Teenage pregnancy 1 Running Head: TEENAGE PREGNANCY Teenage pregnancy Teenage pregnancy in Africa vs in the United States Your Name Your Institute Teenage pregnancy 2 Abstract This reports explore the cruciality of Teenage pregnancy, particularly in Africa and the United States. It also explores the various causes such as lack of use of contraceptions, domestic violence, etc, which give birth to roots of teenage pregnancy. It also throws light upon the varios measures taken by the Governments to eradicate the roots of this issue, and the effects of teenage pregnancy on the social, cultural and economic standards of the families to whom the teenage mothers belong. It also focuses on the statistical data showing the rates of the various causes leading to the subject of this report, and also the consequences faced as an aftermath. Teenage pregnancy 3 Teenage pregnancy in Africa vs in the United States Teenage pregnancy is basically defined as a non-adult girl (usually aged of 13-17) becoming pregnant. The term applies for the girls and women, who do not reach legal adulthood, become pregnant. Rates of teenage pregnancy vary from 14.3% in some of the sub- Saharan countries of Africa to 0.29% in South Korea. Pregnant teenagers undergo through similar problems as that of women in their twenties and thirties. However, there are extra medical facilities and concerns for young mothers, particularly those under the age of 15 and those residing in developing countries. For young mothers between the age of 15 to 19, other than age, which sometimes may not be a risk factor, various socio-economic risks take their shapes. The facts supporting teenage pregnancy as a social concern in the developed countries comprise lower educational standards, higher rates of poverty, and various poorer aftermaths in the children of teenage mothers. In developed countries, teenage pregnancy is normally outside of marriage, and is considered as a social crime by many cultures and communities. For such reasons, there have been many campaigns which attempt to decipher the causes and reduce the numbers of teenage pregnancies. In other countries, particularly in the developing countries, usually teenage pregnancy is within marriage, and is not considered as a social stigma. According to a report by “Save the Children”, it was found that, annually, about 12-13 million infants are born to 20 years old or less women worldwide. The sub-Saharan Africa encounters the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world, where women get married at a very early age. For example, in Niger, about 87% women were questioned were maried, out of which 53% had had pregnancies before they were 18. In the United States, the teenage birth rate is the highest among the developed countries. Moreover, teenage abortion rate is also quite high. In the 1950s, the teenage pregnancies in the U.S. was at a maximum, but it has lowered since then, although there have been pregnancies after marriage.in the 1990s, the pregnancy rate decreased tremendously. This decrease manifested across all groups that were racial, although the African-American teenagers continued having a higher rate, in comparision to the Euro- Americans or the Asian-americans. In 2006, the birth rate for Teenage pregnancy 4 teenagers rose for the first time since 14 years. This could also lead to a conclusion that teenage pregnancies, too, were on the rise. This could also be because of other possible reasons like reduction in abortion rates, reduction in number of miscarriages. Between 1993-2002. Teenage birth rate in Canada also saw a decline for both teens of age group 15-16, and teens of age group 18-19. Causes of teenage pregnancies In some societies, marriage of girls at an early age is one of the major factors of teenage pregnancy. In some sub-Saharan African countries, early pregnancy is seen as the proof of the fertility of a young girl or woman. So, at times, it is seen as a boon. There are certain societies where adolescent marriage is uncommon, chances of teenage pregnancies are enhanced. Some damsels are quite young during their first intercourse, and some do not know the use of contraceptive, which also result in teen pregnancies. Most of such pregnancies come unplanned. Adolescent or early sexuality According to a study of teenagers of the U.S., about 29%of the population of teens accepted the feeling of a pressure of having sex, about 33% of them accepted being in a sexually active relationship in which things, for them , were moving too fast on sexual grounds, and 24% had fallen into doing acts sexually they did not want. Several surveys indicate that the pressure from peers have been a major factor in encouraging teens to have sex. Alcohol and drugs also encourage both boys and girls to have unplanned sex. Lack of use of contraceptions Young adolescents may be unaware of the better methods of avoiding untimely pregnancies such as contraceptions. In the U.S., about 80% of the pregnancies in the teens are unintended, half of which were to teens who did not use contraceptives, and some due to incorrect or inconsistent use. Most of the girls complain that it was very embarrasing to ask chemists or doctors for contraceptives. In many other cases, contraception is availed, but proves to be inadequate. Inexperienced teens may not use Teenage pregnancy 5 contraceptives or condoms properly, or avoid taking contraceptive pills, the rate of which are higher for the poor, are a major cause of untimely pregnancies. Dure to improper use of condoms, the chances of sexually transmitted diseases also increase. One of the major countries facing the problems of HIV and other STDs is South