Causes and risks of teenage pregnancy

Early pregnancy is an important social problem in recent times, especially in undeveloped countries. Mainly, its causes are related to the economic and educational level of adolescents, being very risky for both the mother and the future baby, given the consequences and complications that may arise.

Adolescence is a stage full of changes in every way, both physically and emotionally, where young people begin to have their first sexual experiences, often without any guidance or education in these aspects. This results in the proliferation of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or an unwanted pregnancy, with all the problems that this entails at these ages.

Adolescence and pregnancy

For the World Health Organization (WHO), adolescence is the period of human development that goes after turning 10 years of age until 19, that is, it occurs just after passing childhood and before becoming adults. being one of the most important stages in the growth of the human being.

In this sense, adolescent pregnancy can be defined as fertilization that occurs in the first two years after menarche (first menstruation), when the young woman is still dependent on her parents and has not reached the legally established age to be considered older or adult. (which may be different depending on the country).

According to the data and figures handled by the WHO, each year some 16 million adolescent mothers give birth between the ages of 15 and 19, while girls under 15 reach approximately one million, being mostly of low economic resources. Likewise, this organization establishes that complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth are one of the main causes of death in girls of these ages.

In this context, we want to talk to you about the possible causes of a teenage pregnancy, as well as the risks and consequences that a pregnant girl could suffer, because this problem continues to be one of the main factors that influences the mother’s mortality. and infants, as well as causing poverty and disease in many countries.

Main causes that produce an early pregnancy

When we investigate the possible causes associated with pregnancy in adolescence, some reasons stand out that are directly related to the poverty and life status of each country. These are:

Having sexual activities without using contraceptive methods, or using them wrongly. This is mainly due to the lack of information in young people regarding sexuality, as well as the lack of knowledge that still exists regarding contraceptive methods, both to prevent pregnancy and to protect against sexual diseases.

Together with this problem of misinformation, we have that there is still a taboo in families to talk openly about sexuality, which aggravates the situation, because the adolescent looks for information in other places, where he is not properly guided.

Marriage during adolescence, due to the role still assigned to women in some societies.

Main risks of a pregnancy during adolescence

Pregnant girls are considered at a medical level as high risk, because the mother is not biologically or psychologically prepared for such an early gestation, so this state involves a series of risks and consequences that we must address.

A young pregnant woman may have the following medical complications:

Due to the unawareness of being pregnant, the mother does not seek medical attention, which means that there is no efficient prenatal control, leading to premature births, congenital malformations or the death of the infant.

A pregnant woman at the age of 15 is more likely to suffer from pre-eclampsia or eclampsia than a more mature woman.

There is a greater risk of suffering an obstetric fistula, which is an injury that produces devastating effects in women.

The probability of suffering a miscarriage is quite high.

The mother may have a high degree of mortality, due to complications during childbirth or because of the desperation to interrupt the pregnancy, which leads her to perform clandestine abortions and that could cause serious hemorrhages or sepsis.

They could also suffer from sexually transmitted infections, which together with pregnancy, put their life and that of their child at risk.

On the other hand, pregnant women at an early age may have the following social and psychological problems:

Young mothers are forced to drop out of school as their socio-economic priorities change due to pregnancy, so they have to seek employment in order to help raise their child.

The risks of an abortion, whether spontaneous or induced, can be the cause of a serious infection or sepsis in the body, which would lead to death if not treated in time. This situation is more complicated in countries where abortion is illegal, because there are clandestine clinics that practice it and which do not have the necessary health control to perform this type of operation.

At the family level, a pregnant woman at the age of 16 usually has unstable relationships or ones that last very little. In addition, in underdeveloped countries this woman will be prone to having several children and often with different men. 

In the psychological aspect, a girl in these conditions usually feels fear of rejection by her peers, stress, rejection of the baby, problems with her family, anxiety, and even serious emotional disorders may appear.

How to avoid teenage pregnancies?

The work that must be carried out with young women to avoid or reduce the risk of pregnancy at an early age must be aimed at good sexual education; accompanied by public policies that help empower women, make equality associated with gender prevail and respect women’s rights. In many countries, it is necessary to find a way to change cultural traditions, teaching women what their role is in society and trying to improve their socioeconomic situation.

In short, we have in our hands an important task to prevent our girls and young people from having to take a pregnancy test at ages when they should be enjoying pleasant experiences, typical of those stages. It is because of the above, that the objective of many organizations is to reduce early pregnancy and in several countries there are programs focused on achieving this goal.

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