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Motherhood for a female who is under 20 years of age can be a very maturing and positive life experience. For many people who are young, being a parent can have a transforming impact on them. In Australia, findings have shown that there is a positive outlook for mothers who are teenage as compared to mothers between the ages of 20-24. The outcomes have shown that there are more cases of spontaneous labour (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Government 2020). The young mothers also have less diabetes and less gestational diabetes. Nevertheless, teenage mothers are a group of a vulnerable population. They may also be less experienced in terms of education and employment. This can cause a major disadvantage for both the mother and the child. According to the ratio presented in the year 2017, 6,600 babies were born to mothers who themselves were teenage. The rate was 9.2 live births in 1000 females who are in between 15-19 years of age. The birth rates have been reduced between the years 2006 and 2017. It has dropped down from 17.6 to 9.2 in 1000 females having age amid 15-19 years (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Government 2020). In Australia, this reduction in childbirth in teenage was seen because of fertility control rather than the increment in abortion (Marino et al 2016, Mann, Bateson, and Black 2020, Reibel, Wyndow and Walker 2016, Nolan and Hendricks 2019, Staines and Jose 2020, Galvão et al 2018). The rates are highly different for indigenous and non-indigenous young mothers. Ratio stated that in very remote areas there were 21 births amounts, 1000 females, whereas there were only 3.2 births in major cities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenage mothers bear 46.6 births every year per 1000 females. This number has also deducted from 70 births in the year 2006 to 46 births in 2017 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Government 2020.)
In Australia, policies have been made to protect the young parents and their children. Their right and needs are the main concern of the government. The focus was given to their human rights which are associated with their young parenthood. Teenage parents and their kids are very vulnerable and their rights to care, education and health remain at risk. Because of that, they may also have to experience socioeconomic disadvantage. It was found out that family history also plays an important part in teenage births and pregnancies. Other reasons can be an unstable arrangement of the housing, experiencing sexual abuse as a child and socio-economic factors. They may also feel difficulties in getting employment, education, medical facilities, financial and social help in raising their child. They may also have to go through poverty or welfare dependency and poor wellbeing. Therefore, looking at all these problems government have given rights to young parents and their families so that they can get an education, enjoy the upmost health standards, have a proper standard of living and can have assistance and help in the duties involving their child. The government also ensures the right of pregnant girls so that they don’t face any kind of discrimination and also take up measures so that children are prevented and protected against the discrimination based on their parent’s status (Australian Human Rights Commission, Australian Government 2020).
Another policy of the government is to acquire data and collect information to perform research on young parents and their children. The government pays more attention towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenage parents who have prior experience in child protection system and care which is out of the home. Teenage births have been more in people with low socio-economic status mainly in indigenous people who live in rural or remote areas. The rate of young parenthood is 57 births among 1000 births. With that, the young mothers have to go through major disadvantages like low educational qualification which generally impact their way of raising their children. They may also be dependent on somebody throughout their life. Their partners are very much likely to be poorly educated and unemployed as compared to older mothers. They also usually have poor living conditions and sometimes are homeless too either before or when they are pregnant. Teenage mothers also have high risks of dangers for diseases like hypertension, anaemia and smoking while being pregnant. They may also go into post-natal depression. The babies which are born might be born before completing 9 months. The guidelines are presented to contribute to their pregnancy. The data collected to showcase the unhealthy relationships and behaviours of young people. It also helps in giving support to these young parents and their children (Australian Human Rights Commission, Australian Government 2020).
The third policy speaks about the views of professionals and experts on the parenthood which is experienced by young children. The experts expressed their thought on decreasing the risk profile of teenage parents and their children, decisions which are influencing to delay their second child's birth, improving the capacity of teenage parents for effective and safe parenting and to increase likelihood young parents so that they become secure economically wise. Through the discussion done by experts, it was recommended to work for the development of an environment which is person-centred and is free of judgment. These things need to be done in primary points which are contacted by teenage parents like general practitioners, hospitals, housing services, schools and so on. It was also suggested that because many young mothers face domestic violence it is necessary to support teenage mothers. The experts mentioned a plan for the reduction of violence against females and their children. Experts also talked about integrated childcare model which allows teenage parents to remain close to their child by volunteering, engaging, learning and working in some other activities while being in the same premises. Experts stated that young people should have contraceptive assess. Educational institutes also should teach them how to develop self-confidence and self-esteem. Educational systems should also talk about the pressure created on girls to have sex (Australian Human Rights Commission, Australian Government 2020).
