year 2008. Issue 1. At: http://www.profamilia.de/fileadmin/info/6963.pdf (Status: 02/26/2016) p. 16

21 See Federal Center for Health Education (2002): Jugendsexualität. P. 63

22 See Musick, Judith S. (1993): Young, Poor, and Pregnant. The Psychology of Teenage Motherhood. Yale University Press. New Haven. P. 68

23 Gille, Gisela (2002): When Children Have Children. Possibilities for prevention in gynecological practice. In: The gynecologist 01/2002. Springer Verlag. P. 916

24 See Artelt, Julia (2012): Teenage Mothers. P. 44 f.

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