Teenage Pregnancy: A Crisis That Must Be Addressed Right Away
Teenage pregnancy is a pregnancy that happens in women under the age of 20. Being pregnant at a young age is one of the most challenging situations, and it also has significant health concerns for both the teen mother and the unborn child. Most teen pregnancies are unplanned or accidental by design.
Preventing teenage pregnancy has actually evolved into a multidisciplinary task that involves health professionals, sex educators, parents, teachers, and even the government in order to address this critical issue.
Global Statistics On Teenage Pregnancy
- Teen pregnancy rates in the United States are the highest in the Western world.
- In the US, more than 700,000 teen pregnancies occur each year, or over 3 in 10 teen girls will become mothers at least once before turning 20.
- Less than 2% of young mothers in the US receive a college degree by the time they are 30 years old, and more than 50% of them never complete high school. Thus, the pregnancy might have an impact on the moms’ schooling.
- Each year, 2.5 million girls under the age of 16 and nearly 16 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 give birth in developing countries (UNFPA, 2015)
- Pregnancy and delivery complications are the world’s greatest cause of death for girls between the ages of 15 and 19. (World Health Organization, 2015)
- 3.9 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 have unsafe abortions each year (Guttmacher institute, 2016)
- The risks of eclampsia, puerperal endometritis, and systemic infections are higher in adolescent moms (10–19 years old) than in women (20–24 years old).
Major Causes of Teenage Pregnancy
- Inadequate knowledge of sexual and reproductive health
- Pressure to have sex from an older boy
- Dysfunctional family: Insufficient communication and supervision by parents
- Teen sex is frequently portrayed in the media as being common and acceptable.
- Teenagers often don’t receive sound advice on sex, relationships, and values from dependable sources like their parents. They could be ashamed and reluctant to ask their parents questions.
- The idea that having sex will make girls feel emotionally close to one another.
- A belief among boys that having sex will elevate their prestige among their classmates.
- Social, cultural, and familial pressures to get married
- Sexual assault
- Education gap or school dropout
- Substance abuse
World Health Organization (WHO) also claims that some girls and women become pregnant as a result of their inability to object to unwanted intercourse or resist coercive or forced sex. Others do it because they are unable to access contraceptives, even emergency contraception, or because they do not know how to prevent pregnancy. Others nevertheless become pregnant because they want to be pregnant or because prominent individuals in their lives want them to.
Teenage pregnancy is linked to a number of detrimental effects on the child and the parent. Children of adolescent moms have a higher probability of engaging in risky activities like drug usage and becoming pregnant at a young age themselves.
Teenagers who choose to have children face considerable challenges in completing their education, making ends meet for themselves and their offspring, and balancing the emotional and cognitive changes of adolescence with the very grownup realities of motherhood.
How To Prevent Teenage Pregnancy
Counselors, government representatives, and educators all concur that the best approach to make sure these problems don’t occur is to stop teen pregnancies before they start. Abstinence-only and abstinence-plus are the two main categories of pregnancy prevention programmes, along with other measures mentioned below.
1. Abstinence-only programmes
The main message of abstinence-only programmes is that teenagers should put off having sexual relations until marriage.
2. Abstinence-plus programmes
Abstinence-plus programmes provide complete sexual education to teenagers, encouraging them to put off having sex until they are ready while simultaneously providing information on contraceptives.
- Contraception: During a sexual encounter, using a contraceptive method or emergency contraceptive pills can help avoid teenage pregnancy and early motherhood.
3. Parental Guidance
To overcome the obstacles of teenage pregnancy, child-parent engagement that is active and supportive regarding sex education or problems may prove helpful.
4. School Involvement: Sex education and its repercussions
- Messages aimed towards teen boys, not just girls.
- Increasing the number of condoms available to teenagers
- Encourage older youth to mentor younger teens about teenage pregnancy and its effects.
- In addition to counselling, schools should offer adolescent-friendly health services.
5. Setting up community initiatives on teen pregnancy and its negative repercussions.