Too Young For It! India's Battle With Teen Pregnancies
Currently, India is the second most populous country in the world. However, this isn’t the only reason to worry about teen pregnancies.
Being the most populous country in the world isn’t something to boast about. However, when it comes to teen pregnancies, an increase in the country’s population ranks considerably lower on the list of reasons to worry about.
Before we look at the reasons, let’s look at some numbers.
Some glaring teen pregnancy numbers
According to the 2019-2021 National Family Health Survey (NFHS), almost 7% of females between the ages of 15 and 19 years were either pregnant or were already mothers. Of them, 5% were mothers already, and 2% were pregnant with their first child during the survey.
In 2018, India had around 16 million teenage pregnancies, 11% of the world’s pregnancies. One of the reasons for this could be that 27% of women between the ages of 20 and 24 years were married before they turned 18.
These numbers can go down considerably with some effort. Allow us to give some reasons why you must put in the effort. Let’s look at why teen pregnancies are to be avoided.
Effects on mothers
It is a very evident fact that there is almost no sex education in the Indian education system. This can be the primary reason for STDs and pregnancies among teenagers.
Thus, many teenage girls don’t realise they’re pregnant till it’s too late. Once they realise this, a series of problems are lined up for most of them.
Pregnant teenagers, especially those younger than 15 years, are vulnerable to anaemia, low blood iron and pregnancy-related high blood pressure. According to the NFHS data, 52% of Indian pregnant women aged 15-49 years suffered from anaemia.
Anaemia during teenage pregnancy is usually because of a lack of caloric intake needed during pregnancy. This is incredibly persistent among teenagers who need increased iron intake due to the expansion of the red cell mass during adolescence.
Preeclampsia or high blood pressure due to pregnancy is also a common problem for pregnant teenagers. This can lead to premature delivery or low birth weight of the baby. This can also raise the risk and prove fatal for the mother or the baby.
Teenage pregnancy can lead to puerperal endometritis and systemic infections.
Effects on babies
As mentioned before, teenage pregnancy can lead to premature births and/or babies with low birth weight. Such babies usually miss substantial growth and are thus more susceptible to health problems. They are more prone to infections and diseases as they may not have an excellent immune system.
They can develop problems like the following:
Bleeding in the brain
Vision problems or blindness
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Effects in general
Teenage pregnancy isn’t just harmful to the baby and the mother. It also has socio-economic repercussions. If a teenage girl needs to take care of a baby, she may not have the time to finish her education. This will lead to a rise in illiteracy in the nation.
This would eventually also lead her to a sub-par job and thus may lead her to a below-average lifestyle. Teenage mothers are more likely to live in poverty. This isn’t the end of their problems; they could also be at risk of domestic abuse.
Tips to avoid teen pregnancies
If you’re a teen reading this, please note that sex education is essential. If you’re the parent of a teenager, remember that sex education is vital. It is crucial to teach teenagers about using protection and having safe sex. Here are some tips to avoid teen pregnancies:
Increase the use of contraceptives
Know about and prevent forced sex
Stop child/early marriages
Counsel/monitor teenagers who are at risk
Promote gender equality
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