ADOLESCENT PREGNANCY (aka teenage pregnancy)

Facts from WHO:

 About 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 and about 1 million girls under 15 give birth every year—most in low- and middle-income countries.

 Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the second cause of death for 15-19 year-old girls globally.

Every year, about 3 million girls aged 15 to 19 undergo unsafe abortions.

Babies born to adolescent mothers face a substantially higher risk of dying than those born to women aged 20 to 24.

Risk factors

  • Poor parenting
  • Lack of reproductive health/sex education
  • Early/child marriage
  • Sexual abuse and violence
  • Cultural and religious traditions
  • Poverty
  • Lack of functional government policy for adolescent right

Consequences of adolescent pregnancy

  •  Health consequences: obstetric complications such as anaemia in pregnancy, pre-eclampsia, obstetric fistula, increase in cesarean section (c/section are common with adolescent pregnancy), there is increased rate of unsafe abortions contributing to maternal morbidity and mortality (death). Also babies of adolescent mothers are at some risks like low birth weight, still birth, etc. Pregnancy and childbirth complications are the second cause of death among 15 to 19 year olds globally,
  • Socioeconomic consequences: Many girls who become pregnant have to drop out of school and a girl with little or no education has fewer skills and opportunities to find a job, and that propagates poverty
  • Increased rates of alcohol abuse and substance abuse

Prevention of adolescent pregnancy

Sex education: knowledge of the past and current sexual and reproductive history of an adolescent is the starting point in sexual and reproductive health education, including the importance of healthy relationships (with abstinence in view) and the benefits of contraceptives to prevent unintended pregnancy.

We should not forget that these adolescents cannot get pregnant all by themselves, young men should know their sexual health and responsibilities as partners. Teach them the facts about contraceptives and safe sex practices. Encourage them to adopt practices to protect themselves and their sexual partners from unintended pregnancy.

Yes, talk with them about the challenges and responsibilities that come along with sexual relationships. They depend on us to protect their future and their health.

Government  policy:  Adolescents assess to information and contraceptive services without stigma.  

Laws against child marriage.

Policies that care and support adolescents that are pregnant, this will help to prevent some complications of adolescent pregnancy.

Efforts at the community level that address social and economic factors associated with teen pregnancy also play a critical role.

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