teen pregnancy

Teen Pregnancy: Definition, Its Impacts, Causes, and Ways To Reduce it

What Teen Pregnancy?

Teen or Teenage pregnancy is also known as “adolescent pregnancy” is pregnancy in a woman 19 years of age or younger.

Causes:

Most teen pregnancies are unintentional while some are cultural due to early marriage. However, other reasons for teen pregnancy are as follows:

Cultural reasons: In some traditional societies, they have customs and traditions of early marriage. Thus, teen pregnancy is inevitable.

Drugs and alcohol: The youths when provoked by drinks (alcoholic) and experiments affect the teen’s ability to logically think and carry out general thinking processes, thus increases the chances of their engagement in unprotected and unsafe sexual activity, resulting in pregnancy.

Low socioeconomic status: The teens from low socio-economic status often with low educational background face a lot of trouble times and abuses and often are separated from their families which might lead to poor decision making such as pre-marital sex. They lack knowledge about reproduction and its consequences.

Peer pressure: The young female partner is often pressured or manipulated or forced by an older male partner (ie. peer) to engage in sexual activity. These young females out of fear may feel forced to engage in unprotected sex without a choice.

Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse is also another reason why teens may become pregnant. Some children have unfortunately been sexually abused predators and as the child enters adolescence, increases chances of pregnancy.

Media influence: In some way that the media such as TV influence teens so that they are able to drop out of school and lead an independent life which motivates them to have a child.

Issue or Risks Associated with Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy puts young women at risk of biological, health, economic, social issues which are discussed below:

Biological Issues:

  • There is risks of low birth weight of baby and premature labor.

Social issues:

  • Teenage pregnancy is usually outside of marriage and is a social stigma in most societies.
  • Teen pregnancy also affects girls’ education as many are forced to drop out of school.

Health Issues:

  • Teens may also be in danger of malnutrition during pregnancy and that has a direct effect on the growth of the fetus.
  • There is a high risk of maternal death as the reproductive organs are not fully developed.
  • Teens are at a higher risk for pregnancy-related high blood pressure called pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia can also harm the kidneys.

Economic Issues:

  • Due to school dropout as a teen mother, she and her husband are least likely to get opportunities of employment.

Impacts of Teen Pregnancy

Several studies have examined the socioeconomic, medical, and psychological impact of teen pregnancy. They are;

Socio-economic Impacts:

  • Many pregnant teens drop out of school, and some never complete their education.
  • Women who get pregnant as teens are more likely to have more than one child and with little education and multiple children to care for, they will find it very difficult to earn a living.
  • Due to school dropout as a teen mother, she and her husband are least likely to get opportunities of good employment and hence end up in Poverty.

Medical/Health Impacts:

  • Teens are at a higher risk for pregnancy-related high blood pressure called pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia can also harm the kidneys.
  • Teens have a higher risk of premature birth, with low birth weight.
  • Teens may also be in danger of malnutrition during pregnancy and that has a direct effect on the growth of the fetus.
  • Pregnant teens also have a higher chance of becoming anemic. This can make you feel weak and tired and can affect the baby’s development.
  • High risks of maternal deaths.

Psychological Impacts:

  • As teens have to earn and sustain their life at an early age as parents, they regret not able to walk and live life freely as others of the same age.
  • Teen mothers are more likely to experience posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • Teen fathers may undergo depression and fall into alcohol abuse.

Measures to Combat Teen Pregnancy

A holistic approach is required in order to address teenage pregnancy. This means not focusing on changing the behavior of girls but addressing the underlying reasons of teen pregnancy such as poverty, gender inequality, social pressures, and coercion.

However, the following measures can help address teen pregnancy.

  • By providing education opportunities to teens from low socio-economic backgrounds. The educated teen will have knowledge about the harmful consequences of pregnancy at teenage, therefore, go against it.
  • Educational interventions and awareness among the teens regarding the harms of teen pregnancy.
  • Preventing marriage at an early age i.e. child marriage by discouraging such cultural customs and traditions.
  • Ending sexual violence and coercion.
  • By building gender-equitable societies by empowering girls.
  • Engaging men and boys and ensuring adolescents’ access to sexual and reproductive health information as well as services.
  • Providing access to birth control.

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