Teenage pregnancy has become a global issue that has impacted on every country in the world no matter it is developed or under developed.
Many countries in the world including Sri Lanka are implementing various programmes to address this situation. However, it has become a difficult task to find a productive solution due to the lack of attention and other complex reasons.
However, teenage pregnancy should be prevented to create a good and secured society.
Teenage pregnancy is
Teenage pregnancy means an underage girl between the ages of 13-19 is conceived. It has become a sensitive issue in Sri Lanka. In the world, 90% of teenage pregnancy occurs in developing countries. In Sri Lanka most of teenage mothers are reported in the Eastern Province. As reported by health sectors, about 20,000 teenage mothers are reported annually in Sri Lanka, and 90% thereof became pregnant due to love affairs. Hence, parents and other adults should pay more attention on love affairs of teenagers as such immature children could be easily deceived. As to reports in health sector around 10% of teenage pregnancies occur due to rapes.These are official information reported to health sector but the real picture may be worse. Because much information prevail uncovered due to various reasons. Teenage pregnancy is not a spontaneous act. It is caused by various reasons. We should be aware of these reasons to control these teenage pregnancies.
Reasons for teenage pregnancy
1. Unawareness on sexual education.
2. Low income.
3. Mothers residing overseas.
4. Interruption to education.
5. Curiosity and need to try.
6. Cultural reasons
7. Mobile phones.
There exists a massive crisis in sexual education in Sri Lanka. There is no proper way for teenagers as well as youths and adults to obtain a formal sexual education which results in searching for information regarding sex through informal sources (friends, media, pornography etc.). This causes a big damage. Hence, this is an area that more attention should be paid by adults as well as educational policy makers.
There is a clear relationship between teenage mother and income of the family. World Health Organization Reports affirm that 90% of teenage mothers are reported in developing countries. It is evident in Sri Lanka too. As mentioned above most of teenage mothers in Sri Lanka are reported in the Eastern Province, which is one of the most underdeveloped provinces in Sri Lanka, and it is followed by Uva and North Central Provinces.
Foreign employment of mothers of teenage girls is another reason for teenage pregnancy which is directly related to low income of the family as mentioned above.
Most of mothers in such low income families think that the easiest way to increase their income is to work as an overseas employee in Middle East countries as a housewife. In such cases they tend to keep their daughters with their father or a close relation. Now it has been experienced that this is a risky and unsafe act. Whether we like or not, most of teenage mothers in such families were conceived due to their father or a close relation.
Despite legislations made to restrict mothers of teenage girls being employed overseas many women are employed abroad ignoring the laws. Interruption of school education is directly connected to above two reasons, and such teenagers become victims of various persons and eventually become teenage mothers. Curiosity is a common thing for any person. Curiosity in sexual matters is caused by the lack of formal sexual education. Actions motivated by such curiosity mostly end in teenage pregnancy. This could only be controlled through providing proper sexual education. There is a vast responsibility for mass media as some programmes published in such media help developing curiosity in teenagers.
Teenage pregnancy may also caused by cultural reasons. It could be witnessed in India, Bangladesh, and African countries in large scale. Some communities in Sri Lanka also encourage such underage marriages on cultural reasons.
Mobile Phones and Facebook has a great impact on teenage pregnancy due to the ease of maintaining relationships, access to internet and communication facilities through these technological tools.
Heath risk caused by teenage pregnancy There is a greater possibility of short term, midterm and long term health issues for teenage mothers. They could be directly affected by following health issues.
Risk of abortion
Blood pressure issues
High blood pressure
Improper positioning of afterbirth
It's not all
In addition to above issues such teenagers face following mental disorders and most probably destroy their future.
a. Mental disorders including depression
b. The mind of a teenager is not ready to become a mother.
There is a greater risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
These are the consequences faced by the mother. Then what about the child? We should pay attention on that too.
These children may be marginalized by the society/family. He could also be,
a. Low weight and immature baby.
b. Loss of mother's father's affection
c. Various health issues.
d. Possibility of confronting in child abuses.
These are common and unfortunate situations seen in the society. It is not easy to control them. Instead the most practical solution is to prevent teenage pregnancy. How could it be done?
How can teenage pregnancy be prevented?
1. Provide proper sex education from school age.
2. Provide proper affection of mother.
3. Explain the value of a family.
4. Provide understanding on society.
Teenage pregnancy should be prevented ourselves. The most important step that should be taken is to provide a proper sex education from the school age. It is somewhat challenging within our culture as it has limited discussing sexual matters with children. However, if we don’t take that decision, our culture as well as our future generation would be prejudiced. A basic knowledge on sexuality should be given before the children are destroyed by sexual information gained through informal sources. Providing proper affection of parents is the most successful way for controlling teenage pregnancy.
Children tend to search for affection and protection of others when they lack the affection of parents. Parents should understand that they will lose their children in their busy life tangled with their occupation and money. Hence, parents who search for foreign employment and who are working 24 hours a day for strengthening their economy should reconsider their lifestyle. As we discussed above there is a greater possibility of teenage pregnancy regarding girls in families which the mother is engaged in foreign employment.
Today, many are unaware of the value of a family. In today's society sometimes parents and children don’t even see each other's faces. The girl who gets aboard the school van at dawn comes home in the evening after attending tuition classes. She has no time to talk with parents. If the parents are busy alike it is most unfortunate.
We should give our children a good understanding on the society. Children who are grown inside houses are distracted as soon as they enter into the society. Hence, we should compulsorily give a good understanding on the society to our children. We should eliminate teenage pregnancy to clean our hearts as a country and a society.