Teenage pregnancy is a worldwide epidemic, which affects both developed and developing countries alike, although the causes differ markedly between each. While in a developing country such as India, teen pregnancy can be attributed to early marriages, in the developed countries it is mainly due to the impromptu sexual behaviour, which is gradually catching up in Indian teenagers too. Teenage pregnancy is the pregnancy, which occurs between puberty and age 19. Teen pregnancies carry a high risk for both mother and the baby.
A teen pregnancy can result due to various causes like:
- Child Marriage: Though we have progressed in many ways, child marriage is still an area where we have lagged behind. Many adolescent girls have become victims of this social evil. Poverty and illiteracy are the two main culprits for child marriage. Parents feel that the earlier the daughters get married; they would face less demand for dowry which although illegal is still widely practised. In rural areas, parents also fear sexual violence against their children, to prevent it they get them married at a young age. Family honour is another factor wherein the family fears the girl getting romantically involved and spoiling the family name to prevent, which she is married at an early age. There is also the society fear, wherein parents are fearful of facing their society’s questions if the girl is not married at age. Even law enforcement to stop child marriages is not strict, and it is more prevalent in rural areas.
- When the teen falls victim to behaviours of smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse and does not receive parental guidance or advice, they might be drawn into unprotected sex and can end up getting pregnant. As talking about sex is anathema in our Indian society, curious teenagers fall victim to their curiosity and desire without any protection which can lead to undesired pregnancy.
- There are instances of sexual abuse at home either by a relative or a family friend where minors are raped in their home, which can lead to pregnancy. As any talk about sex is discouraged and the girl is blamed even for no fault of hers, they are helpless against such abuse.
Risks of Teen Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a high risk when it occurs in teenage:
- Socially, a pregnant teenager goes through a lot of difficulties. They will not get support either from family or friends and are not accepted by society. They go through a lot of emotional trauma and mental agony due to lack of support and the feeling of guilt and depression. They do not have any way of supporting themselves and those who do want to help also do not come forward due to social stigma.
- Health risk, improper prenatal care puts both the mother and the baby at a high risk. Prenatal care is very important as it monitors the baby’s growth and alerts against any complications that might occur. Also taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid helps to prevent certain congenital disabilities, which might otherwise occur.
- Pregnant teens have a high risk of getting preeclampsia, which is pregnancy-induced hypertension that can prove to be dangerous for both the mother and child. There is also the risk of premature labour and birth, which may come with many congenital disabilities for the baby. Teenage pregnancies also carry the risk of giving birth to low birth-weight babies.
- Postpartum depression is also very high in teen pregnancies.
Preventing teen pregnancy
While the government is working towards eradicating child marriages in rural areas, we should work towards preventing teen pregnancies and safeguard our teens.
- Sex education is very important for the same. Teens should be educated about sex, its effect on their life and why it is important to delay it until the right age.
- Advice on contraception with information on various contraceptives such as condoms, birth control pills, etc. should be given. Safe sex should be propagated.
- Parents should discuss freely with their children regarding sex so that they are not tempted to experiment on their own.
- Parents should keep a watch on their children’s activities, their peer group, which will give an early warning sign of their child going off track and nip it in the bud while there is time.
Teenage is a very crucial age where teens are going through a lot of hormonal changes in their body and will be in a very confused state of mind. They need your understanding and support to keep them on the right path. Be a guide, friend, and support your teen during these years so that they do not make major life-altering mistakes and have a smooth transition into adulthood.
Copyright © 2018 Modasta. All rights reserved
- Motherhood in childhood: addressing reproductive health hazards among adolescent married women in India.— NCBI – Accessed on April 17, 2017– https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27142211
- Why ‘NOT’ Child Marriage – Accessed on April 17, 2017 – http://unicef.in/Whatwedo/30/Child-Marriage
- The Epidemic of Teenage Pregnancy: An Indian Tragedy – Accessed on April 17, 2017 – http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/the-epidemic-of-teenage-pregnancy-an-indian-tragedy
- Factors Associated with Teenage Pregnancy in South Asia: A Systematic Review – http://www.hsj.gr/medicine/factors-associated-with-teenage-pregnancy-in-south-asia-a-systematic-review.php?aid=3616