The last decade has witnessed a constant rise in teen pregnancies in India. The main reason is child marriage and also the lack of proper sex education in schools which leads teenagers to have unprotected sex. In fact teen pregnancies in India are deemed to be even higher than those in UK and US. Plagues like early marriage, illiteracy and high infant mortality rates are basically the reasons that cause pregnancies in young girls between 14 to 19 years.
Even a few years earlier, if you mentioned teen pregnancy, people would stare at you angrily and not only that, it was a matter of great shock. But today, it has become very common. Ask any gynecologist and they will definitely say that though the increasing number of such cases is alarming but it is not surprising.
Statistics in India on Teenage Pregnancy
As per a reports by the UN Statistics Division, estimates are that India has had about 86 cases per 1000 women in the age group of 15-19 years between the years 1995-2010 who have had teenage pregnancies. Come to think of it, we are a country where pre-marital sex is not really a trend. The figures are disturbing and even a cause of alarm. Cultural constraints push women to have more kids even if they do not want to, and drives them to illnesses and weakness for the rest of their lives.
What Is An Adolescent Pregnancy?
Technically defined as a pregnancy that occurs in girls aged less than 19 years, adolescent pregnancy is a complex issue in itself. Girls aged between 12-14 years are more likely to be talked or forced into having unplanned and unprotected sex giving way to teenage pregnancies. About two thirds of teen pregnancies occur in girls aged between 18-19 years.
Factors That Lead To Teen Pregnancy In India?
There are many factors which lead to teen pregnancy:
- Lack of proper sex education: Though we claim to be a modern country, talking about sex still remains a taboo. So, yes, schools are now providing sex education but they do it just for the sake of doing and not with the aim to counsel properly
- Poverty: Teens don’t even get the chance to get educated
- Child marriages: This social evil just refuses to fade away in India. Young girls are married off and they get pregnant at a tender age of 15 or 16
- Nuclear families: Lack of guidance from elders of the family
- Peer pressure: Teens hear their friends doing it without getting pregnant and they want to try it too otherwise their friends will call them cowards of not having the courage to take risks
- Exposure to media: There is no filtration of the obscene contents. They see the heroes and heroines do it and so they want to do it too
- Drinking and smoking: Abuse of drugs make them loose conscious of what’s right and wrong
- Lack of supportive parents and family: A child deprived of love will look for pleasure and happiness elsewhere
- Exposure to sexual violence: Sexual abuse at home. Unhealthy environment at home
- Stressful lifestyle: A depressive lifestyle can always lead an individual to look out for something which in which they will find momentary pleasure
Another huge problem is awareness. There is no awareness in our teens. A study showed that most of the sexually active girls even consider using a contraceptive after indulging in 6 months of sexual activity!
What Are The Effects of Teen Pregnancy?
The effects of teen pregnancies are adverse. It becomes difficult for the mothers and the babies to be socially adopted. Here are a few serious effects:
- Most of the teenage mothers are either pursuing college or has dropped out. So, when she becomes a mother or even knows about the pregnancy, a financial pressure builds up
- Studies have shown that most couple who get married because of the child ends up divorcing each other after a few years
- A teenage pregnancy limits the bearer’s social interactions. At the time when she should be enjoying at the movies with friends, she spends her time worrying about how to handle the pregnancy. In short, they miss out on their childhood
- As they themselves are financially unstable they pressurize their parents to raise the child
- They do not have proper parenting skills
Risk Factors And Complications Of Teen Pregnancies
Apart from these after effects, there are huge risks involved for both the mother and the baby.
Potential Complications For the Teenage Mother:
- Death rate at child birth is staggering. The feeble teenage bodies cannot take the pressure
- Suffer from premature labor
- They are highly prone to get Anemia, placental problems
- They might undergo depression
Potential Complications For the Baby:
- Born under-weight
- Pre-mature babies
- As they are born pre-mature and under-weight they stand the chance of dying within the first month itself
- It might also lead to mental retardation or other disabilities
Child bearing is not an easy thing. It takes a toll both mentally as well as physically. There is a reason people decide a certain age for pregnancy. It is because at this stage the body is fully grown as well as the lady knows how to condition her body and also how to take care of the baby. Teen mothers lack all of this knowledge.
It is important to take the right decision at the right time to avoid such pregnancies. By doing this you will not only save your life but also your baby’s.