Adolescent or Teenage pregnancy is pregnancy in human females under the age of 20 at the time that the pregnancy ends. A pregnancy can take place in a pubertal female before menarche (the first menstrual period), which signals the possibility of fertility, but usually occurs after menarche. In well-nourished girls, menarche usually takes place around the age of 12 or 13.
A teenager, or teen, is a young person whose age falls within the range from thirteen through nineteen. They are called teenagers because their age number ends in “teen”. Someone aged 18 or 19 is also considered a young adult. Usage by ordinary people varies, and also varies in different societies. Most societies traditionally had a formal ceremony to mark the change from childhood to adulthood. During puberty, rapid mental and physical development occurs. Adolescence is the name for this transition period from childhood to adulthood.
CAUSES OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY
In some societies in the world including Nigeria, early marriage and traditional gender roles are important factors in the rate of teenage pregnancy. The average marriage age differs by states, and states where teenage marriages are common experience higher levels of teenage pregnancies. In katsina state, early marriage and pregnancy is more common in traditional rural communities than cities. The lack of education on safe sex, whether it is from parents, schools, or otherwise, is a cause of teenage pregnancy. Many teenagers are not taught about methods of birth control and how to deal with peers who pressure them into having sex before they are ready. Many pregnant teenagers do not have any cognition of the central facts of sexuality.
Following are some of the contributing factors or causes of Adolescent pregnancy
1. Lack of Parental Guidance: Most people evade their children from talking about sex. In some cases, they provide false information regarding sex and discourage their children to participate in any informative discussion about sex. In some cases, teenage mothers are not well educated about sex before getting pregnant
2. Adolescent Sexual Behavior: Among the adolescents, peer pressure is a major factor that encourages the teenage boys and girls to indulge in sexual activities.
3. Inadequate Knowledge about Safe Sex: Most adolescents are unaware of safe sex. They probably have no access to the traditional methods of preventing pregnancy.
4. Exploitation by Older Men: This is another major factor that contributes to pregnancy among the teenagers. Those girls who date older men are more likely to become pregnant before they attain womanhood. Rape, sexual exploitations etc. also takes place that leads to unwanted pregnancy among teenage girls.
5. Socio Economic Factors: Teenage girls who belong to the poor families are more likely to become pregnant. Researchers have found that even in the developed countries teenage pregnancy occurs most commonly among the deprived sections.
6. Lack of supervision: Lack of supervision before teens are ready for independence is one of the causes of teenage pregnancy. Adolescents push boundaries. Look, I know it is easier to let your kid go hang at the mall or wander around an outside shopping area than it is to lay down the rules and stick by them. But if they aren’t at the mall for something specific, they have no business being there.
Knowing where your teens are going and whom they are with is basic Parenting 101. If you don’t know the kids they are hanging out with, get to know them. Allow your teen to have friends over; then make sure you are checking on them regularly down in that basement!
7. Low self-esteem: Low self-esteem is among the causes of teen pregnancy. Children who are not shown love and affection from parents will seek it out with their peer group. Many adolescents report feeling pressured by their peers to have sex before they are ready.
8. Families with two parents: Families with two parents in the home have a lower incidence of teen pregnancies. However, even as a single parent, you can still extend the love, affection, and care your child needs. As a single parent you have less time for yourself, but your child needs a positive role model.
9. Role of drug and alcohol use: Inhibition-reducing drugs and alcohol may possibly encourage unintended sexual activity. If so, it is unknown if the drugs themselves directly influence teenagers to engage in riskier behavior, or whether teenagers who engage in drug use are more likely to engage in sex. Correlation does not imply causation. The drugs with the strongest evidence linking them to teenage pregnancy are alcohol, cannabis, “ecstasy” and other substituted amphetamines. The drugs with the least evidence to support a link to early pregnancy are opioids, such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone, of which a well-known effect is the significant reduction of libido – it appears that teenage opioid users have significantly reduced rates of conception compared to their non-using, and alcohol, “ecstasy”, cannabis, and amphetamine using peers.
10. Lack of contraception: Adolescents may lack knowledge of, or access to, conventional methods of preventing pregnancy, as they may be too embarrassed or frightened to seek such information. Contraception for teenagers presents a huge challenge for the clinician
According to The Encyclopedia of Women’s Health, published in 2004, there has been an increased effort to provide contraception to adolescents via family planning services and school-based health, such as HIV prevention education.