Teenage Pregnancies: What we know and what we don't know

Teenage pregnancies are one of the most pressing public health concerns in India. Why is it important? What are the risks associated with Teenage pregnancies? What can be done to prevent Teenage pregnancies?



Teenage pregnancies are defined as pregnancies that occur in girls aged 19 years or younger. Every year, an estimated 21 million girls aged 15–19 years in developing countries become pregnant. Globally, an estimated 12 million girls aged 15-19 give birth every year. Teenage pregnancies are a pressing public health concern because they are often associated with a number of negative health outcomes for both the mother and the child. In India, it is estimated that about 2.3% teenage girls in the 15-19 age group become pregnant every year. Teenage pregnancies are more common in rural areas than in urban areas. In rural areas, about 9.2% of all pregnancies are teenage pregnancies, while in urban areas, the rate is 5%.


Teenage pregnancies are more common in rural areas because of a lack of education and awareness about contraception and sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). Additionally, girls in rural areas are more likely to marry at a young age, which increases their risk of Teenage pregnancy. Teenage pregnancies are also more common among girls from lower socio-economic backgrounds. This is because these girls are less likely to have access to quality education and health care.


Effects of Teenage Pregnancy on the Child and the Mother

The harmful effects of Teenage pregnancies are well-documented. Teenage mothers are more likely to experience health problems such as anaemia, postpartum hemorrhage and eclampsia. Their children are also more likely to be premature and have a low birth-weight. Teenage mothers are also less likely to take necessary steps for the overall health of their babies such as breastfeeding, vaccination against infectious diseases and proper nutrition.

These children are more likely to suffer from malnutrition and poor cognitive development. Teenage pregnancies also put the mother's education at risk. Teen mothers are less likely to complete school or attend college. This is because they have to drop out to take care of their children, which limits their choice of future education and employment opportunities. Teenage mothers are also more likely to experience poverty as adults. They are often unable to work outside the home because they have young children who require constant supervision .


Causes of Teenage Pregnancy

Lack of Sex Education is one of the leading causes for this trend. Teenagers in India tend not to have access to adequate information about sex and reproductive health, which increases their risk of an unplanned pregnancy. In the case of an unplanned Teenage pregnancy, a teenage mother might feel that she is not ready for the responsibilities of parenthood and opt to give her child up for adoption.


Teenage pregnancies are also more common in situations where there are rigid social norms regarding when girls can have sex. Teenage couples tend to have less access to contraception than older couples because they may lack information on contraception methods. There can also be a situation where they are unable to afford contraceptives.

There is no single cause behind Teenage Pregnancies. Teenage Pregnancy is a complex issue with many factors influencing its occurrence - including age at marriage, socio-economic status, urbanization rate, access to contraceptives and education level among others.


Conclusion

Teenagers need to be provided with information about sex and family planning so that they understand the consequences of Teenage pregnancy. In addition, the government should make efforts to ensure teenagers from low-income backgrounds have access to quality education as well as reproductive health services which help avoid an unplanned Teenage pregnancy. There is an urgent need for more robust and reliable data on Teenage Pregnancy in India to inform policy decisions and interventions. We hope that in the near future, this changes and we have a much better understanding of Teenage Pregnancies in India.

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