Although the rate of teenage pregnancy has decreased substantially in the last few years, there are still plenty of teenagers becoming mothers yearly. The U.S. still has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates of all the industrialized countries. But, welfare for single mothers has significantly decreased over the years; a teenage single mother still has to find the resources she needs to overcome multiple challenges that now lie in her path.
Medical care is of the biggest importance in the life of a teenage single mother. Most teenagers have poor nutritional habits and often drink alcohol and smoke. These habits can adversely affect the health of her baby making the care for it much more challenging in the years to come. In addition, a teenage mother may not be biologically mature enough because of her pelvis size to birth a child naturally and may need a Cesarean. Getting the teenage single mother good prenatal care is vitally important, not only for her health but also for the health of her baby.
Once the child is born, the young single mother must look towards establishing proper support systems to be able to go back and complete her high school education. This may mean that she starts working to earn money to pay for childcare while she is also completing her high school education. Very rarely is a teenage mother lucky enough to have her own built-in familial support system that is willing to look after her children while she goes to school.
Sometimes ethnic and familial considerations will consider an unwed single mother a disgrace to the family. In which case, she may be abandoned or even at risk for harm in her own home. Different cultures view unwed pregnancies differently. If she is without the family support system a teenage single mother may be facing homelessness as well as pregnancy.
The ability of a teenage single mother to locate resources for herself and her child is paramount to their survival. Federal assistance is available but many programs now advocate workfare instead of welfare, a difficult proposition for a teenage single mother with no job skills or education. Many faith-based programs are stepping in to try to bridge the gap between the enormous needs of a teenage mother and community resources available. Unfortunately, there are far too many young single mothers for the services to be adequate for all single mothers.
The Federal government recognizes that teenage pregnancy is an issue that affects the well being of this country, however, they have focused on preventing teenage pregnancies, which has been highly successful. The number of teenage single mothers has decreased significantly, but statistics still show that 1 in 3 teenagers becomes pregnant before the age of 20. There is still much that can be done for these teenagers as they seek to overcome multiple challenges that they face before them in life.