The facts and figures of teenage pregnancy:
Based on the surveys conducted by leading organizations, the statistics for teenage pregnancies in the Unites States of America in the year 2008 between the ages 15-19 were nearly 68 per 1000. While many may think this figure is still disturbing, it is important to note that teenage pregnancies have significantly decreased over the years mostly due to awareness on the matter. In the year 1991, the same age group showed 117 teenage pregnancies out of 1000.
Though the figures may be showing a certain degree of improvement but still United States of America remains the country having the highest teen birth rate, which is about 9 times greater than the entire developed nations around the globe.
What are the causes of teenage pregnancy?
In most regions of the world, the leading cause of teenage pregnancy is early marriage. All marriages that occur before a girl reaches the age of 20 can result in teenage pregnancies, and this is seen commonly in African and Asian regions. There are certain social and cultural beliefs and practices that encourage teenage marriages in various nations worldwide. For instance in the sub-Saharan nations, teenage pregnancies are believed to be blessings, and are a sign of the girl’s fertility. The number of teenage marriages in such countries is a staggering figure.
Early marriages are mostly practiced in the rural areas of most Asian and African countries primarily due to the lack of education, awareness and safe intercourse practices.
In other countries, most prominently the United States, where teenage marriage isn’t as common, the leading cause of teenage pregnancy is unprotected sexual intercourse. The absence of proper contraceptives or safe sex practices can frequently lead to pregnancies at tender ages, in most cases, without the female being aware of it. Other causes of teenage pregnancies include the failure of the chose contraceptive method due to some reason, resulting in conception. In developed countries, the rates of teenage pregnancies resulting from intercourse performed under influence of drugs or alcohol are also very high.
Perhaps the most serious of all causes of teenage pregnancies is sexual abuse. A sexually abused victim may either be too young to understand the outcome of unprotected sex, or may not have access to contraceptive to prevent the pregnancy from taking place before it is too late. Sexual violation and rape are common in many developed and underdeveloped and is therefore another important cause of teenage pregnancy.
What are some of the most prominent risk factors of teenage pregnancy?
There are a number of factors that can influence teenage pregnancy, the most important of which include:
– Single parent raising children
– Dating practices of a single mother influencing children
– Little or no family interaction
– Little or no supervision by parents
– No monitoring of the activities of the children outside their homes
– Little or no communication between the children and their parents
– Parents married in their teen ages
– Sexually active circle of friend as negative influence
– Negative impact of the media in the form of explicit song lyrics, videos, pornography and other sources
– Early dating and physical interaction
– Females dating older men
– Early age initiation of puberty
– Sexually active or married siblings/cousins
– No religious beliefs of spiritual life
– Drug abuse
– Excess alcohol consumption
– Low income or poor socio economic conditions
– Lack of community awareness on matters related to early marriages, teenage pregnancy and unprotected sexual intercourse
– Low grades or poor performance at school/academics
– Lack of interest in productive activities
How can teenage pregnancies be prevented?
While teenage pregnancies resulting from culturally forced or encourage early marriages cannot be prevented, it is important to address the other reasons leading to early conception. One of the most vital and effective methods of preventing teenage pregnancies is the initiation of awareness campaigns and drives highlighting the disadvantages and negative aspects of adolescent pregnancies, and the ways in which it affects the female and her unborn child. Educating masses about the use of contraception methods and practices of safe sex can also effectively prevent teenage pregnancies.