Teenage pregnancy is defined as a teenage girl, usually within the ages of 13-19, becoming pregnant. The term in everyday speech usually refers to girls who have not reached legal adulthood, which varies across the world, who become pregnant.
Causes and of teenage pregnancy
Teen pregnancies may result for different reasons in industrialized countries as compared to developing countries. Factors that contribute to teenage pregnancies include: Customs and traditions that lead to early marriage (developing countries) Adolescent sexual behavior which may also be influenced by alcohol and drugs Lack of education and information about reproductive sexual health including lack of access to tools that prevent pregnancies Peer pressure to engage in sexual activity
Incorrect use of contraception
Sexual abuse that leads to rape
Exposure to abuse, violence and family strife at home
Low self esteem
Low educational ambitions and goals
Effects of teenage pregnancy
Research indicates that teen pregnancy and motherhood can have detrimental socio economic and psychological outcomes for the teen mother, her child, and her young siblings.
A teen mother is more likely to:
• Drop out of school
• have no or low qualifications
• be unemployed or low-paid
• live in poor housing conditions
• suffer from depression which may result in suicide
• live on welfare
The child of a teen mother is more likely to:
• live in poverty
• grow up without a father
• become a victim of neglect or abuse
• do less well at school
• become involved in crime
• Abuse drugs and alcohol
• Eventually become a teenage parent and begin the cycle all over again
The younger sibling of a teen mother is more likely to:
• accept sexual initiation and marriage at a younger age
• Place less importance on education and employment
Disadvantages of teenage pregnancy
TEEN PREGNANCY: STIs, HIV AND AIDS
• As a result of unprotected sex, young people are also at risk of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection. • The highest rates of STIs worldwide are among young people aged 15 to 24. Some 500,000 become infected daily (excluding HIV). • Two in five new HIV infections globally occur in young people aged 15 to 24. • Surveys from 40 countries show that more than half their young people have misconceptions about how HIV is transmitted. • Married adolescent girls generally are unable to negotiate condom use or to refuse sexual relations. They are often married to older men with more sexual experience, which puts them at risk of contracting STIs, including HIV.
FAMILY PLANNING AND YOUNG PEOPLE: CHALLENGES
• Many societies, including in Malaysia, disapprove of premarital sex. • As a result, young people have limited or no access to education and information on reproductive sexual health care. • Modern contraceptive use among adolescents is generally low, and decreases with economic status. Fewer than 5% of the poorest young use modern contraception. • Young women consistently report less contraceptive usage than men, evidence of their unequal power in negotiating safer sex or restrictions on their access to services (such as lack of information, shame, laws, health provider attitudes and practices, or social norms). • Young people may hesitate to visit clinics because of lack of privacy and confidentiality, inconvenient locations and hours, high costs, limited contraceptive choices and supplies, and perhaps most importantly, negative or judgmental provider attitudes. • Laws and policies also may restrict adolescents’ access to information and services, for example, by limiting family planning to married people or requiring parental or spousal consent. • A basic challenge in advocacy, especially in traditional societies, is the taboo on public discussion of sexual issues, including the fact that many young people are sexually active before marriage.