What is teenage pregnancy?
All living organisms undergo a reproductive phase, and hence do the humans. But, the human body takes time to develop and mature.
Wikipedia defines pregnancy as the time during which one or more offspring develops inside a woman. And as clear by the word, Teenage Pregnancy, pregnancy at teenage is called TP. To be clearly specified, teenage is the age group of 13-19 year olds.
Too young to be sensible, Right? Teens are just like the tiny buds. They are as delicate as the unopened flowers, and hence need to be cared and nourished.
Teenage pregnancy is widely observed all over the world. South African and the South Asian countries score the top position when surveyed. India is one of them, where a young girl is extremely vulnerable to child marriages, unprotected sex and several other causes, which lead her to have a baby at such a pre-mature stage.
Some states which witness this catastrophe quite often are Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, according to UNICEF reports.
Young teenage pregnancy
Teenage Pregnancies are clearly the pregnancies at young age, and they are a matter of great concern because pre-mature pregnancy has great impact socially, economically, emotionally and intellectually. The impacts are clearly visible on the young mother and the new born baby.
Teenage bodies are not completely developed, especially if the girls belong from an unhealthy , unhygienic background or are under poverty, then they may suffer from anaemia , malnutrition , weakness and any illness. The mother is affected, which passes the poor health to her baby as well.
Causes of teenage pregnancy
The teenage is the age when teenagers get influenced and affected emotionally and intellectually, and hence takes steps without proper knowledge. Teenage pregnancies can be the consequence of many illogically taken steps. It may be the outcome of traditional customs practiced in a country or of intellectual influence by same age group. It also may result from imposed sexual intercourse or rape. The causes vary from regions to regions.
To be summarised, they can written as follows:
- Peer Influence
Opinions of same age group, i.e. peers, are of huge significance for the teenagers. They get easily swayed under peer pressure and undertake steps without giving a second thought on what the consequences can turn out to be. At this point, their awareness meter scores 20-30%. This is because they take steps out of curiosity, and want to explore what is kept away from them. Their friend circle influences their behaviour and they are easily indulged in bad habits such as drinking, smoking and drug abuse. These habits may lead to unprotected sex and hold great impact on young minds.
Infatuation and attraction to opposite gender is common at this stage, which is extremely influential.
- Family, relations and living conditions
Improper parental guidance is common in today’s mechanical rush of lives. Parents are so busy in their schedule and external matters that they spend less time communicating with their child and understanding his/her problem. As a result they lack in giving proper guidance and lending support. A good communication between parents and child needs to be established. When it is not there, teenagers generally seek support and love from their friends and peers. They may or may not be sufficiently informed. And the pressure and stress from family and environment at home adds cherry to the cake.
- Over Exploitation and Exaggeration of Sex related issues
Sex Education is a private topic and many a times people fear talking upon it. The discussions are held in secrecy or given “mysterious” appearance. Teenagers hesitate to talk about their matters, and perceive things from their own perspective.
There are many silver screen shows also which have informative concepts, but either they exaggerate reality or are wrongly perceived by our teenage generation. There are also certain myths and misconceptions also which are commonly known between the crowds, and hence they also affect the teenage minds.
- Imposed sex, Sexual abuse or Rape
The illiteracy and absent-mindedness of the people lead to this significant cause. There are thousands of cases occurring all over the world every minute, and even after huge media coverage and awareness campaigns, a new case turns up on the table every day. But, it is to be appreciated that India has improved in this slot.
- Traditional customs and practices
In many countries, such as India, Child marriages are still practiced in such a modern era, as a part of traditional customs. Early marriages lead to high chances of early conception.
Signs of teenage pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy is in no way very different from a normal pregnancy. The symptoms are:
- Body Changes
This includes Breast enlargement and breast tenderness. Abdominal distension is also a part of this. The abdomen increases in size.
Fainting and light headedness
This includes tiredness and a state of stress.
- Missed period
Although this is taken as an important sign of pregnancy, missed period can also be due to stress or hormonal changes. Hence, sometimes, it is not a reliable sign. It should be accompanied with a pregnancy test to get the confirmation.
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Frequent urination
There is an increased blood flow to the kidneys, hence the urge to urinate increases during pregnancy.
