Expository Essay about Teenage Pregnancy

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This report is a detailed community profile of the geographical location of County Durham in the North East region of England. A community profile can be described as a ‘comprehensive description of the needs of a population … that is defined as a community, and the resources that exist within that community, carried out with the active involvement of the community’ (Hawtin, Hughes, and Percy-Smith, 1994: 5).

County Durham is a large and diverse area. It is home to over half a million people, making it, in terms of population size, the largest local authority in the North East and the sixth largest in England. It covers an area of 2,226 km squared (859 square miles) with 236,710 residential properties. (Durham.gov.uk, 2011)

Since 1981 the population of County Durham has remained relatively stable at around the 510,000 level and now has almost the same total population as it did 30 years ago (1981: 512,000; 2013: 515,900). Growth trends in this period have tended to be very similar to the North East average, in contrast to growth nationally where England has grown by 15.1 % over the same period. (County Durham Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, 2016)

This increase in the county’s population may continue, as population projections indicate that by 2021 the county’s population will have increased by 4.6% to 539,900 people, rising to 560,700 people by 2030, which is an 8.7% increase from 2013. (Population Growth, County Durham Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, 2016)

County Durham is now the 75th most deprived area out of 326 single and lower-tier local authorities in England. This is 13 places lower (improved) than in the previous IMD released in 2010 when the county was ranked as the 62nd most deprived LA in England (countydurhampartnership.co.uk, 2017).

An estimated 305 children aged between 0 and 4, in families were in poverty in the Durham City MC in 2014 representing 16.4% of young children in families claiming child benefits in the area. This is higher than the 14.3% recorded in 2009 in the area (countydurhampartnership.co.uk, 2017). It is also higher than the national average, England = 20.9% with North East of England being 27.7%.

Teenage pregnancy rates are known to be higher in the more deprived areas. Half of all under-18 conceptions occur in the most deprived 20% of wards (Sunderlandecho.com, 2018). Teenage mothers are less likely to finish their education and achieve good GCSE rates. Additionally, less likely to find a good job, and more likely to end up bringing up their children solo and in poverty. Teenage parents tend to have poor ante-natal health, lower birth-weight babies, and higher mortality rates among their infants. Their health and their children’s health are worse than average. (Webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk, 2007)

High teenage pregnancy rates are found in areas with low GCSE examination success (Geographic Variations in Conceptions under 18, Winter 2000). In 2014/15 only 47.9% of KS4 pupils living in the County Durham area of Bishop Auckland and Shildon AAP achieved 5 or more grade A-C GCSEs (including English and Maths). This is lower than the 55.3% recorded across the whole of County Durham and lower than the 51.5% recorded in 2013/14 in the area. It is also lower than the national average which is recorded at 57.1% of pupils (countydurhampartnership.co.uk, 2017).

The average price of housing in County Durham is £146,284 (Zoopla.co.uk, 2019). The average price for a house nationally in the UK is £227,912 (GOV.UK, 2018). This shows that housing costs in County Durham are much lower than the national average. Thus, correlating to lower household incomes. Because of the lack of job opportunities and high career aspirations in the area which in turn links with poor GCSE exam results and a deficit of educational success. Often due to no self-motivation or motivation from potential career prospects in the individuals surrounding locality.

When people struggle to find a job, they often look to seek benefits in order to live and afford housing, food clothing, etc. In County Durham, 5,100 people claim job seekers allowance (Nomisweb.co.uk, 2019). There are three types of job seekers allowance, ‘new style’ JSA, contribution-based JSA, and income-based JSA. Which types you can get depends on your circumstances and how many children you have. In addition to this, 4,230 lone parents in County Durham claim a ‘single parent’ benefit (Nomisweb.co.uk, 2019). In terms of main out-of-work benefits, there is a current total of 37,510 claimants in County Durham (Nomisweb.co.uk, 2019).

The average life expectancy across County Durham differs between genders. Male life expectancy currently stands at 77.9 years and female expectancy stands at 81.5 years. This is slightly lower than the national average which is 79.1 years for men and 82.8 years for women. (www.ons.go.uk/, 2018)

When studying the Regional Ethnic Diversity figures published by Public Health England, it was clear to see that the North East is the highest percentage region with a population of the White British group. With regards to racial diversity in County Durham, it is a very white British-dominated county, with a current percentage of 94.81% of people being white British. With a very low percentage of 0.49% of people being part of the black population. The North East, as a whole, stands at a slightly lower percentage of 92.48% white British with 0.76% black. (Statistics, 2018)

In terms of health determinants in County Durham, the smoking prevalence remains above the national average. Smoking remains one of the greatest contributors to health inequalities and premature death and disease across England, with prevalence rates for adults in County Durham at 19.0%, compared to an average of 16.9% for England (Countydurhampartnership.co.uk, 2017).

