Unwanted Pregnancy and Unsafe Abortion

Read story of Madhu and Rashmi

People react to becoming pregnant in different ways. For those who are psychologically and economically prepared, this may be greeted with joyous celebration. Some women feel that pregnancy helps to fulfil their sense of womanhood. On the other hand, an unintended or teenage pregnancy may evoke feelings of fear and hopelessness, as occurs with many young people.

The largest number of young girls becomes pregnant because of misunderstandings about reproduction and contraception or miscalculations about the odds of conception. Young girls with limited financial resources may not have access to clinical and/or counselling services. In addition, this factor also limits their access to contraceptives. In some cultures, contraceptives are socially unacceptable or unavailable. Also, unscientific contraceptive methods often fail, leading to an unplanned or unintended pregnancy. Even many adolescents who are relatively well informed about contraception fail to use it consistently.

Another cause for unintended or unwanted pregnancies is sexual assault. Up to one-third of women worldwide report their first sexual experience as being forced; many of these being adolescent girls and young women.

Unmarried pregnancy is shunned and viewed as a social stigma. Thus many unmarried adolescents try to conceal their pregnancies. Even among married adolescents, up to 60% of last births were mistimed or unwanted.Some even undergo unsafe abortions, which lead to further complications and even death. Future opportunities for these girls may be compromised if they have to drop out of school. On the other hand, an unintended pregnancy within marriage could also lead to a number of problems; for example a large family.

Also, these teen mothers are likely to find motherhood to be the sole focus of their lives, at the expense of development in other areas such as formal education, training for employment, work experience and personal growth.

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Prevention of Pregnancies in Adolescents
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