Teenage pregnancy Running Head TEENAGE PREGNANCY Teenage

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      Running Head: TEENAGE PREGNANCY

              Teenage pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy in Africa vs in the United States

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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.
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   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 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
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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

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
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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
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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
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contraceptives. Awareness is tried to be made widespread among
both parents and children.


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.
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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.

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