Africa. According to a survey in South Africa, about 96% of women have the knowledge of using contraceptives, although only 50% of the women use contraceptives. The most common type of contraception used is injection, mostly among the Africans. Due to less use of condoms, the possibilities of the sexually transmitted diseases increase in South Africa. Sexual abuse According to studies, nearly about 12-20% of pregnancies, and 60% of the mothers have unwanted sexual activities. In the U. S., about 60% girls, who have had sex, were forced by their male counterparts who were, on an average, six years senior to them, and 20% of fathers accepted having forced their daughters to have sex with them. In Africa, about 70% of girls, who became pregnant at an early age were reported to be molested, on contrary to the 25% for women who did not become pregnant in their teens were abused. In many developing countries, including some countries in Africa, having an intercourse with a minor is not agreable by law, as minors are supposed to be incompetent in taking decision for an intercourse. However, in developed countries, like the U.S., having an intercourse with a minor is considered rape. In sub-Saharan Africa, women abuse in very common. Surveys show that 60% of teens in Tanzania, 45% girls in Uganda, 40% og girls in Kenya, 80% of girls in Nigeria, and 38% girls in Zambia experience physical molestation. Dating violence Many young girls are quite often in blasphemous relationship, thus leading to their pregnancies. Mothers below the age of 18 are more likely to be physically abused by their counterparts than mothers above the age of 18. According to studies in Washington, 70 percent of young mothers are physivally abused in the United States, 15-21% have experienced work or school wreck. 51% of the girls reported experiencing attempts to sabotage their efforts to avoid pregnancies. In the age group 11-16, about 60%, in the age Teenage pregnancy 6 group 17-19, about 55 % have to face domestic violence. In African countries, similar cases have been surveyed, and about 55% of the girls were denied birth control measures by their boyfriends or partners. Socioeconomic factors Higher rates of teen pregnancy are also associated with poverty. Economically backward countries like Niger have higher numbers of young mothers thann than in the developed countries. Teenage pregnancy is gaining a larger attention in Africa and is giving birth to various socio economic problems, including child abandonment, infant mortality rate, illegal abortion and many more. Childhood environment Girls exposed to domestic violence in their childhood days are more likely to fall prey to teenage pregnancy. According to a survey, 33% of teenage pregnancies can be reduced by avoiding domestic violence. Boys grown up with an abused mother have greater inclinations for impregnating a girl in their teenage. Higher rates of teenage sexuality are more common with girls whose fathers have abandoned their families. If in a family, the elders were impregnated in their teens, girls have morechances to have sexual activities. Impropoer parental care and supervision also lead to teenage pregnancy. Steps taken to prevent teenage pregnancies In the U.S., “sex education” is a topic of much debate. Tempearnce-only education is provided by some schools and pledges for virginity are also very common. Public schools provide temperance-plus programs that encourage temperance, but also provide education about contraceptives. The major practices adopted are invention of males in the process of prevention, making interventions that are relevant. The actual problem in Africa is that parents consider ginving sex education to their children is like allowing them for immorality in that case. Many believe it is a proscription to allow their daughters for sex education. Sex education is given, though at a small-scale. International agencies provide education about proper use of Teenage pregnancy 7 contraceptives. Awareness is tried to be made widespread among both parents and children. Conclusion Various steps taken in both the U.S. and Africa have helped reduce teenage pregnancies and have helped spread awareness among the adolescents about the proper use of contraceptives and preventive measures. Undoubtedly, the U.S. has taken up better and effective steps against it. The steps taken by most of the African countries are also commendable, taking into consideration that this is just the beginning. There are social supports for the teenage mothers. The attitudes of people against teenage mothers have quite changed in both the U.S. and Africa. The families which do accept teenage mothers luckily get chance to access higher education and a safe future. In many African countries , child marriage laws have been implemented. Child marriage has remained one of the major causes to teenage pregnancies. in the U.S., 40% of the teenage mothers are not maried to their counterparts at the time of their pregnancy. Even then many of them are accepted by their respective families. Infant mortality rates, arising due to teenage pregnancies have also reduced. Majority of teenage girls prefer bearing the baby, in contrast to the minority in Africa, who prefer aborting the child in order to avoid social and cultural embarrasment. In both the U.S. and Africa, teenage pregnancy ahs remained to be one of the major issues of the general public, and, no matter how proper steps may be taken, it still is a social issue. Teenage pregnancy 8 References Adegbenso , C. A., (1999), Nigeria School Health, Vol. 11 No. 1 & 2. Adesioye, D., (1992, Oct 22), "Teenage Pregnancy: Mothers Speak Out", Daily Times p. 21.