Why is teenage pregnancy a social problem?

Regardless of the fact that we recognize teenage pregnancies are wrong, according to Doctors, India has its own reasons to avoid teenage pregnancy. In this blog, we’ll look at the numerous social reasons teen pregnancy is a social problem. 

Before we find out the What’s and Why’s, let us find out the ground scenario of Teenage Pregnancies in India. 

Why is teenage pregnancy a social problem ichhori.com

In 2017, there were an estimated 11.8 million teenage pregnancies in India. According to the National Family Health Survey 4 (NFHS 4), 7.9% of females between the ages of 15 and 19 were already mums or expecting at the time of data collection. 

Tripura (18.8%), West Bengal (18%), and Assam (14%) had the highest rates of adolescent pregnancies in the nation (NFHS-4). You’ll be amazed to know that teen pregnancy is nearly double in rural regions (9.2%) compared to metropolitan areas (5%). According to the most recent National Family Health Survey-5 data, rates in Tripura jumped from 18.8% to 21.9%, while rates in West Bengal and Assam decreased by only 2%. You must be wondering why. 

Let us explain. Teenage pregnancy is more common within early child marriages, which are generally arranged by parents, and there are few pregnancies among unmarried adolescents. Child marriages are still practised in the rural areas of India, and that is the only harsh reality. In some cases, young kids elope with their lovers and start a family of their own. But mostly, they’re arranged by parents who do not want to continue feeding their child and feel that a cow is more valuable than having a daughter. 

Other than child marriages, there are older men or even teenage men who manipulate young girls in love, which leads to pregnancy among unmarried teens. And sometimes, the reason behind teenage pregnancies is rape and physical abuse.

Let us first discuss why child marriages are wrong and how it is connected to teen pregnancies. 

The age of majority (legal adulthood) and marriageable age is commonly set at 18 years old girls. Even if the legal marriage age is specified as 18, cultural customs may overrule legislation and allow for child marriage with parental agreement. 

In India, more than half of adolescent brides have already given birth to children. According to statistics, the prevalence of teenage pregnancies is inversely proportionate to their degree of education. At least 20% of women who were pregnant as teenagers had no formal education.

Childhood is finished when a child marries. It harms children’s rights to education, health, and protection. These implications have an influence not just on the girl but also on her family and society. 

Child marriage is a violation of children’s rights and puts them in danger of violence, exploitation, and abuse. Child marriage affects both girls and boys, although girls are predominantly harmed.

The age is 18 years for women because the women go through a lot of changes in their adolescents, and science suggests that it is not for a girl to take the marital pressure before hitting puberty. 

This includes negative health repercussions due to early pregnancy, mental health concerns, and a lack of access to education and job prospects. Pregnancies are complicated, especially when your body isn’t ready. 

Let us understand why teen pregnancy is a social issue:

  • As shown in UN research, teenage pregnancies cost India $7.7 billion per year in economic damage. An earlier estimate by the health ministry put the financial consequences of teenage pregnancies at 12% of the GDP (GDP).
  • These pregnancies not only render adolescent girls incredibly vulnerable, both physically and psychologically, but they also endanger them and their babies. Pregnancies of this type are accompanied by higher chances of miscarriage, abortion, and other negative consequences.
  • What is concerning is the rising number of maternal and newborn fatalities caused by anemia. It affects around 54.1% of adolescent girls aged 15 to 19, with a somewhat higher frequency in rural areas than in metropolitan areas. This is due to the fact that only 28.1% of adolescent pregnant moms used iron and folic acid supplements, which are critical in preventing anemia during pregnancy.
  • At least 42% of adolescent girls in India had a BMI of less than 18.5. As a result, pregnancy in such a vulnerable state continues the starvation cycle and causes neonatal and infant fatalities.
  • A recent study discovered that children born to adolescent moms have more significant stunting and underweight prevalence. Low education, poor nutritional status, and high anemia rates all contribute to the vicious cycle. 
  • Low dietary intake with a diet low in fruits and milk and substantial variance in consumption of items from necessary food groups among states contribute to women’s poor nutritional status.
  • While teen pregnancies affect the entire socio-economic fabric of society, women bear the brunt of the consequences. According to a study conducted in Assam’s most vulnerable regions, a higher proportion of teenage mothers married due to the family’s low economic situation or after elopement than women who became pregnant after 20.
  • Above all, teenage girls aren’t prepared for having a child. They need both physical and mental strength to bear a child.

Final Thoughts:

Unfortunately, little has improved in India in terms of child marriage, adolescent pregnancy, and adolescent malnutrition. It is concerning, given that India, with 95 million teenage girls, is predicted to have the most extensive national adolescent female population by 2030.

That is why it is critical to implement policies that limit child marriages and adolescent pregnancies to reduce maternal and newborn mortality rates.

In 2014, the national adolescent health initiative “Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram” (RKSK) was introduced. RKSK boosts adolescent health interventions by refocusing on community-based health improvement and prevention in tandem with clinical-based preventative and curative services.

However, this is only on paper. The problems of early marriage, adolescent pregnancy, anemia, and a high rate of maternal mortality persist. Poor program implementation is most likely to blame here. 

Along with broadening the spectrum of services, it is critical to broadening the channel through which they are supplied. The initiatives continue to focus on FLWs and peer educators, but they must incorporate more private providers, counsellors, and educators. Sexual health education should be combined with social-emotional development.

The necessity of the hour is for a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to addressing all of the requirements of teenagers. Strong measures and regulations to end adolescent marriages and subsequent pregnancies are precisely what India requires right now.

So what can we do to help our society?

We can focus on providing public health education programs on the risks of adolescent pregnancy, rigidly enforce the marriage age, screen all pregnant moms for risk factors, and give at-risk mothers knowledge about having children and upbringing and referral to a hospital for a healthy birth. 

Teenage or undesired pregnancies have only negative sexual reproductive health consequences and have a huge social and emotional impact on women. Aside from peer educators, experienced counsellors can be an essential resource for providing psychosocial assistance.

We need to educate the adolescents and their parents regarding the persisting issue of harmful pregnancies and the importance of having healthy and meaningful teenage years full of giggles and necessary primary education.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_marriage

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy

  3. https://feminisminindia.com/2021/01/19/what-contributes-to-teenage-pregnancies-in-india/

  4. https://www.unicef.org/india/what-we-do/end-child-marriage 

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