- Apparent illness
- High levels of progesterone
- Low blood sugar levels
- Increased blood production
Changes in hormone levels occur in first trimester (a trimester is the first 3 month time period during pregnancy).
- Choosy about food
It is normal in pregnancy to be choosy about food. Experiences can be heard from elder women in the house.
- Increased vaginal discharge
Effects of teenage pregnancy
Effects of teenage pregnancy are visible on dominantly mother and the child. Effects can also be seen on the father, both the parents’ families, society, economic conditions, career, future dreams and lifestyle.
- There can be various medical complications, for example, anaemia, toxaemia, changes in blood levels and premature birth of the baby.
- Teen parents often experience emotional crisis. They either wants to abort the baby, commit suicide, show rash behaviour and depression. They often undergo dilemma, and negative feelings surround them. They are frustrated, afraid and try escaping from the world.
- They are worried about their future. Their dreams and desires pause then and there. Often they have to let go of their dreams if they pursue making a family.
- They experience discrimination and shame, as teenage pregnancy is socially unacceptable.
- They feel out-casted as they receive no support from their family even.
- Education is put on hold.
- They may indulge themselves into smoking and drugs.
- They have really hard time in running their families and earning a livelihood.
Teenage pregnancy facts
You would be surprised to know:
- You can fall pregnant the first time you have unprotected sexual intercourse.
- If you do not get pregnant the first time, you can still get pregnant every time you have unprotected sex.
- People believe in myths and develop misconceptions, even the literate ones.
- 40% of teenage mothers left school with no qualifications.
- Most young fathers do not stay in long term committed relationships with the mother of their children.
- In 2014, a total of 2, 49,078 babies were born to women aged 15-19 years. Now do you understand the alarming situation?
Consequences of teenage pregnancy
Consequences of teenage pregnancy are directed towards teenage parents as well as the baby. As mentioned above, the other factors are also present. Health risks, social problems and emotional traumas are the biggest issues a young human can face.
Statistics of teenage pregnancy
Many surveys are conducted and research work done every year to maintain a record. India has higher rate of teen pregnancy than the countries like US and UK. Early child marriage, illiteracy and high infant mortality rate are the dominant causes. It is pointed out that the number of women dying as a consequence of pregnancy and childbirth are about 5, 36,000.
Teen pregnancy in India is high with 62 pregnant teens out of 1000 women.
Risk of teenage pregnancy
Medical risks are observed in teen pregnancies. Teen pregnancies are unplanned and fatal.
- Low birth weight
Such babies with low birth weight might have less developed organs, which can result in complications
- Pregnant teens are prone to various health problems.
- The risks can be as dangerous as leading to death.
Effects of teenage pregnancy on the baby
Babies born to young mothers possess less developed organs, which has complications such as:
- Bleeding in brain
- Respiratory diseases
- Low birth weight
- Premature birth
Teen pregnancy and teenage abortion
Scared of the consequences, abortion seems to be a lifeline to many of the teenagers. After coping up with the dilemma of raising a child and future concerns, teenagers opt for abortions. Abortions are ending of pregnancy by removing a foetus or embryo before it can survive outside the uterus.
The decision of abortion is affected by factors such as personal belief, family’s belief, social acceptability, education, future concerns and socioeconomic factors.
But, choice of abortion is only when there is access to it.
Either you are pregnant or if thinking of getting pregnant then you should definitely read our article on Pregnancy week by week which will enhance your knowledge about symptoms you experience from first to 36 week.
Why teenage pregnancy a problem
Teenage pregnancy is a problem as a single step leads to various health risks and social problems. It all has been defined above, and we all are aware why is TP a serious issue. Pregnancy discharge is another area of concern where girls remain under stress due to various kinds of discharges at various stages which varies in color and thickness. You would like to read this article about various types of pregnancy discharges and the precautions you need to take under those circumstances.
Solutions to teenage pregnancy
This is the major and the most important part of the whole discussion.
- Good communication between teens and parents is a must. If children won’t discuss problems with their parents, the on whom they shall lean on.
- Talking about sex and related issues without creating havoc.
- Sex education should be imparted in a friendly and engaging manner.
- Have a safe sex. Use of contraceptives and barriers is a must to avoid unplanned pregnancies.
- The consequences should be well known to teenagers.
Solutions are present, just we need to take a step.