Why Teenage Pregnancy is a problem?

Teenage  or adolescent pregnancy is a global issue that affects high-, middle-, and low-income countries alike. Adolescent pregnancies are more common in marginalised communities around the world, owing to poverty, a lack of education, and a lack of employment prospects. Girls in many societies are pressured to marry and have children at a young age. In least developed nations, at least 39% of girls marry before they reach the age of 18, and 13% before they reach the age of 15. Many girls opt to become pregnant since their educational and job opportunities are limited. Motherhood is frequently revered in such communities, and marriage or union, as well as childbirth, may be the finest of the few alternatives available.

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Restrictive regulations and laws make it difficult for adolescents to get contraception. In developing countries, at least 10 million unplanned pregnancies occur each year among young girls aged 15 to 19. Sexual assault is another common cause of unplanned pregnancy, with more than a third of females in certain countries stating that their first sexual experience was with forced.

Statistics showing the extent of the problem

According to the World Health Organization, every year, an estimated 21 million adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant in developing countries, with around 12 million giving birth. In developing nations, at least 777,000 teenage girls under the age of 15 give birth. Due to the substantial – and in certain areas of the globe, rising – population of young women in the 15–19 age range, the projected worldwide teenage fertility rate has dropped, but the actual number of child births to adolescents has not. Eastern Asia (95,153) and Western Africa have the highest number of births (70,423).

Pregnancy and delivery complications are the top cause of mortality for 15–19-year-old females worldwide. 3.9 million of the 5.6 million abortions performed annually on teenage females aged 15–19 years are unsafe, contributing to maternal death, morbidity, and long-term health issues. Adolescent mothers (ages 10–19 years) are more likely than women in their 20s and 30s to get eclampsia, puerperal endometritis, and systemic infections, and their children are more likely to have low birth weight, premature delivery, and serious neonatal disorders.

Teenage pregnancy is a serious problem

Pregnancies among teenagers and adolescent motherhood are a topic of concern across the world. Pregnancies among teenagers are becoming a global occurrence. Teenage pregnancies pose additional health hazards to both the mother and the baby. Teens usually do not receive prenatal care early enough, which might lead to complications later on. They are at a higher risk for high blood pressure caused by pregnancy and its repercussions. Premature delivery and low birth weight are two risks for the baby.

Health problems

Adolescent mothers and their newborns suffer serious health repercussions as a result of early pregnancies. Pregnancy and childbirth problems are the greatest cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19, with low- and middle-income countries responsible for 99% of global maternal fatalities among women aged 15 to 49. Eclampsia, puerperal endometritis, and systemic infections are more common in adolescent mothers aged 10–19 years than in women aged 20–24 years. In addition, approximately 3.9 million unsafe abortions among females aged 15–19 years take place each year, contributing to maternal death, morbidity, and long-term health issues.

Abortion and preterm birth can both be increased by infections. It's also tough to adjust to the new requirements that come with pregnancy while the teenage body is so young and physical growth is incomplete. Because the uterus has not reached complete "maturity," it is more susceptible to infections. Early pregnancy comes with a slew of dangers. Every day, at least 1,600 mothers die from problems during pregnancy or delivery throughout the world. The developing world accounts for at least 99 percent of maternal mortality. In underdeveloped nations, over half of all deliveries are made without the assistance of a trained expert.

Early childbearing can put both newborns and young mothers at risk. Low birth weight, premature delivery, and serious neonatal problems are more likely in babies born to females under the age of 20. Rapid recurrent pregnancy is a cause of concern for young mothers in specific circumstances, as it poses additional health risks to both the mother and the child. Personality maturity and physical and mental growth are not yet complete. Abortion, preterm delivery, waning growth, and gesture development are at increased risks.

Teenage pregnancy is a social problem

Because the highest proportions of teenage pregnancies occur in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged subpopulations or in developing countries, adverse health consequences and poor pregnancy outcomes among teenage mothers appear to be associated with adverse life circumstances rather than low gynaecological or chronological age of the mothers.

Stigma, rejection, or violence by partners, parents, and peers may be the social consequences for unmarried pregnant teenagers. Girls under the age of 18 who become pregnant are more likely to face violence in their marriage or partnership. Although initiatives are ongoing in certain places to enable adolescent females to return to school following childbirth, this may compromise girls' future education and job opportunities. Teenage pregnancies and motherhood are no longer viewed as a medical danger in developed countries, but rather as a social problem, because teenage motherhood has several negative social implications for both mother and child. Teenage motherhood is linked to dropping out of school, having a low educational level, having a low income, impoverished, being a single parent, and/or being a member of an ethnic minority group.

In some countries, an estimated 5% to 33% of females aged 15 to 24 years who drop out of school do so due to early pregnancy or marriage. As a result of their poorer educational achievement, they may have fewer skills and career possibilities, perpetuating poverty cycles: Girls' future earnings are estimated to be reduced by 9% if they undergo child marriage.

Strategies to decrease teenage pregnancy rates

Recent research has shown that a well-functioning social welfare system, which includes adequate psychological support and prenatal care, dramatically improves the obstetric result in teenage mothers. In this situation, the result of a teenage pregnancy may be equivalent to, if not better than, that of older mothers. 

In 2011, the World Health Organization issued guidelines to help women avoid early pregnancies and have better reproductive outcomes:

  • lowering marriage before the age of 18; 
  • encouraging the use of contraception by teenagers at risk of unplanned pregnancy; 
  • preventing coercive sex among teenagers; 
  • promoting understanding and support for decreasing pregnancy before the age of 20;
  • Preventing unsafe adolescent abortions.

Unfortunately, many nations lack sex education, and as a result, young girls are unaware of the physiological foundation of reproduction and contraception. Furthermore, many females may be too scared or embarrassed to obtain contraception. Contraceptives, on the other hand, are frequently extremely expensive or not commonly or legally available.

In developing countries, around 16 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 and 2.5 million girls under the age of 16 give birth each year. These are the numbers that cause concern, and teens do not consider the repercussions of their sexual interactions. The health effects can be disastrous. As a result, significant investment in reproductive health prevention is required. Prevention should include not just the prevention of sexually transmitted illnesses and pregnancy in youth, but also the adoption of attitudes regarding healthy sexual conduct. This generally refers to delaying the start of a young person's sexual life since entering into sexual relationships too soon might be harmful to one's health.



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