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Teenage pregnancy in Lagos Island

Info: 3720 words (15 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 11th Feb 2020

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Tagged: pregnancy

Although, teenage pregnancy could be unplanned as well as accidental. It usually occurs within the context of early marriage and also as a result of societal change of which the value system and virginity at marriage are no longer upheld. Certain problems are associated with teenage pregnancy such as economic, psychological, socio-cultural and others.

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It is no longer a diplomatic statement that young people in the last decade, especially within the age group of 10-18 years, are living beyond the yard sticks of adventures compared to the youths of the 90s'. A blend of unpredictable, news breaking activities and issues of topmost concern has risen in the last few years. One of the most striking facts is the rising number of teenage pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy is a result of sexual intercourse between young girls and boys who are in their growing years, exploring the changes happening in their bodies by having unsafe sex with each other. Health organizations across the world are still in the frontlines of reducing maternal deaths due to complications and diseases. But even now, however, they have more to do with the increasing number of teenage pregnancy. (Femi A. A. & Sofia Krauss, 2009)

Bearing a child while still in childhood themselves, these young mothers under the age of 20 are prone to birth injuries and maternal death. It also affects their emotional well being: Teenage mothers are 3 times more likely to suffer from post-natal depression and experience poor mental health for up to 3 years after the birth. Children born to teenage mothers have 60% higher rates of infant mortality and are at increased risk of low birth-weight which impacts on the child's long-term health. Further more, they are at increased risk to be brought up in poverty. (Femi A. A. & Sofia Krauss, 2009)

Teenage pregnancy is defined as a teenaged or underaged girl (usually within the ages of 13-19) becoming pregnant. The term in everyday speech usually refers to women who have not reached legal adulthood, which varies across the world, who become pregnant.

Pregnant teenagers face many of the same obstetrics issues as women in their 20s and 30s. However, there are additional medical concerns for younger mothers, particularly those under 15 and those living in developing countries.( Mayor S 2004) For mothers between 15 and 19, age in itself is not a risk factor, but additional risks may be associated with socioeconomic factors.( Makinson C. 1985)

Data supporting teenage pregnancy as a social issue in developed countries include lower educational levels, higher rates of poverty, and other poorer "life outcomes" in children of teenage mothers. Teenage pregnancy in developed countries is usually outside of marriage, and carries a social stigma in many communities and cultures. For these reasons, there have been many studies and campaigns which attempt to uncover the causes and limit the numbers of teenage pregnancies.(The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy 2002). In other countries and cultures, particularly in the developing world, teenage pregnancy is usually within marriage and does not involve a social stigma. (Population Council 2006)


It is very rampant in our society where there is an increase in the reported cases of teenager pregnancy. This ugly incident has created huge concern for the society especially to determine if the concern would have good future as well as their children. Again, the health implications of these children is another issue of worry.

Causes of Teenage Pregnancy

In the developed world, the causes of teenage pregnancy is different in the sense that it is mostly outside marriage and carries lots of social stigma. Thus, adolescent sexual behaviour is one of the causes of teenage pregnancy. In our world today, having sex before 20yrs is the in thing, it is even the normal all over the world and this brought about high levels of adolescent pregnancy which creates sexual relationship among teenagers without the provision of comprehensive information about sex. (Chinwe Chibuzo, P. 2007)

The in-take of drugs, alcohol etc contributes a lot to teenage pregnancy meanwhile as a teenager you may not be ready for sexual intercourse at that moment but being intoxicated with drugs and alcohol makes you to be involved in unintended sexual activity just because sex at that time is less emotionally painful and embarrassing. To avoid this, eradicate anything alcohol or drugs. Furthermore, sexual abuse is also one of the causes of teenage pregnancy. Rape as a sexual abuse has more effect in the life of our teenage girls causing unwanted sex and teenage pregnancy. Age discrepancies also causes teenage pregnancy in the sense that a teenage girl with a partner much older than herself is more likely to get pregnant more often than a girl that have a partner of a close age, as she prefers having the children than abortion since she is not educated enough to use contraceptives. (Chinwe Chibuzo, P. 2007)

