CAUSES AND REMEDY OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY IN NIGERIA
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 NIGERIA
In some societies in 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 teenage pregnancy in Nigeria:
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.
11. Age discrepancy in relationships: Teenage girls in relationships with older boys, and in particular with adult men, are more likely to become pregnant than teenage girls in relationships with boys their own age. They are also more likely to carry the baby to term rather than have an abortion. This study found that, compared with nonabused mothers, abused adolescent mothers initiated sex earlier, had sex with much older partners, and engaged in riskier, more frequent, and promiscuous sex.
12. Sexual abuse: Studies from NGOs in Nigeria have found that 11–20% of pregnancies in teenagers are a direct result of rape, while about 60% of teenage mothers had unwanted sexual experiences preceding their pregnancy. Before age 15, a majority of first-intercourse experiences among females are reported to be non-voluntary; the Guttmacher Institute found that 60% of girls who had sex before age 15 were coerced by males who on average were six years their senior. One in five teenage fathers admitted to forcing girls to have sex with them.
Multiple studies have indicated a strong link between early childhood sexual abuse and subsequent teenage pregnancy in industrialized countries. Up to 70% of women who gave birth in their teens were molested as young girls; by contrast, 25% of women who did not give birth as teens were molested.
13. Dating violence: Studies have indicated that adolescent girls are often in abusive relationships at the time of their conceiving. They have also reported that knowledge of their pregnancy has often intensified violent and controlling behaviors on part of their boyfriends. Girls under age 18 are twice as likely to be beaten by their child’s father as women over age 18.
In a study of 379 pregnant or parenting teens and 95 teenage girls without children, 62% of girls aged 11–15 and 56% of girls aged 16–19 reported experiencing domestic violence at the hands of their partners. Moreover, 51% of the girls reported experiencing at least one instance where their boyfriend attempted to sabotage their efforts to use birth control.
13. Socioeconomic factors: Teenage pregnancy has been defined predominantly within the research field and among social agencies as a social problem. Poverty is associated with increased rates of teenage pregnancy. Economically poor countries such as Niger and Bangladesh have far more teenage mothers compared with economically rich countries such as Switzerland and Japan.
14.Childhood environment: Women exposed to abuse, domestic violence, and family strife in childhood are more likely to become pregnant as teenagers, and the risk of becoming pregnant as a teenager increases with the number of adverse childhood experiences. According to a 2004 study, one-third of teenage pregnancies could be prevented by eliminating exposure to abuse, violence, and family strife. The researchers note that “family dysfunction has enduring and unfavorable health consequences for women during the adolescent years, the childbearing years, and beyond.” When the family environment does not include adverse childhood experiences, becoming pregnant as an adolescent does not appear to raise the likelihood of long-term, negative psychosocial consequences. Studies have also found that boys raised in homes with a battered mother, or who experienced physical violence directly, were significantly more likely to impregnate a girl.
Studies have also found that girls whose fathers left the family early in their lives had the highest rates of early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy. Girls whose fathers left them at a later age had a lower rate of early sexual activity, and the lowest rates are found in girls whose fathers were present throughout their childhood. Even when the researchers took into account other factors that could have contributed to early sexual activity and pregnancy, such as behavioral problems and life adversity, early father-absent girls were still about five times more likely in the United States and three times more likely in New Zealand to become pregnant as adolescents than were father-present girls.
15. Low educational status: Low educational expectations have been pinpointed as a risk factor. A girl is also more likely to become a teenage parent if her mother or older sister gave birth in her teens. A majority of respondents in a 1988 Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies survey attributed the occurrence of adolescent pregnancy to a breakdown of communication between parents and child and also to inadequate parental supervision.
16. Peer Pressure: During adolescence, teenagers often feel pressure to make friends and fit in with their peers. Many times these teens let their friends influence their decision to have sex even when they do not fully understand the consequences associated with the act. Teenagers have sex as a way to appear cool and sophisticated, but in some cases the end result is an unplanned teen pregnancy. The Kaiser Family Foundation states that more than 29 percent of pregnant teens reported that they felt pressured to have sex, and 33 percent of pregnant teens stated that they felt that they were not ready for a sexual relationship, but proceeded anyway because they feared ridicule or rejection.
