Teenage Pregnancy: Signs, Effects, Diagnosis, and Prevention

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Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy is a pregnancy in a woman of 19 years of age or younger. A woman can get pregnant if she has vaginal sex with a man at any age after she’s begun having regular monthly periods.

There is currently a huge number of young women in the age range of 13-19. So, though the birthrates are declining, the absolute number of teenagers is increasing. These statistics do not distinguish between intentional Teenage Pregnancy and unintentional Teenage Pregnancy, under family planning services or out of the family planning services.

How to know about pregnancy?

You will probably first came to know that you are pregnant when you skip a regular period. But if you get a very light period around the time you expect it, don’t assume you are not pregnant. It’s possible to have very light bleeding in the first few weeks of pregnancy.

What are the signs of pregnancy?

teenage pregnancy signs
  • Missed or very light period
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea, often in the morning
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling abdomen
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Fainting
  • Feeling tired
  • Weight gain

How does teenage pregnancy affect teenage mothers?

Teenage mothers are at a higher risk for high blood pressure related to pregnancy and its complications than normal age mothers. Risks for the baby include

Teenage mothers have a high chance of becoming anemic. Anemia is a reduction in the number of red blood cells (RBCs) which carries oxygen to the body and carbon-dioxide out from the body. This makes teenage mothers weak and tired and affects the development of the baby.

       If a teen gets pregnant she might feel frightened and worried about telling her family and friends. Often they don’t talk to someone and not getting the help and support they need which makes them feel more isolated and depressed. Sometimes it may cause psychological disorders. This can lead to problems at the home and at school.

         Many pregnant teens drop out of school, and some never complete their education. That means a lot of mothers who get pregnant as teenagers live in poverty.

        Women who first got pregnant as teens are more likely to have more than one child. A woman with little education and multiple children to care for will find it very difficult to earn a living.

How does teenage pregnancy affect babies?

For a healthy baby, a pregnancy should last for 40 weeks. The baby which delivered before 37 weeks of pregnancy remains immature. Teenage mothers are more likely to give birth to premature babies.

              Sometimes, these babies deliver before complete development in their bodies and brains. Based on how premature the baby is, this can lead to lifelong difficulties with health and development. These babies also remain underweight and low birth weight affects brain development. They face difficulties learning also. Teenage mothers are also at a higher risk of infant mortality.

How is pregnancy can be tested?

pregnant-test kit

Almost all medicine stores sell home pregnancy test kits. These kits are designed to detect pregnancy hormones in your urine. The accuracy becomes more if you use them more than a week after your missed period. If the test indicates you are not pregnant, wait another week, and take one more test to make sure.

If it shows positive, consult with your doctor. They will confirm your pregnancy with a blood test and maybe a physical exam.

What can aware of the teenagers about pregnancy?

  • Realistic sex education
  • Family Planning Services
  • Parents and Sex Education
  • Sex Education

What is Teenage Parenthood?

Teenage parenthood is by no means a new social phenomenon. In the past, women have tended to begin childbearing during their teens and early twenties. But during the past two decades, this has actually declined. There are several factors that contribute to the current attention focused on teenage pregnancy and parenthood. 

There is currently a large number of young women in the 13 to 19 age range so that while the birthrates are declining, the absolute number of teenagers is increasing. 

These statistics do not distinguish between intentional and unintentional pregnancies. Data shows only one in six pregnancies concluded as births following marriage, and eight in ten premarital teenage pregnancies were unintended. The declining birthrate is not consistent for all teenagers: among those 14 or younger, the birthrate is increasing. These trends are occurring at a time when contraceptives are commonly available to teenagers for avoiding unwanted pregnancy. There are a number of evidence which shows the unfavorable consequences of unintended teenage pregnancy and teenage parenthood, whether intended or not, has continued to mount.

How much is the Teenage Pregnancy Rate?

