Teenage pregnancy also called as adolescent pregnancy is one that occurs from puberty to age of 19. As far as India is concerned child marriages are being conducted in some remote places where girls of age around 10-15 are married to a boy of same age or two elders. In addition to that recent increase in incidents of sexual harassment, and rising levels of sexual acts between teens are also a cause of great concern as they lead to teen pregnancy.
Whether the pregnancy is due to marriage or sex between unmarried teenagers there are nevertheless some issues concerning the higher rates of nutritional and obstetric problems associated with adolescent pregnancy. Also, the ignorance and immaturity can result in higher morbidity and mortality among mothers and babies.
Reasons for teen pregnancy:
The ultimate reason for this is unprotected intercourse. Some of the behavior patterns that paves for such early sexual activities and subsequent pregnancy are:
- The unhealthy environment of the home.
- Working parents not caring for their children.
- Only kidding brought up in a lonely environment.
- Lack of peer group.
- Stress and depression.
- Other habits like smoking, alcohol, drug abuse.
- Exposure to sexual violence/abuse.
- Belonging to the community where early marriage is a common custom.
- Financial restraints.
- Inadequate knowledge of sex.
Thus, for an adolescent who is sexually active for more than a year, chances of getting pregnant increases to 90%.
There are many chances for a girl to get pregnant before puberty as the release of the egg may occur before the first period itself. In the absence of adequate contraception, there are increased chances of pregnancy in these cases.
It is therefore very important for teenagers to have proper knowledge and understanding of their body and its functions before they become sexually active. Responsible sexual behavior prevents pregnancy.
Sexual abuse at a very young age by the members of the family itself is becoming common nowadays. These kids will be psychologically depressed, affecting their attitude towards and life and future
Symptoms and diagnosis:
The symptoms of teenage pregnancy are same as the normal pregnancy.
- Missed period.
- Implantation bleeding or vaginal spotting.
- Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness).
- Breast enlargement and tenderness.
- Frequent urination.
- Increased drowsiness and moodiness.
Many of the teens can't recognize these symptoms and pregnancy is carried on. They will finally recognize once they feel the movement of the baby in the uterus.
The tests for pregnancy remain the same. Any teenager who comes with a missed period should be taken a pregnancy test even if they didn't admit their sexual act.
It can also be physically appreciated by observing their genitals.Some of the changes during pregnancy are darkening and softening of the cervix and vulva..Some of the changes during pregnancy are darkening and softening of the cervix and vulva..Some of the changes during pregnancy are darkening and softening of the cervix and vulva..Some of the changes during pregnancy are darkening and softening of the cervix and vulva..Some of the changes during pregnancy are darkening and softening of the cervix and vulva.
An early diagnosis is important for her to get adjusted to it both physically and emotionally. Also, early prenatal care is important too, as she is physically not fit for pregnancy.
Such cases have to be tested for any sexually transmitted diseases also.
Complications of teen pregnancy:
Some of the main difficulties during such pregnancy and delivery are:
- Improper weight gain and nutrition during pregnancy leads to low weight babies.
- Transmission of sexual diseases from the partner. The child has chances to get the same if the pregnancy continued.
- Premature delivery.
- The death of the mother and the baby during delivery.
- Physically and mentally retarded children.
Impact on the teen mother:
- Teen pregnancy may cause many health risks to the teen mother. She has to face health, social and emotional problems. She will be at risk in major areas like higher education and physical and mental fitness.
- She won't be able to bear with the demands of pregnancy leading to ill health and depression. She won't be aware of the importance of prenatal care and nutrition. This may lead to many complications of pregnancy like premature babies, miscarriages, deformed babies. .Sometimes it may affect the baby to be born also..Sometimes it may affect the baby to be born also..Sometimes it may affect the baby to be born also..Sometimes it may affect the baby to be born also..Sometimes it may affect the baby to be born also.
- She will be separated from her friend's group and sometimes parents too, leading to the suicide of such girls. They may need a consultation with a psychiatrist to overcome the emotional imbalance.
- Due to lack of knowledge teen mother continue taking illicit drugs, smoking and not getting adequate nutrition leading to physically and mentally deformed babies. Thus, if they survive also they can lead a normal life.
- Moreover, the teen mother won't able to afford good education and even food for her child. If she herself is deserted.
Impact on the baby:
- Teenage pregnancy causes health and other risks to babies also.
- The teen mother who could not gain the required weight and sufficient nutrition during pregnancy give birth to low birth weight babies. Sometimes it might be associated with other disorders of the brain, respiratory system or digestive system. So it's very difficult for such babies to survive longer. Hence the rate of child death increases. Even it survives also it may have physical and mental retardation.
- She can't afford her child the basic love that it needs, good education, health care and nutrition if she herself is already deserted.
Pregnancy at a very young age leads to severe emotional and mental trauma for the girl. Father the future life of the girl is spoiled as a whole. Hence, the first and foremost line of prevention is programs that are effective in delaying attempts of sexual intercourse. Parents, schools and healthcare professionals can have open, honest, and educational talks with teenagers and preteens. They can also provide advice teenagers about how to prevent unwanted teenage pregnancies.
Sex education in a well-designed manner should be given to the teenage students in their school. It can be incorporated as a separate topic in their curriculum. But care should be taken that it should not work in the other way.
Adolescents should be well educated about the contraception techniques and the methods of proper usage too.
In a case of any unavoidable sexual harassment acts, she should be well armed with self-protection techniques to harm the opponent and protect herself.
Overall, sufficient awareness has to be created everywhere, to protect such young girls from such disasters.