Many health educators have argued that comprehensive sex education would effectively reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, although opponents argue that such education encourages more and earlier sexual activity. Interventions combining education and contraceptives appear to reduce unplanned teenage pregnancy; however no one intervention yet stands out as the most effective.
Preventing Teenage Pregnancy
The only way to be sure you won’t get pregnant is not to have sexual intercourse. However, there are many methods to reduce your chances of becoming pregnant if you are sexually active.
1. Prescription Birth Control
Prescription birth control is available through your doctor or a women’s health clinic.
An IUD is a device a doctor implants in your uterus. Hospitalization is not required. The IUD prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. It has a 99 percent rate of effectiveness (Planned Parenthood, 2007).
Several birth control methods affect hormone levels in your body, so you’re less likely to get pregnant. The most effective is a birth control implant, a very small plastic stick that is inserted under the skin of your arm. Implants stay in place for up to three years. They have a 95 percent rate of effectiveness (Planned Parenthood, 2007).
The diaphragm and cervical cap are devices you place in your vagina when you’re going to have sex. They block sperm from entering your uterus. The effectiveness of these devices is 76 to 85 percent (Planned Parenthood, 2007).
2. Over-the-Counter Birth Control
You can also buy over-the-counter birth control at a drugstore and some supermarkets. These methods are not as effective as prescription birth control, but they do reduce your chance of getting pregnant.
Teen pregnancy rates have been dropping in the United States for at least 20 years. Experts think this is because more sexually active teens use condoms. Proper use of a condom can keep you from getting pregnant. Condoms also protect you from many sexually transmitted diseases when used correctly. The effectiveness of condoms is 76 to 85 percent (Planned Parenthood, 2007).
4. Spermicidal Foam
Sponges treated with spermicide also block sperm from entering your uterus. Used properly, these methods prevent pregnancy with an effectiveness of 75 to 85 percent (Planned Parenthood, 2007).
5. Morning-After Pill
Available in the brands Plan B One-Step, Ela, and Next Choice, this medicine contains hormones that prevent your body from releasing eggs into your uterus and irritate the lining of the uterus to inhibit implantation. Eggs have to come into contact with sperm for you to get pregnant and need to implant in order to start developing properly. The morning-after pill might be a good choice for you if you think your regular birth control didn’t work or you weren’t using birth control. Women 17 and older do not need a prescription for the morning-after pill. The effectiveness of the morning-after pill is 89 percent (Planned Parenthood, 2012).
6. Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs
According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 2008, “Adolescents who received comprehensive sex education had lower risk of pregnancy than adolescents who received abstinence-only or no sex education” (JAH, 2008).
Many communities offer counseling and support programs that help prevent teen pregnancy. These groups can provide information on birth control and help teens understand their own sexual limits so they don’t get into situations where they might have unprotected sex and get pregnant. Some programs offer peer counseling, since it might feel more comfortable talking to someone your own age. Contact your health department for information on programs in your area.
Pregnant teenagers face many of the same obstetrics issues as other women. There are, however, additional medical concerns for mothers aged under 15. For mothers aged 15–19, risks are associated more with socioeconomic factors than with the biological effects of age.
Several studies have examined the socioeconomic, medical, and psychological impact of pregnancy and parenthood in teens. Life outcomes for teenage mothers and their children vary; other factors, such as poverty or social support, may be more important than the age of the mother at the birth. Many solutions to counteract the more negative findings have been proposed. Teenage parents who can rely on family and community support, social services and child-care support are more likely to continue their education and get higher paying jobs as they progress with their education. it was recommended that since the parents has a greater role to play in the life of adolescent therefore parents should maintain stable and positive relationship with their children. And also parents encourage deep religious spiritual affiliation and realistic academic expectation.