Teen pregnancy is pregnancy in human females under the age of 20 at the time that the pregnancy ends. A pregnancy can take place in a pubertal female before menarche (the first menstrual period), which signals the possibility of fertility, but usually occurs after menarche. In well-nourished girls, menarche usually takes place around the age of 12 or 13. Teenage pregnancy is also defined as an unintended pregnancy during adolescence. Teen pregnancy is something that affects over one million young teens in the world including Brunei Darussalam. For some, these pregnancies are planned but 85% of these teens the pregnancy is unplanned. This can cause a lot of endless problems in the life of the teen and the new born child. There are a lot of things that can cause an unplanned teen pregnancy, such as teens experimenting with sexual encounters at a young age. Another major cause is the lack of guidance due to guardians that are blind or do not want to believe in such activities. These causes can have devastating effects on the teen and the new born in the household. Some effects of early pregnancy will include an unexpected rise of responsibility for the teen and can cause many health concerns for both teen and new born child.
2. CAUSES OF TEEN PREGNANCY
Firstly is Lack of Parental Guidance. Most people evade their children from talking about sex. In some cases, they provide false information regarding sex and discourage their children to participate in any informative discussion about sex. In some cases, teenage mothers are not well educated about sex before getting pregnant and thus this leads to lack of communication between the parents and the children. Secondly is Adolescent Sexual Behavior. Among the adolescents, peer pressure is a major factor that encourages the teenage boys and girls to indulge in sexual activities. Early dating, as early as 12 years of age, is another factor that contributes to teen pregnancy. Thirdly is Inadequate Knowledge about Safe Sex. Most adolescents are unaware of safe sex. They probably have no access to the traditional methods of preventing pregnancy. And the main reason behind is that they are either too embarrassed or fear to seek information about it. Fourth is Exploitation by Older Men. This is another major factor that contributes to pregnancy among the teenagers.
Those girls who date older men are more likely to become pregnant before they attain womanhood. Rape, sexual exploitations etc. also takes place that leads to unwanted pregnancy among teenage girls. Fifth is Socio Economic Factors. Teenage girls who belong to the poor families are more likely to become pregnant. Researchers have found that even in the developed countries teenage pregnancy occurs most commonly among the deprived sections Sixth is Peer Pressure. During adolescence, teenagers often feel pressure to make friends and fit in with their peers. Many times these teens let their friends influence their decision to have sex even when they do not fully understand the consequences associated with the act. Teenagers have sex as a way to appear cool and sophisticated, but in some cases the end result is an unplanned teen pregnancy. The Kaiser Family Foundation states that more than 29 percent of pregnant teens reported that they felt pressured to have sex, and 33 percent of pregnant teens stated that they felt that they were not ready for a sexual relationship, but proceeded anyway because they feared ridicule or rejection. Seventh is Sexual Abuse or Rape.
Teens can become pregnant as a result of sexual abuse or rape. The Guttmacher Institute states that between 43 and 62 percent of teens acknowledge that they were impregnated by an adult male, and two-thirds report that their babies’ fathers are as old as 27. Approximately 5 percent of all teen births are the result of a rape. Last is Teenage Drinking. Teen drinking can cause an unexpected pregnancy, according to the website Love to Know. Many teens experiment with drugs and alcohol. Drinking lowers a teen’s ability to control her impulses, contributing to 75 percent of pregnancies that occur between the ages 14 and 21. Approximately 91 percent of pregnant teens reported that although they were drinking at the time, they did not originally plan to have sex when they conceived.
3. HOW TO SOLVE SOCIAL ILL : TEEN PREGNANCY IN BRUNEI
There are many methods in which pregnancy can be prevented, and the best one by far is most certainly abstinence. Abstinence prevents teen pregnancies as well as all others with a one-hundred percent success rate (Teen Pregnancy Prevention). Abstinence is the practice of one avoiding sexual intercourse until he/she is betrothed. In modern days, it is called “saving oneself”. Abstinence is something that is easily taught but not so easily maintained. While many parents can never fathom their teenage daughters/sons partaking in sexual activities, it does indeed occur all around the nation. It is widely believed that these teens who exhibit this type of behavior do not usually have open relationships with their parents or guardians (Preventing Teenage Pregnancy). If parents make themselves more available to their children, then that could easily make a big difference. Aside from promoting abstinence, there are others who decide to avoid the inevitable and instead take another approach to ensure that their kid is well protected.
This is done by promoting the usage of protection. It is practice of using some sort of birth control method in order to prevent pregnancy. The most common use of protection is the condom which prevents pregnancy as well as STDs. Some parents and people believe that this is a foolish approach to take because they think that it gives teens the green light to go out and have sex. That’s not entirely true though, because this approach can be very useful indeed. Another method would be offering sexual education to public schools. As you can see here in Brunei Darussalam, only two schools are offering the subject and both are International School. Government should provide this kind of subject in public schools to raise awareness on this Social Ill Teen Pregnancy in order to reduce the number of pregnancies in every upcoming year.
There are several recommendations available for this social ill. The recommendations are increase investment in effective programs, focus on effective prevention strategies and continue support for needy families. Firstly, increasing investment in effective programs such as government spending on providing support and to families that began with a birth to a teen to prevent the teen pregnancy from increasing. Increase in effective public health programs and strategies to reduce teen pregnancy also could strengthen the welcome trends in lowered rates of adolescent pregnancy, abortion, and birth and could lessen the serious causes and consequences associated with too-early pregnancy and childbearing. Therefore, these investments could help decrease the percentage of teens requiring support in the future.
Secondly, focusing on effective prevention strategies. Adolescents need teen pregnancy prevention strategies and programs that are based on the best, most effective practices as determined by evaluation and research. Examples of effective prevention strategies are youth development, confidential low-cost access to contraceptive services and a realistic sexuality education on public schools. Last but not least, the continuity of support for the needy families. With the government increasing its funding to prevent teenage pregnancy, the increased investments should not be achieved by cutting down expenditures to support families in need because poverty and lack of hope for a productive future are the causes as much as the consequences of adolescent pregnancy. Therefore supporting families in need can be a significant part of the effort to reduce the teenage pregnancy and too-early child bearing.
In conclusion, teen pregnancy is one of the social ills increasing in Brunei Darussalam. Government of Brunei should study more carefully on the causes of teen pregnancy. By that, it would help to find effective solutions to encounter this social ill. Solutions like government’s attention on those victims of teen pregnancy, teen pregnancy awareness and and family bond time would also help to reduce the number of teen pregnancies in the future. In the future, each teen or youth of Brunei Darussalam should be aware of the risks involved and know ways to prevent pregnancies
1. http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/384-conclusion-and-recommendations 2. http://www.msss.gouv.qc.ca/en/sujets/prob_sociaux/teenage_pregnancy.php 3. http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2001/10/childrenfamilies-sawhill 4. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9566.1980.tb00198.x/pdf 5. http://www.teenink.com/opinion/social_issues_civics/article/389943/Teenage-Pregnancy/ 6. http://www.bt.com.bn/classification/news/home_news/2007/03/12/teenage_pregnancy_poses_many_risks 7.