Teen pregnancy is a social problem not resolved in developing and some developed countries. Adolescent fecundity has become the most exact bio-demographic and health indicator of development. In developing countries that are expected to follow the sexual behaviour patterns of developed countries, without offering the levels of education and services for adolescents, the consequences will be adolescent fecundity and STI prevalence increase. The ignorance about sexuality and reproduction both in parents, teachers and adolescents increases the early initiation of coital relations and of unwanted pregnancies. Extreme poverty and being the son or daughter of an adolescent mother are risk factors of repeating the early pregnancy model. The application of predictive risk criteria in pregnant adolescents to facilitate the rational use of Health Services to diminish the maternal and perinatal mortality is discussed as well as the social factors associated with adolescent pregnancy as socioeconomic levels, structure – types and characteristics of the family, early leaving school, schooling after delivery, female employment, lack of sexual education, parental and family attitudes in different periods of adolescent pregnancy, adolescent decisions on pregnancy and children, unstable partner relationship and adoption as an option. Social consequences are analyzed as: incomplete education, more numerous families, difficulties in maternal role, abandonment by the partner, fewer possibilities of having a stable, qualified and well-paid job, greater difficulty in improving their socioeconomic level and less probability of social advancement, lack of protection of the recognition of the child. Finally, based on evidence, some measures that can reduce adverse consequences on adolescent mothers, fathers and their children are suggested.
© 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel
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Article / Publication Details
Published online: July 25, 2012
Cover Date: 2012
Number of Print Pages: 30
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 8
ISBN: 978-3-8055-9336-6 (Print)
eISBN: 978-3-8055-9337-3 (Online)
In recent years, a nationwide concern over the "epidemic" of teenage pregnancy has developed. Explanations for this phenomenon have ranged from poor sex education to promiscuity. This statement will review current data and information so that pediatricians responsible for the health care of adolescents can appreciate the implications and consequences of early childbearing.
SEXUAL ACTIVITY AMONG ADOLESCENT GIRLS
The term adolescence must be used with caution in describing the rapid biological, psychologic, and cognitive changes that take place during the teen years. Teenage girls are considerably different from each other in pubertal and emotional development. In making observations and interpretations about the attitudes, behaviors, and sexual activity of teenage girls, we must use developmental age rather than chronologic age as the standard for comparison. Sexual activity in 12-year-old girls living in intact households1,2 is unusual; therefore, the number of live infants born to mothers in this age group is small. However, more than 50% of 19-year-old girls have engaged in sexual activity, and their fertility rate is comparable to women in their 20s.
The current problems with teenage pregnancies cannot be appreciated fully without understanding adolescent sexual behavior and the secular changes that have taken place. From 1900 to the early 1960s, sexual behavior in the unmarried, teenage population changed. A review of the earlier literature indicates that a significant increase (tenfold) in the incidence of sexual intercourse among single, teenage girls occurred in the early part of this century.3 Measureable changes in the attitude of adolescents toward sexuality became strikingly apparent in the 1960s.
- Copyright © 1979 by the American Academy of Pediatrics