Childhood environment

Women exposed to abuse, domestic violence, and family strife in childhood are more likely to become pregnant as teenagers, and the risk of becoming pregnant as a teenager increases with the number of adverse childhood experiences. According to a 2004 study, one-third of teenage pregnancies could be prevented by eliminating exposure to abuse, violence, and family strife. The researchers note that "family dysfunction has enduring and unfavorable health consequences for women during the adolescent years, the childbearing years, and beyond." When the family environment does not include adverse childhood experiences, becoming pregnant as an adolescent does not appear to raise the likelihood of long-term, negative psychosocial consequences.( Tamkins, T. 2004)

Effect of Teenage Pregnancy on Educational

Teenage pregnancies have become a public health issue because of their observed negative effects on perinatal outcomes and long-term morbidity. The association of young maternal age and long-term morbidity is usually confounded, however, by the high prevalence of poverty, low level of education, and single marital status among teenage mothers. Assessing the independent effect of teenage pregnancy on educational disabilities and educational problems in a total population of children who entered kindergarten in Florida in 1992-1994 and investigate how controlling for potentially confounding factors affects the relation between teenage pregnancies and poor outcome. When no other factors are taken into account, children of teenage mothers have significantly higher odds of placement in certain special education classes and significantly higher occurrence of milder education problems, but when maternal education, marital status, poverty level, and race are controlled, the detrimental effects disappear and even some protective effects are observed. Hence, the increased risk for educational problems and disabilities among children of teenage mothers is attributed not to the effect of young age but to the confounding influences of associated socio-demographic factors. In contrast to teen age, older maternal age has an adverse effect on a child's educational outcome regardless of whether other factors are controlled for or not. (Ralitza V. Gueorguieva 2001)

Preventing Teen Pregnancy

It has been found that teens who have a good relationship with their parents are less likely to experience a pregnancy. Good communication between parents and their children is the key to ensuring children make the right decisions when it comes to their sexual activity. (Pregnancy info 2009)

Evidence from areas with the largest reductions has identified a range of factors that need to be in place to successfully reduce teenage pregnancy rates. These factors include a well-publicised contraceptive and sexual health advice service which is centred on young people. The service needs to have a strong remit to undertake health promotion work, as well as delivering reactive services. It is key to prioritize sexual and reproductive health education at schools, supported from the local authority to develop comprehensive programmes of sex and relationships education (SRE) in all schools. (Femi A. A. & Sofia Krauss, 2009)

Education is also vitally important in helping youth know about their options when it comes to sex. Teaching teens about using contraception each and every time they have sex is imperative to healthy sexual relationships.

Abstinence should also be taught along with contraception so that youth understand they have the right to choose. Teaching teens that it is okay to say "no" to sex until they are ready will help to curb the numbers of teen pregnancies. (Pregnancy info 2009)

The Challenges of Early Motherhood

Facing an unplanned teen pregnancy can be hard. The effects of teenage pregnancy are not limited to having to decide whether or not to keep the baby, how to cope with motherhood or whether to make an adoption plan. One of the most immediate effects of teen pregnancy is how the growing baby changes a teenager's body as well as their lifestyle. Because a teen's body immediately begins the process of carrying a child and preparing for childbirth, a teenager needs to consider the effect that her physical activities may have on her developing baby. A variety of activities common to teens may have a negative effect on a developing baby: Drinking alcoholic beverages, Smoking cigarettes or marijuana, Lack of sleep and Unhealthy eating patterns. (Pregnancy center.orgOther physical changes that take place as her uterus expands may impact things as simple as clothing choices or her ability to safely participate in sports. This means that an average teenage girl will need to speak with her doctor about what activities need to be limited during her pregnancy as well as what changes she might need to make to her diet.

Emotional Effects of Teen Pregnancy (Pregnancy center.org)

Dealing with an unplanned pregnancy can be scary and confusing. Some of the emotions that teen may encounter when facing an unplanned pregnancy are: Initial excitement, Confusion, Fear, Resentment and Frustration. It's a natural response for you to think about and want to protect the baby that is growing inside you. It is also natural for you to be scared and confused about how to deal with this unplanned pregnancy. (Pregnancy center.org)

Teenage mothers in industrialized countries mostly lack a proper social network consisting of family, friends and elder women which is usually present in developing countries. Besides, there are many social pressures on them. The main pressure on young pregnant women is, of course, to come to a decision about the unborn child, considering the options of keeping the child, adoption and abortion.