Teenage pregnancy is defined as a teenage girl, usually between the ages of 13-19, becoming pregnant. The term in everyday speech usually refers to girls who have not reached legal adulthood, which varies across the world, who become pregnant (Unicef.org, 2008).

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Teenage pregnancy is an important public health issue: it is common, largely preventable, and associated with negative sequelae, both for the teenagers who become pregnant and for their children (Langille, 2000).

According to Durham County Council’s latest figures, between October 2015 and September 2016 the ‘under 18 conception rate’ was 22.4 per 1000 people. This was higher than the national rate of 19.3 per 1000. North East of England as a whole is 25.2 per 1000.

Up until 2009, there were approximately 40,000 conceptions a year for teenagers under 18 in England. With teenage pregnancies in England and Wales now at the lowest level since records began, the UK nevertheless retains one of the highest rates of teenage births in Western Europe. The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy suggested three possible reasons for this, low expectations, a lack of accurate knowledge about contraception, and mixed messages from the adult world. (NHS Digital, Compendium – LBOI section 11: Maternal, infant and child health).

The North East has the highest teen pregnancy rate in England despite 15-17 conceptions dropping to a record low in the region (Meechan, 2018).

Carrying a baby and becoming a mom not only creates physical changes. Women also go through mental changes. Young moms face added stress from:

    • sleepless nights
    • arranging child care
    • making doctor’s appointments
    • attempting to finish high school

While not all teenage mothers are affected greatly by mental and physical changes, many are.

In relation to the health determinant issue of smoking, The Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health expresses that nearly six out of ten pregnant teenagers smoke. Only around a third of them managed to quit, compared with around two-thirds of older mothers (Doward, 2012). This is extremely alarming as the effects smoking has on pregnancy are dangerous and life-threatening for the baby. The risks of smoking during pregnancy are serious, from premature delivery to increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or sudden infant death. There can also be long-term health risks for your baby. Smoking during pregnancy can cause your baby to have more colds, lung problems, learning disabilities, and physical growth problems (Nhs. uk, n.d.).

Teenagers in the North East are almost 60% more likely to smoke regularly, with nearly one in five believing cigarettes help slim, new figures reveal (Brown, 2015).

According to the National Archives from GOV UK, teenage pregnancy birth weights are lower than those of women of an older age. This could be linked to statistics from the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, which indicate that nearly six out of ten pregnant teenagers smoke. Smoking during pregnancy can cause babies to have a low birth weight or to be born prematurely.

If a mother continues to smoke after the baby is born, the baby may get more colds, coughs, and middle-ear infections. Babies have very small lungs, and smoke from cigarettes makes it harder for them to breathe. This can cause the baby to get bronchitis and pneumonia (Betterhealth.vic.gov.au, 2017).

Maura McKeon, a Labour Party Councillor for Coxhoe, County Durham, said “The area that I’m in has quite limited access to GPs for some, so they struggle to access a GP for any information on preventative sexual health matters. Also, if they want to terminate a pregnancy, they need two GPs to sign it off.” (Sunderlandecho.com, 2018).

Ms Halil, chief executive of the sexual health charity FPA, warns teenage pregnancy rates could rise if austerity-era funding cuts are not reversed. She said: 'Teenage pregnancy rates in the North East have fallen by 56% since 1998. This dramatic fall is thanks to a great deal of hard work from health and education professionals, along with the investment in services that we saw during the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy that ended in 2010.” https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/health/north-east-still-highest-teen-14465370

'That’s why it’s so concerning that local authorities in the North East are facing such massive cuts to their public health budget, which can then lead to sexual health services closing, or having their staff and funding reduced. These cuts could mean that we see teenage pregnancy rates start to rise again in the coming years. https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/health/north-east-still-highest-teen-14465370

There are 13 contraceptive and sexual health (CASH) clinics within the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. https://www.cddft.nhs.uk/our-services/division-of-women,-children-and-sexual-health/sexual-health-services.aspx They offer bookable appointments from the hours of 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday.  

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Expository Essay about Teenage Pregnancy. (2024, January 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/expository-essay-about-teenage-pregnancy/
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