Teen pregnancies are on the rise the world over. This is happening due to heightened sexual awareness, lack of sex education and excessive promiscuity. Peer pressure is making more and more girls open to the idea of losing their virginity at a young age. Remaining a virgin is considered uncool in most western nations.
Sadly, India too is succumbing to this notion despite our staunch values and belief systems. The dilemma of teen pregnancy has several problems associated with it. Let us study some of them in detail.
Top Problems With Teenage Pregnancy
When teen girls get pregnant, the chances of developing a complicated pregnancy are huge. This is because they are underage and their bodies are not sufficiently equipped to take on the arduous 9 months of pregnancy. This gives rise to pregnancy complications, foetal abnormalities and difficulties in birth.
The world is beginning to grapple with malnutrition associated with teenage moms. This happens due to the lack of knowledge and poor maternal care. The girl herself is young and naive and does not know how to take proper care or what to eat. In countries like ours where access to nutritional counselling centres is abysmal, the problem is compounded and is responsible for the rising child and maternal mortality rates.
The Use of Drugs and Alcohol
Western nations are fast succumbing to the problem of teen drug and alcohol abuse. This tends to have an adverse affect on the teen girl’s body especially if she is pregnant.
Drugs, drinking and smoking can lead to serious foetal abnormalities like foetal alcohol syndrome and mental retardation. This can make the post pregnancy care of the newborn baby extremely taxing on the new mother.
A young teen’s mind is not strong enough to handle the mental and emotional trauma associated with a pregnancy. There will be a drastic alteration of her lifestyle and this is something very few teens can come to terms with. She may also have mixed feelings about the baby or may come to hate the baby especially if the pregnancy has been unplanned. She may also develop the ‘I don’t care ‘attitude which could harm her and the baby.
The Problem of Single Mothers
Many young girls find themselves left in the lurch by boys and men who have impregnated them and are now not willing to take on the responsibility of the new born. This is very common in developing countries like ours where the boys are terrified of social ostracism and do not get family or financial support for the baby. A single mother has a tough time looking after a newborn especially if she is a teenager. Unless she has very strong family support, she cannot overcome this hurdle solely on her own.
Most young teen-age mums and fathers find themselves having to drop out of school and college in order to look after the young baby. They may have to take up part time jobs to make ends meet. This has an adverse effect on their qualifications and their future career prospects.
For families that are dithering under the pressure of money problems, having to cope with another new born may be too difficult to digest.
This is true in large families and people who are not so well off. Often parents find themselves being unable to support their teenage daughter who has now become a mum. In such situations, the parents may have to work overtime or find out some means of making ends meet. This is by far the most serious issue to grapple with.
Not Seeking Proper Medical Care
Due to the widespread social ostracism associated with teenage pregnancy, most young girls shy away from proper prenatal care. They may not visit a doctor and avoid checkups altogether for the fear of being found out. In fact, most private hospitals do not see teenage girls frequenting them. Many girls quietly see and visit smaller clinics where there pregnant status can get the discretion it deserves. This also increases their likelihood of encountering quacks which can put them and their baby’s health in serious jeopardy.
Depression is a common fall out of teenage pregnancy. Most young teens undergo acute depression after confirming their pregnancies. They cannot handle the bodily changes and the changes in their lifestyle. Most teens find their freedom to be greatly curbed after they get pregnant. They are no longer studying or doing the fun things that they used to do earlier. This can give rise to clinical depression. Most teens are therefore seen visiting psychiatric centres.
The social outcome of teenage pregnancy is ostracism and ridicule. Girls often find their characters and morals being questioned as young teenage moms especially those who find themselves being pregnant out of wedlock.
This is due to the prevalent social customs, which hold chastity as a virtue. This sort of thinking is predominantly seen in developing countries like India and several other Islamic countries.
There have been cases where young teenage moms have abandoned their infant children because they just cannot take on the responsibility of a young baby. Many times these babies are found at the doorsteps of orphanages. Some are callously dumped to die a death of starvation. Newspapers sharing such stories have become frighteningly common.
Drain On the Country’s Resources
The biggest financial drain is felt on the country’s resources primarily the Medicare funds. It is estimated that billions of dollars are spent by the US alone towards teenage pregnancies. This is a problem of concern as these funds could otherwise have been utilized for other health problems.
A lot of money is also spent on abortions, miscarriages as well complications arising out of teenage pregnancies. Despite the problems associated with teenage pregnancy, the importance of contraception and sex education is still vastly undermined in most nations. People just do not want to talk to their children on the subject. This compounds the problem and leads to ignorance. Ignorance is the biggest factor behind teen pregnancies.