The World of Pregnancy

Why Is Teen Pregnancy A Problem?

So, if having a baby is such a blessing, why is teen pregnancy a problem? Well, the reasons are many and you should be able to better understand the reasons once you read the lines below.

Why Is Teen Pregnancy A Problem

Whatever we would hope for our daughter or son not to bring us the news that we are grandparents during adolescence, the truth is that this may happen at any moment. Our reaction should be one of support, no matter the decision of the teenager. However, this can only happen if we try to understand why this happened and that is more common than we may have thought.

Pregnancy and maternity during adolescence has been something perfectly normal along the human history, but in our present society it`s recognized the right of teenagers to continue their education to eventually be financially independent. Adolescence is a period when teenagers aren`t yet mature and responsible enough for their own actions, and a lot of times they ignore the consequences of their sexual life. Teen pregnancy is first of all a social “plague,” but which can have severe medical consequences as well. – Read more!

Social and psychological conditions of the occurrence of a pregnancy during adolescence vary a lot, but most of the times this phenomenon occurs in poverty and ignorant environments. These youngsters must decide if they want and are able to start a family or, if they aren`t ready to make the sacrifices or they want to continue their studies, the option is either to interrupt the pregnancy or given their baby for adoption.

Statistics

  • Around 16.000.000 teenagers give birth to a baby each year. Most of them are from countries with low or medium economy.
  • Around 3.000.000 girls with ages of 15 to 19 experience an abortion, most of the times in unsafe conditions each year.
  • The main cause of adolescent deaths with ages between 15 and 19 years old, from countries with low or medium economy, is the occurrence of complications during pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Infantile death has a rate of 50% more in case of babies born from teenager mothers and women with ages of 20 to 29 years old.
  • It`s more likely as babies born from teen pregnancies to gave a lower birth weight than usual.
  • Around 2.000.000 girls of up to 15 years old give birth annually.
  • One out of 5 women gave birth at least once until 18 years old around the world. In poor countries, this situation is found in 1 out of 3 girls.
  • Ninety percent of pregnant teenagers live in countries with poor or medium economy.
  • Teen pregnancy occurs more often in girls that come from poor families with weak education from the rural areas.

The Psychosocial Impact of a Teen Pregnancy

In most cases, the news of such a pregnancy comes unexpectedly for adolescents who first concern for what their parents will say. Often, this concern come from the childish thinking of the teenager and has no real ground, but it demonstrates the fact that a teen pregnancy is a major psychological trauma. In addition, some girls confront themselves with a loss of ties with the child`s father or their family, giving up their studies or giving up their education from their own will, adopting a “failure in life” thinking.

Without education, youngsters are condemned to a low financial status and most teen marriages are more likely to end up with a divorce, according to most studies. The children of teen mothers may confront with long term social adaptation issues – weak school results, poverty, mental or physical illness. The problems that occur along with teen pregnancies also reflect on the family of the teen mother – parents and younger brothers. The brothers often end up being “nannies” and inclined to follow the same path.

Causes for which a Teen Pregnancy Occurs

The above statistics make us wonder which may be the causes for which teen pregnancies occur and why, because despite the access to information in our society, the numbers are too high.

We already know that sexual education in children is a subject that should be approached by parents. Therefore, problematic sexual behaviors may occur, which may lead to unwanted pregnancies, but even at legal problems. Unfortunately, although this is necessary, it doesn`t mean is applied. A lot of modern parents are still embarrassed to have discussions on such subjects with their sons or daughters, and moreover, a lot of them aren`t even well informed to be able to have talks with their children.

In countries with poor or medium economy, over 30% of girls are getting married until 18 years old, and 14% until the age of 15. Often, these cases are associated with school dropout, but there is also a type of correlation: the more years of school the girls has, the less chance for a teen pregnancy to occur.

See also Parents vs. Children: When Teenagers Become Adults!

A lot of the teenagers from these poor countries aren`t aware how to avoid a pregnancy and don`t have access to contraceptive methods. In any case, even where this access to contraceptive methods is easy, teenagers use contraception less often than adults. Statistically speaking, only 42% for teenagers who have sex use a condom or birth control pill.

What is even worse in these statistics is that only 24% of girls and 36% of boys between the ages of 15 and 24 years old know how to properly prevent HIV, and a lot less of them implement the methods. So, here`s how teen pregnancy becomes one of the most common problems when sexual education isn`t properly made by the family of these youngsters.

In some cases, teenagers aren`t able to refuse sexual intercourse. In some countries, more than 1/3 of women claimed that their first sexual contact took place through various types of violence. Other times, the social pressure of friends of colleagues, a low self-esteem and messages with sexual connotations that bombed us everywhere, together offer the teenager the image that she isn`t able to choose, but only to conform.

Health Risks for the Pregnant Teenager

The health risks associated with teen pregnancies aren`t related to the age of the mother, but rather the psychosocial and physical conditions during which the pregnancy develops. Only in mothers of up to 15 years old, the medical issues are related to the prevalence of early biological age.

