Social Policy and Society


What a Difference a Decade Makes: Rethinking Teenage Pregnancy as a Problem

Lisa Araia1

a1 Faculty of Health and Social Care, The Open University E-mail:


The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy (TPS) has been implemented in England since 1999 and has two aims: to halve under 18s conceptions; and to reduce the risk of social exclusion among young mothers. The TPS portrays young motherhood as problematic, the cause of poor outcomes. Yet, the problematisation of teenage fertility has been contested, especially by qualitative researchers who have demonstrated that early motherhood can be experienced positively. This research is discussed here, as are findings from a small-scale study in three English locations, where teenage mothers reported good experiences of parenthood. The discrepancy between these accounts of motherhood and policy is considered.