The number of pregnancies increased among teenagers in all age groups during the 1970s, but among those who were sexually active, the pregnancy rate has been declining. Because of increased and more consistent use of contraceptives by teenagers, the rate of pregnancy among them has been increasing more slowly than their rate of sexual activity. Although the number of teenagers who are sexually active increased by two-thirds over the period of the 1970s

          Of those who had realized they could get pregnant, the major reason given for not using a method was that they had not expected to have intercourse. Some fraction of people who did not practice contraception because they were pregnant, the overwhelming majority were pregnant unintentionally. Many said that they had wanted to use a method but “couldn’t under the circumstances,” or that they did not know about contraception or where to get it. 

Relationship to Pregnancy

relation- teenage pregnancy

The relationship between pregnancy and contraceptive use is dramatic: a large group of sexually active teenagers who have never used a method have experienced a premarital pregnancy, compared to a small group of people who have used a method inconsistently, some of them who have always used some method (including withdrawal), and a negligible amount of those who have always used a medically prescribed method (the pill, IUD, or diaphragm). 

Sex Education & Religion

The subject of sex education remains a divisive one. On one side are those who argue that peoples should learn to accept adolescent sexuality and make guidance and birth control more easily available, On the other side are those who contend that sex education is up to the parents, not the state, and that teaching children about birth control is tantamount to condoning promiscuity or violating family religious beliefs and values.

Sex Education in The Schools

Only a handful of states require or even encourage sex education, and fewer still encourage teaching about birth control or abortion. Most states leave the question of sex education up to the local school boards. Only a minority, however, provide such instruction.

Parents and Sex Education

Parents are a child’s earliest models of sexuality; they communicate with their children about sex and sexual values nonverbally. However, most adolescents report that they have never been given any advice about sex by either parent, even though a majority of teenagers prefer their parents and counselors as sources of sex information. 

Studies indicate that both parents and their children believe that they should be talking about sexuality, but that parents are extremely uncomfortable doing so. Organizations, govt.  and non-govt. including churches, schools, Planned Parenthood affiliates, and other agencies serving young people, offer programs designed to help parents to teach their children about sexuality. Most would agree that sex education should start early before a child’s sexuality becomes an issue. 

What is Family Planning Services?

Most teenagers and adults approve of making contraceptives available to teenagers, and most parents favor family planning clinics providing birth control services. The clinics have had the expected result of improving the quality and consistency of contraceptive use among teenagers.

However, most teenagers are sexually active for many months before ever seeking birth control help from a family planning clinic or physician. Very few come to a clinic in anticipation of initiating sexual intercourse, and many come because they fear—often correctly—that they are pregnant. The major reason teenagers give for the delay is the concern that their parents will find out about the visit. More than half of teenage patients have told their parents about their clinic visit or they bring their parents along with them and only about one-quarter would not come if the clinic required parental notification. But most of these would continue to be sexually active, using less effective methods or no contraceptives and many thousands would get pregnant as a result. 

How to solve the Teenage pregnancy?

sex education teenage pregnancy

Although we have most of the knowledge and resources needed to solve the problem of teenage pregnancy, we have failed to do so this is because of the lack of growing public concern. The elements of a comprehensive national program have been put forward, with varying emphases, by a number of government and non-governmental organizations.

Teenage Pregnancy: What is realistic sex education? 

 It is a vast network of

  • Preventive family planning services.
  • Pregnancy counseling services. 
  • Adequate prenatal, obstetric, and pediatric care for teenage mothers and their children.
  • Educational employment and social services for adolescent parents.
  • Coverage by national health insurance of all health services related to teenage pregnancy and childbearing. 

None of the above programs alone can possibly solve the many problems that are associated with teenage pregnancy. 

                These problems can be solved by many elements of society like parents, religious institutions, schools, and government agencies. Unlike the previous days now most people agree about the importance of reproductive health services and doing research for teenagers, but yet there is a large gap of willingness to pay the costs for such programs in most of the communities of the nation.

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