The fourth policy is focused on the needs of teenage parents. It was found out that being a school going individual who was pregnant was troublesome for many girls. They are most likely to get judged and gossiped about. They were also bullied and find it difficult to focus on their studies. Teenage mothers also not attend their schools regularly while being pregnant. Very few of them had a part-time or full-time job. It was also found out the young parents were not given relevant information during or before birth. Therefore, the government has to protect these young parents and their children from all the stereotypes, stigma and prejudice (Australian Human Rights Commission, Australian Government 2020).
Therefore, it is important to take health promotion practices in considerations which address the issues that apply to the primary healthcare and health promotion practices. Health promotion as explained by the World Health Organization is the practice of enabling individuals to take control of their health so that improvement could be seen in their health(Sarantaki and Koutelekos 2014). The practices could involve an understanding of the living conditions of young mothers and their knowledge about sexual health and the use of contraceptives. They should be provided with relevant knowledge about proper nutrition while they are pregnant and what will be beneficial for the baby. They should also be helped with postpartum depression and low self- esteem. Teenage parents should be supported so that they do not feel lonely. With that, young parents should be given financial and emotional help so that they can support the cost of their child. Practitioners need to be more understanding and non-judgmental when attending young parents. They should not impose their social stigma onto them and should respond positively. The environment should be created so that they feel more accepted. Teachers in school should not behave negatively with young parents and should give them equal opportunity in education. Schools should also take care of barriers which prevent young parents to attend schools. Schools should consider the facilities which help in child care. They also need to change their guidelines and policies so that continuing education by teenage parents becomes easy. Teenage parents should be given the option of free childcare so that it can give the child a positive experience. Financial security should also be provided for raising a child (Australian institute of family studies, Australian Government 2020).
In addition to that, it is important for the community also to support and help young parents so that their needs are well met. For the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders case, it is important that clinicians give valuable inputs to young females for the improvement of services which are culturally safe. On the community level, it is important that increment in female’s autonomy, occupational and educational opportunity happens. They are given provided with better healthcare services which are easily accessible. Healthcare professionals should be respectful and culturally aware of the teenage parent’s culture (Griffiths et al 2019, Griffiths et al 2020).
Therefore, it is important to take young parents and teenage births into consideration as they are the population, who are very much vulnerable to various disadvantages like socio-economic barriers, discrimination, bullying and so on. They might also have to face difficulties in gaining education and employment. Indigenous community young parent needs more attention as they are at the receiving end of most of the discrimination. Hence, policies which are made for their protection is appropriate but more changes have to be made on the community and society level to make teenage births and young parents more accepted.
Australian Human Rights Commission, Australian Government. 2020. Summary-Children’s rights report 2017. Retrieved from https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/publications/summary-childrens-rights-report-2017[Accessed on 4 September’2020]
Australian Institute of family studies, Australian Government. 2020. Supporting young parents. Retrieved from https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/supporting-young-parents [Accessed on 4 September’2020]
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Government. 2020. Australia's Children. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/australias-children/contents/health/teenage-mothers [Accessed on 4 September’2020]
Galvão, R.B.D.F., Figueira, C.O., Borovac-Pinheiro, A., Paulino, D.S.D.M., Faria-Schützer, D.B. and Surita, F.G., 2018. Hazards of repeat pregnancy during adolescence: A case-control study. Revista Brasileira de Ginecologia e Obstetrícia, vol.40, issue.8, pp.437-443.
Griffiths, E., Atkinson, D., Friello, D. and Marley, J.V., 2019. Pregnancy intentions in a group of remote-dwelling Australian Aboriginal women: A qualitative exploration of formation, expression and implications for clinical practice. BMC Public Health, vol.19, issue.1, pp.568
Griffiths, E., Marley, J.V. and Atkinson, D., 2020. Preconception Care in a Remote Aboriginal Community Context: What, When and by Whom?. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol.17, issue.10,pp.3702.
Mann, L., Bateson, D. and Black, K.I. 2020.Teenage pregnancy. Australian Journal of General Practice, vol.49, issue.6,p.p.310.
Marino, J.L., Lewis, L.N., Bateson, D., Hickey, M. and Skinner, S. R. 2016.Teenage mothers.Australian Family Physician, vol.45, issue.10, pp. 712–717
Nolan, S. and Hendricks, J. 2019. Care for pregnant and parenting adolescents. Empowering Decision-Making in Midwifery: A Global Perspective.
Reibel, T., Wyndow, P. and Walker, R. 2016. From consultation to application: Practical solutions for improving maternal and neonatal outcomes for adolescent Aboriginal mothers at a local level. Healthcare, Vol. 4, issue. 4, pp. 90.
Sarantaki, Α. and Koutelekos, Ι. 2014.Teenage Pregnancy.Teenage Pregnancy.Health Science Journal.
Staines, Z. and Jose, F.2020. Overcoming social disadvantage by investing in Indigenous teenage mothers, Solutions Journal, Vol.9, issue. 2.
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