Adolescent or teenage pregnancy is defined as pregnancy in girls aged 19 or younger. In the United States, adolescent pregnancy and babies born to adolescents have dropped since reaching an all-time high in 1990. This is mostly due to the increased use of condoms. Adolescent pregnancy is a complex issue with many reasons for concern. Kids age 12 – 14 years old are more likely than other adolescents to have unplanned sexual intercourse . They are more likely to be talked into having into sex. Up to two-thirds of adolescent pregnancies occur in teens age 18 – 19 years old.
Risk factors for adolescent pregnancy include:
- Younger age
- Poor school performance
- Economic disadvantage
- Older male partner
- Single or teen parents (1)
(image credit: http://www.cdc.gov/TeenPregnancy/AboutTeenPreg.htm)
Developing countries proudly claim of steadily declining prevalence of teenage pregnancies, thanks to a functioning reproductive health program. On the contrary, our country’s demographics surged by 70% in a decade’s period. It is not dumbfounding to learn this as we have no reproductive health program in effect.
Here are some actual cases I have come across with…
Case 1. 15-year-old innocent girl, living with her grandmother, acquaints with a 21-year-old guy she first knew as text mate. On their first meeting, the girl was talked to having sex. Being innocent that she is, she agreed. A few days later, she became pregnant while the guy never showed up thereafter.
Case 2. 15-year-old third year high school student begets a boyfriend who is 17-years old. No guidance from parents, no sex education. As teenagers, they tend to experiment. Girl became pregnant.
Case 3. 17-years old female freshman, meets a fellow 17-year-old boyfriend. She became pregnant and delivered. Luckily the baby was healthy.
Case 4. 19 years old girl became pregnant while studying in the city. Parents of both are from the province. She never told anyone except her boyfriend that she was pregnant. She never went home while pregnant. She never had prenatal check-ups. At 28 weeks of pregnancy, she had preterm labor and she had to be admitted for control of labor. Labor couldn’t be controlled and she had to deliver prematurely. Baby was admitted immediately to the neonatal ICU. Only then were the parents of both the teenagers notified – that the girl was pregnant, that she delivered, that the baby was premature, and that the baby is in critical condition. (Can you imagine how shocked the parents were upon learning all these facts in a few minutes phone call?) The grandparents then rushed to attend to the mother and the baby. Unfortunately, baby had severe complications and didn’t make it.
Case 5. 13-years old girl, just recently graduated from elementary school, allowed to have a boyfriend, who was 15. She became pregnant and had to undergo emergency cesarean section for complications of labor.
Case 6. 19-years old student in an urban school while parents were left in the province. At 2nd year college, she stopped, kept on dating boyfriend, but pretending she was still going to classes. Her allowance was being used for their dates and what have you. She became pregnant but never informed parents of the condition. One time, mother visited her (while she was 28 weeks old pregnant). She had abdominal cramps. Her mother thought she was having appendicitis. She was brought to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. The initial attending resident was a surgeon, as expected by the mother, called an obstetrics resident, which surprised the mother. Upon evaluation by the OB resident, clueless that the mother didn’t know her daughter was pregnant, informed the mother the her daughter is about to give birth as the cervix was already fully dilated. She had to undergo immediate cesarean section as the baby was in breech position. (Preterm babies usually have bigger head relative to their body size. Thus when in breech position, there is a tendency for the head to be trapped within the uterus after the body was delivered, hence the indication for cesarean delivery). Baby was critical and was then at the neonatal intensive care unit. Luckily, they were able to support the needs of the baby and the latter survived.
I could go on enumerating cases with various surrounding circumstances and dramas. For as long as the Catholic Church keeps on intervening and “shielding” these young people with its infallible “teaching” and “morality,” preventing formal sex and reproductive health education to be incorporated into the student’s curricula, this social problem will keep on occurring, increasing and menacing each family, as what obviously happened; 70% increase over a 10-year period!
Seriously, THIS HAS TO STOP!