AWARENESS OF THE DANGERS OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY AND MOTHERHOOD AMONG TEENAGE MOTHERS

AWARENESS OF THE DANGERS OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY AND MOTHERHOOD AMONG TEENAGE MOTHERS IN IKA SOUTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

The number of teenagers giving birth each year in Nigeria is increasing. Babies are seen dumped in toilet places, bushes and road sides. These babies who are dumped are in most cases, given birth to by teenagers who are unwed. Some of these teenage mothers cannot identify the fathers of their babies because they have multiple sex partners so they feel the best option is to dump such babies.

Some teenage girls become mothers, because they cannot meet some life goals. Being a teenage mother is not accidental for some girls but intentional. This is because such girls see no better option in life other than being a mother. That is the reason most current sex and pregnancy preventive education efforts are ineffective at preventing teenage motherhood. There is a public concern over the rate at which the number of teenage mothers is increasing. The resolution to become a teenage mother by these young girls has triggered both political debate and academic inquiry.

Teen childbearing is associated with negative outcomes for teen parents, their children, and society. The vast majority of all pregnancies among teenagers are unintended that-is, they were either unwanted or they occurred outside marriage (Ohonsi 2010). Teen birth rate in Katsina is the highest when compared to those of other states including Oyo and Edo. (Ogbu 2013).These teenage mothers face a variety of difficult decisions. For the unmarried ones, they must decide whether to raise the born child or to place the baby for adoption. For the married ones, they must make decision with their husbands about mode of delivery, are they going for normal delivery, cesarean section or go for an abortion?

This particular thought may come due to under development of pelvis. Other critical decision about school, work, house chores, and how to care for the new born among others, need to be made. In Kano, many teenage mothers experience obstructed labour due to poor development of pelvis. This always resulted in serious maternal morbidity, for example, Vessico Virginal Fistula (VVF) or maternal mortality.  Age of marriage has traditionally been low in kinship-based societies and economies. In such areas, most girls married soon after menarche; fertility was high and consequently many children were born from teenage mothers. This was not considered to be a problem. The teenage mother receive good family and community supports. Timely quality antenatal care and deliveries were by Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs).

In Abia and Imo States, some teenagers got pregnant for economic reasons, they gave birth and sold such babies. They are instances where some girls sold their babies for a token of ten thousand naira (N10,000)

The preventive programmes based on promoting abstinence in most Nigerian secondary schools, do not reduce teenage sex, pregnancy and motherhood. The school based clinics, sex education and contraceptive service programmes have little impact on teenage sexual activity. Teenage motherhood continues to rise in every state in Nigeria. Many teenage girls see themselves as having nothing to strive for as they cannot see graduating from a tertiary school because they have few role models to follow, their teachers give them little encouragement about their abilities, their families are chaotic and their friends are on drugs. So parenting looks more like the best option for them. Such girls think babies provide immediate source of unconditional love.

Effective prevention of unplanned teen pregnancies that will result in teenage motherhood will save the Nigerian society the cost she pays to support a teen mother her children and grand children. It would also break the cycle related to psychopathologies in our culture, including drug and alcohol abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome, drug induced birth defect, drops out of school, crime, domestic violence and poverty, for all teenagers that become mothers, before they were prepared, the society keeps paying the cost. This could be seen in most city centers when some of such teenagers beg for alms. Others rely on the generosity of members of the church or philanthropic society.

In Abia, Imo Enugu and Anambra state, the problem of teenage pregnancies is further compounding by the involvement of some fathers and advanced adults in the inducements of teenage girls to feed the baby factories with their offspring. Teenage pregnancy is linked with several issues that include low educational levels, higher rate of poverty, and other poorer outcomes in children of teenage mothers. Teenage pregnanc in most developing countries is often outside marriage. This comes with certain social stigma in many communities.

Drugs and alcohol that remove inhibition can easily trigger and encourage unintended sexual activities. It has not been comprehensively established that the drugs themselves directly influence teenagers to indulge in risky behaviours, or whether it is true that the teenagers that engage in drug use, are more likely to indulge in sexual activities. This is premised on the logic that correlation does not imply causation. The drugs that have a strongest evident linkage in teenage pregnancies include alcohol, ecstasy, cannabis and amphetamines.

Advance countries of the world try to see that their young ones are given the best formal education so that they can grow in knowledge, attitude and skills that will bring about increase in productivity and technological advancement, and in general economic growth and development. This process of formal Education, which starts at very tender age of less than one, is consolidated, when these persons are in their teens. Since the brain and other learning faculties have been fully developed. Losing these great human resources to unplanned pregnancies and teenage child bearing is a minus to any economy.

Statement of the Problem

In recent decades, teenage pregnancy and motherhood has become an important health issue. A great number of country experience this phenomenon, both developed and developing Pregnant teenagers face many of the obstetrics issues as other older women. There are however additional medical concerns for mothers aged under 15. Risks of low birth weight, premature labour, anemia and pre-eclampsia are connected to the biological age. For mothers age 15-19, risk are associated more with socio-economic factors than with biological effects of age.  Teenage pregnancy and mother hood is a serious risk factor, and this mostly occurs when these teenage girls are having their first delivery.

Besides it is a well known fact that most teenage girls are not able to cope with some challenges that come with motherhood. Most teenage girls in the area under study are found to have at least a child, as such most of them either stop going to school completely or start schooling after having at least two or more children. Hence the researcher is interested in finding why such teenagers take to motherhood at such tender ages, despite all the known negative consequences associated with teenage pregnancy and motherhood.

Research Questions;

  1. Are teenagers aware of the dangers of teenage pregnancy and motherhood?
  2. What are the factors that predispose teenagers to pregnancy and childbearing?
  3. Are teenagers aware of the various methods of preventing pregnancy?
  4. Are teenagers aware of the negative outcomes associated with teenage motherhood?
  5. Are teenagers from cultural background that encourages early marriage more at risk?
  6. Are teenage girls whose fathers left home at their tender ages more at risk?

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to find out why teenagers become mothers in the area under study. It is also to design interventions for teenage girls to make transition from adolescence to adulthood without having an unplanned birth

Significance of the study

The study will be beneficial to mothers, teenage girls, fathers and all custodians of teenagers, health educators policy planners, social institutions and the teeming population in Ika south local government area of Delta state. It will serve as a tool for counseling teenagers on the dangers of teenage pregnancies and motherhood.

Scope/Delimitation of the Study

The scope of the study is Ika south local government area which comprises Agbor, Abavo, Idumu esa

The study will be delimited to teenage mothers in Ika south local government area of Delta state.

Limitation of the Study

The study will be limited by some teenage mothers who may be too shy to respond to the questions from the researcher and the inadequate cooperation from some teenage mothers who might hoard information from the researcher. In order to overcome this challenge, the researcher intends to encourage these teenage mothers.