Other pressures are education and money. For one, young teenage women in industrialized countries are generally expected to get educated and find work. This becomes almost impossible when having a baby without a strong social network. Then, there often are financial pressures, since the lack of education often leads to unemployment or the dependency on low paid jobs or welfare. (Martin Bohn 2009);

Risks for Teenage Mothers and their Child

As a result, teenage pregnancy may lead to various problems for both the mother and the child. According to a student fact sheet of the Australian organization Women's Health Queensland Wide, teenage mothers and their children may face some of the following risks:

There are significantly higher complication rates both during pregnancy and delivery for teenage mothers and their babies, such as an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, having a baby of low birth weight, birth defects and other complications.

Children born to teenage mothers are statistically more vulnerable to neglect and abuse. This is due to a range of factors including poverty, parenting inexperience and being in an unhealthy relationship (for example when there is a situation of domestic violence).

Teenage Pregnancies and the Disintegration of Families (Martin Bohn (2009);

Teenage pregnancies contribute to the disintegration of the family as a social institution. Most teen mothers are single mums. This is either because the child was conceived outside of a relationship or because the pregnancy places a great deal of strain on young relationships which are usually not as stable and enduring as adult relationships. Consequently, 60% of young Australian mothers do not have a male partner when their baby is born, as mentioned in a student fact sheet on teenage pregnancy by the Australian based Women's Health Queensland Wide Inc.

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A crucial question relates to whether the adverse outcomes experienced by (some) mothers and children of teenage pregnancies are causally related to the age of the mother, or whether there are other factors which lead to the adverse outcomes experienced by teenage mothers and their children. Several studies have found that teenage pregnancy is associated with adverse outcomes for both mother and baby. These include low birthweight, prematurity, increased perinatal and infant mortality and poorer long-term cognitive development and educational achievement for both mother and child. (Fraser AM, Brockert JE and Fergusson DM, 1995)

However, studies which have aimed to address the underlying causes of these adverse outcomes-by controlling for additional factors-have produced conflicting results. Some suggest that adverse outcomes remain even after controlling for maternal socioeconomic position and other confounding factors, (Fraser AM, Brockert JE 1995) some find that age has no effect, (Gueorguieva RV, Lee MC 2001) whereas other studies report that once maternal socioeconomic position and smoking are taken into account young age is actually associated with better outcomes. (Reichman NE and Geronimus AT 1997)

These contradictory findings probably reflect the small size of some studies, residual confounding, and the difficulty of separating effects that may be related to maternal age from effects that are appropriately regarded as confounding. For example, poor parenting skills may reflect the ignorance of young age but may also occur at any age among women who have restricted access to information and education. Larger studies and those employing methods specifically designed to adequately control for confounding factors (for example using sibling comparisons) (Geronimus AT 1992) suggest that young age is not an important determinant of pregnancy outcome or of the future health of the mother. (Gueorguieva RV, Scholl TO 2001) A recent systematic review of the medical consequences of teenage pregnancy concluded that 'Critical appraisal suggested that increased risks of these outcomes (anaemia, pregnancy-induced hypertension, low birthweight, prematurity, intra-uterine growth retardation and neonatal mortality) were predominantly caused by the social, economic, and behavioural factors that predispose some young women to pregnancy.'(Cunnington A. 2001) Moreover, Cunnington asserts from this review that most teenage pregnancies are low risk-a point which is omitted from much research and from policy documents and statements

Teenage Mothers and Education

Teenage mothers are often unwilling or unable to complete their education. This lack of education can result in long term unemployment or low paid, insecure jobs. Being dependent on welfare or on a poorly paid job can place teenage mothers under greater financial pressure, even more so when they are single mums and have no supporting network of family and friends.

Finally, teenage mothers are often alienated from their peers and family because their new life is either disapproved of or cannot be related to by family and friends.

In developing country like Nigeria teenage mothers are sometimes married and have a broad support system. However, malnutrition, poor health care and complications of childbirth significantly increase the mortality rate of these young women.

Lagos State Government Intervention

The Lagos State has also set up youth friendly centers to provide adolescents accurate and confidential counseling on sex related matters. These include youth development programmes to educate youths both male and female on the danger involve in premarital sexual and early sexual intercourse (VOA News).

