Millions of teen girls worldwide become pregnant each year. This happens in both developed and developing countries. Girls between the ages of 15 and 19 greatly encompass this group. Teen pregnancy is a global health crisis, with girls suffering complications from their pregnancies every year.
What are the Most Common Problems Among Pregnant Teens?
According to the World Health Organization or WHO, 21 million girls ranging in age from 15 to 19 become pregnant. Another 15 million teens under the age of 15 also become pregnant, especially in developing nations.
Around 16 million teen girls between 15 and 19 years of age give birth in developing countries. Another 2.5 million who are younger than 16 also give birth in those same regions.
Teenage pregnancies bring about myriad health problems and complications related to childbirth. Each year, girls between 15 and 19 who become pregnant obtain abortions. Unfortunately, many of these procedures are illegal or unobtainable, which means girls may seek those that are unsafe.
Younger mothers between the ages of 10 and 19 also face more pregnancy complications compared with adult women who become pregnant. They face greater risks of eclampsia, preterm delivery and low birth weight compared to pregnant women between 20 and 24 years of age.
Adolescent Birth Rates Vary Over the Years
Globally, the adolescent birth rates have varied over the years. In 1990, the number of teens who gave birth was 65 births per 1,000 young mothers. However, by 2015, that number had declined to 47 births per 1,000 young mothers. In spite of the numbers of teen pregnancies and births among teen mothers, however, the total global population of teenagers only continues to increase. This also leads to projections that the number of teen pregnancies will also increase by the year 2030. It’s estimated that most of these pregnancies will occur in Africa.
The numbers are also uneven regarding the progress over the past few years with fewer teen pregnancies. While the West African region has seen 115 births per 1,000 young women, there was also a low of only seven births per 1,000 young women in East Asia. Teen pregnancies are also more common in indigenous and rural areas compared with urban areas.
Why Do Teen Pregnancies Occur?
Interestingly, teen pregnancy is a problem in which the financial status of the family is irrelevant. It occurs in low, middle and high incomes across the world. However, it’s more likely to occur in areas where people are more marginalized, have less education or employment opportunities and are poverty-stricken.
In some cases, pregnancies among teens are planned. Some girls in certain parts of the world may feel pressured to get married young and become mothers young. Annually, around 15 million teen girls marry before they reach their 18th birthday. Out of those young women, ranging in age from 15 to 19, 90 percent of births occur within one year of marriage.
Other teen pregnancies are unplanned due to a variety of reasons. Teen girls and boys alike may be too embarrassed to obtain contraception. In some cases, they may not have the resources to get barrier methods or birth control. Some are scared of talking about these matters with their parents or other relatives or There might be a stigma surrounding premarital sex for some teens.
Sadly, some teen girls who end up pregnant were raped.
What are the Health Results of Teen Pregnancy?
Teen pregnancy carries significant health results. In most cases, when a teenage girl becomes a mother, it’s often believed that it occurred as a result of various problems and result in social exclusion. Sadly, teen mothers and fathers are more likely to live in poverty and be unemployed. Teen mothers are also far more likely to give birth prematurely and have babies with low birth weight. Once their children become toddlers, the children are more likely to suffer accidents.
Social exclusion can increase a teen’s risk of worse health and social support. Children of teen mothers are also at greater risk of having poor health. Not having adequate access to the support they need can have negative results for young mothers and their babies.
Additionally, some teens who become pregnant may even hide their pregnancies, which means they lack the prenatal care they need to ensure that their health needs and their babies’ are addressed. Teens are also at a higher risk of sexually transmitted infections or STIs. Their babies are at greater risk of birth defects as well.
Sadly, many teen girls enter into new sexual relationships each year but don’t think about the consequences. Once they end up pregnant, their health and that of their unborn children may suffer.