Pregnant teenagers are prone to a series of medical issues – between 11 and 16 years old, the organism is in full development and the bone structure isn`t yet completely mature. This may lead to trauma and spine or pelvic injuries, meaning a possible disability for the entire life. The disorders related to the pregnancy during adolescence are anemia, STDs, postnatal bleeding and mental diseases. Adolescents who have given birth are prone to postpartum depression. – Also see How Do I Know if I Have Postpartum Depression?

Around 65% from cases of perianal fistulae occur in teenagers, and the mortality rate from birth complications is much higher than in mature women. Pregnant teenagers have an increased risk of preeclampsia – hypertension associated with an increased level of proteins in urine and swelling of the face and hands.

Pregnancy and childbirth represent a huge stress for a young organism. In addition, a lot of the young mothers don`t get to receive medical care during the first few months of pregnancy, either because they are scared, they aren`t aware of their pregnancy or they just don`t accept the reality. Each year around the world, around 2.500.000 teenagers suffer of an abortion in poor health conditions.

Health Risks for a Teen`s Baby

A pregnancy during adolescence isn`t only dangerous for the mother, but also for the baby, this one being most of the times “doomed” to be born before term, with a lower birth weight or with congenital defects. A lot of times, the little one doesn`t survive, and if he does, he shows an increased risk of long term physical and mental diseases. The mortality rate at birth or during the first week of life is 50% higher in babies with teen mothers than those with ages of 20 to 29 years old. – Click here!

If the mother is infected with a STD, the medical condition can be transmitted to the baby, with severe consequences. Also, teen mothers are more prone to tobacco and alcohol consumption while pregnant, as well as to a poor diet, which may lead to fetal diseases. Babies born with a low birth weight have an immature organism, they control their temperature and blood sugar with difficulty, are more prone to mental retardation, and have an increased risk of death.

Effects of Pregnancy in Adolescence

There are a lot of studies that analyzed over time the impact that a teen pregnancy has on teenagers from a sociological, psychological and medical point of view. Still, maybe it`s best to focus on the effects that the birth of a child has on a young mother, close family members or the young father.

Effects on the Mother

The first aspect in which the birth of a child will have an influence is that of education. Caught between the care for the baby and the responsibilities for personal development, young women have a tendency to give up school or at least focusing less on what they should learn. However, studies show that a lot of the young mothers that had a pregnancy in adolescence gave up studies even before remaining pregnant. – Read this!

Another aspect, which is strongly related to the first, show that only 1/3 of the young mothers found in this situation receive help from their family to take care of the baby. Because of this, giving up their education to be able to support themselves, the chances for professional development in a carrier and improving their lifestyle decrease drastically.

But there`s also a good side. Most teen mothers learn even from the birth of their child how to earn and manage their money. Therefore, a study has showed that up to the age of 35, they earned more money than women of the same age who didn`t experienced a pregnancy in adolescence. This is explained by the idea that up to the age when would normally start the built of a carrier, their children don`t need permanent care, thus they are able to be more concerned about this aspect, unlike those that feel constrained by the idea of having a child as well as evolving socially, often being necessary to make a compromise.

Statistically speaking, 1 out of 4 teen mothers will pass through the experience of a second pregnancy in up to 2 years from their first one. The chances increase quite a lot if the mother starts a family next to the father of the child. Unfortunately, teen parents aren’t mature enough from the intellectual and emotional point of view to offer support to a baby. Therefore, most of the times, these pregnancies are hidden for several months, placing both the mother and baby at risk.

Effects on the Baby

It was shown that if the pregnancy occurred when the mother was a teenager, the psychosocial development of the baby was put in danger. Being subject to the risk of being born with a low birth weight, often without receiving the proper medical care during pregnancy, they tend to have a lot of health problems which interfere with their mental well-being.

Having parents who aren`t emotionally or educationally prepared to offer them the proper information, there are a lot of gaps that are observed or delays of accumulation.

Another study shows that teen mothers have the tendency of stimulating more rarely their children in affective behaviors, such as smiles, touches or verbal communication. A different study has shown that those women who received more social support have shown more affection towards their babies. Otherwise, a lot of times they blamed their little ones for their situation and unhappiness, their behavior reflecting this ideology as well.

Effects on Other Members of the Family

There`s a study that has shown that the sisters of the teen mothers show less importance to their education and professional carrier and tend to show more importance to sexuality, paternity and marriage from ages at which this shouldn`t happen. – More details!

If the younger sisters are the ones who help the mother to take care of the baby, the risk for them also becoming teen mothers increases significantly.

Effects on the Father

In very little cases, the father is also the husband of the teen mother. Sometimes, the birth of a child may lead to the formation of a family, but most of the times the father has his own life, away from the family just formed.

If a lot of the teenagers who become parents are initially in a romantic relationship, statistics show that in most cases, fathers will soon leave the mothers, and this interferes with their relationship with the little ones. Statistics show that if the father is involved during pregnancy and birth in decision-making, there are more chances for him to get involved affectively and their baby`s development in the years to come.

Still, it was proven that most fathers of babies born from teen mothers cannot be named “teenagers,” as 2/3 of the cases of this kind are men of over 20 years old. This is possible because 40% of mothers who gave birth between 15 and 17 years old have partners with 3 to 5 years more than them; and most of the times, the younger is the mother, the bigger is the difference of age between her and her partner.

Image courtesy of Teen Pregnancy
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