In addition, efforts is from the youth counselor of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Christiana Ladapo, who leads candid after-school discussions about sex, peer pressure, abstinence and contraceptives. She says teenage pregnancy has been on the rise because society has ignored the problem.

However, Pinkdove in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Education recently organized an enlightenment campaign with the theme "The Effects of Early Sex, Teen Pregnancy for Senior Secondary School Female Students in Lagos state


Lagos State is an administrative region of Nigeria, located in the southwestern part of the country. The smallest of Nigeria's states, Lagos State is the second most populous state after Kano State, (wikipedia) and arguably the most economically important state of the country,(Answer dictionary) containing Lagos, the nation's largest urban area.

Lagos State was created on May 27, 1967 by virtue of State (Creation and Transitional Provisions) Decree No. 14 of 1967, which restructured Nigeria's Federation into 12 states. Prior to this, Lagos Municipality had been administered by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Lagos Affairs as the regional authority, while the Lagos City Council (LCC) governed the City of Lagos. Equally, the metropolitan areas (Colony Province) of Ikeja, Agege, Mushin, Ikorodu, Epe and Badagry were administered by the Western Region. The State took off as an administrative entity on April 11, 1968 with Lagos Island serving the dual role of being the State and Federal Capital. However, with the creation of the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja in 1976, Lagos ceased to be the capital of the State which was moved to Ikeja. Equally, with the formal relocation of the seat of the Federal Government to Abuja on 12 December 1991, Lagos Island ceased to be Nigeria's political capital. Nevertheless, Lagos remains the center of commerce for the country.


Lagos Island is the principal and central local government area of the Metropolitan Lagos in Nigeria. It is part of the Lagos Division. As of the preliminary 2006 Nigerian census, the LGA had a population of 209,437 in an area of 8.7 km². The LGA only covers the western half of Lagos Island; the eastern half is under the jurisdiction of the LGA of Eti-Osa.

Lying in Lagos Lagoon, a large protected harbour on the coast of Africa, the island was home to the Yoruba fishing village of Eko, which grew into the modern city of Lagos. The city has now spread out to cover the neighbouring islands as well as the adjoining mainland.

Lagos Island is connected to the mainland by three large bridges which cross Lagos Lagoon to the district of Ebute Metta. It is also linked to the neighbouring island of Ikoyi and to Victoria Island. The Lagos harbour district of Apapa faces the western side of the island. Forming the main commercial district of Lagos, Lagos Island plays host to the main government buildings, shops and offices. The Catholic and Anglican Cathedrals as well as the Central Mosque are located here.

Historically, Lagos Island (Isaleko) was home to the Brazilian Quarter of Lagos where the majority of the slave trade returnees from Brazil settled. Many families lived on Broad Street in the Marina.

It also revealed that majority (83.8%) and (70%) of the respondents were staying with their parents and there parents were staying together. This is in contradiction (Ellis, Bruce J. et al) Studies that girls whose fathers left the family early in their lives had the highest rates of early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy

From the study it was also revealed that many of the respondents parents who were working are in the low class status about (25%) were unemployed. This is in accordance with a study by (Besharov, Douglas J. & Gardiner) Poverty is associated with increased rates of teenage pregnancy.

It was obvious from the study that majority were not aware of any form of contraceptives, but this was in disagreement with the study made in the United States in 2002 by National Surveys of Family Growth, sexually active adolescent women wishing to avoid pregnancy were less likely than those of other ages to use contraceptives.

Revelation from this research shows that (35.7%) were impregnated by boy friends while (13.3%) were raped. This flows with some studies that between 11 and 20 percent of pregnancies in teenagers are a direct result of rape, while about 60 percent of teenage mothers had unwanted sexual experiences preceding their pregnancy. One in five teenage fathers admitted to forcing girls to have sex with them

Majority of the respondents had their sex experience before the age of 15. This supports Guttmacher Institute findings that 60 percent of girls who had sex before age 15 were coerced by males who on average were six years their senior.


It is quite glaring that teenage pregnancy have many consequences on the society. Teenage pregnancies have become a public health issue because of their observed negative effects on perinatal outcomes and long-term morbidity. The association of young maternal age and long-term morbidity is usually confounded, however, by the high prevalence of poverty, low level of education, and single marital status among teenage mothers the impact on youth development in our society is negative


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