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1. IntroductionThesedays, teenage pregnancy is a social problem and an important public healthproblem in Vietnam. According to Vietnammaternal and child health care apartment, the percentage of teenagers who havegot pregnant has increased over the period: in2011: 3,1%; in 2012: 3,2% (Mai,2014). Moreover,it leads to many serious results including abortion. In 2011, abortion rates inteen mothers was quite high, at 2,4% in total pregnant women then this figuredeclined to 2,3% in 2012 (Mai, 2014). Teenage pregnancyresults from numerous risk factors and also brings a variety of effectsincluding physical and mental ones (Kirby, Lepore & Ryan,2005). However, a majority ofteenagers as well as their parents are totally not aware of this dangerousphenomenon.
Therefore, this paper, based on secondary data, will provideinformation on the risk factors, the effects and possibly solutions to teenagepregnancy in Vietnam.2. Discussion of findings2.1. What are the risk factors of teenage pregnancy?Numerous research hasbeen carried to find out many factors which are associated with teenagepregnancy. First of all, a clear link has been established between social backgrounds andearly childbearing. It is suggested that young women from sociallydisadvantaged family backgrounds characterized by poverty, early motherhood andlow parental education are at higher risk of being pregnant in their teen yearsof age (Shapiro, & Miller, 1998; as cited in Woodward, Fergusson &Horwood, 2001). In addition, family contributed a major role in the unintendedpregnancy among young women.
For example, teenagers who live far away fromhome, have problematic relationships with their parents or go through a maritalbreakdown are more likely to become mothers at a very young age. Besides,parents nowadays are still unwilling to speak openly about sex, especiallysexual behaviors and contraception (Kanku & Mash, 2010). Therefore,teenagers are lack of background knowledge about sex and unable to protectthemselves from pregnancy. Second, a number ofindividual factors increase the possibility of early pregnancy and parenthood. Early-maturing girls have a tendency to get pregnant at theirteen yearsthan others. Aggressiveor antisocial young women are at an increased risk of teenage pregnancy (Woodward, Fergusson & Horwood, 2001).
Likewise, there isconsiderable evidence that rates of pregnancy at young ages are related to drugusers, with findings of a large proportion of teenagers who become earlymothers had a prior history of overusing drugs as well as alcohol. 2.2. What are the effects of teenage pregnancy?Teenage pregnancy canbring many serious problems to teen mothers. When they know they are pregnant,there are two options for them to choose. If they choose abortion, it can causemany problems such as infection, perforation of the uterus and the most seriousproblem – infertility.
If they decide to marry and give birth,they will have to stop studying in high schools, universities or colleges. Teen mothers are less likely tofinish their study than those who avoid being pregnant during their schoolyears. As a consequence, they cannot find a suitable job to earn money andsupport their children. It is possibly that teen mothers will have to deal withfinancial problems or even domestic violence. Therefore, they are easily sufferfrom stress, depression which is harmful to their health and their babies. When women give birth in their teen years, they are atrisk of giving birth prematurely (Beirne, 2017).
Teenagers, especially thoseunder 15 years old are vulnerable to anemia, also called low blood iron. Anemiacan make the mothers feel tired or cause some complications. During pregnantperiod and laboring, complications is the second most popular cause of death inteenagers 15-19 years old (Socolov et al., 2017). Another effect ofteenage pregnancy is related to the physical health of the children along withtheir future development. A preemie, who is born before 37completed weeks of pregnancy will miss out on an important growth taking place in the final weeksof pregnancy.
As a result, the children may become underweight. Thoseunderweight babies are likely to suffer from several problems that can affecttheir brain and their organs (Beirne, 2017). Besides, the children who wereborn to these teenage mothers also experience 2.5 times higher risk of losingtheir lives than those born to women aged between 20 and 24 (Socolov et al., 2017).
Onthe other hand, owing touncertainty of the future and lack of support during pregnancy, teens may takeup unhealthy habits, such as drinking and smoking which is really harmful totheir health and their baby. Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is more likely toaffect babies of teen moms and the syndrome is associated with drinking alcoholduring pregnancy (Sharma, 2012). Sometimes, problems during pregnancy andinfancy are not identified, but these can come up later.
Pre-term children can havedifficulties in learning and thinking and their development can be much slowerthan normal ones. 2.3. What are the solutions?There are much that can be done toprotect teenagers from pregnancy. Firstly, schools as well as universitiesshould provide adequate sexuality educationincluding contraception,sexual abuse and so on by making use of the media, especially the Internet.This solution can help students have more useful information about protectingthemselves. It also can encourage responsible behavior, increase the use of contraception.
Health service providers have sought to provide birth controlservices to young people, seeing use of contraceptives as potentially the mostsuccessful intervention in pregnancy prevention (Howard, 2014). Therefore,teenagers can effectively prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) duringtheir teenage years when most youngpeople become sexually curious. Secondly, Vietnam government should plan different youthdevelopment programs to support teenagers because researchhave showed that youth development programs can reduce sexual risk behaviorsand teenage pregnancy (Kirby, 1999). These programs assistteenagers to set their goals, finish study and plan their futures. As Pagliaro & Klindera(1999) say:Youth development seldom tackles isolated problems—such as sexual riskbehaviors—but focuses instead on providing holistic support and opportunitiesfor young people.
Youth development is a strategy that attempts to meet theneeds young people themselves identify: to have life skills, to be cared forand safe, to be valued and useful, and to be spiritually grounded. It meetsthese needs by building on young people’s capacities, assisting them tocultivate their own talents and to increase their feelings of self-worth, andeasing their transition to adulthood.Thirdly,making contraception available to teenagers is another solution to teenage pregnancy.Confidential, affordable and accessible contraceptive services may ensure that teens will havewhat they need to protect themselves. As a result, there could be a decline inthe number of unintended pregnancy cases as well as infection with HIV ones. Final thing that we cando to protect teenagers is supporting them.
Society need to be concern aboutfamily communicationabout sex. Parents shouldspeak about sexual behaviors openly to provide their kids with appropriate informationabout it. Moreover, educational opportunities, health education about parentingskills and other supports should be well-prepared for teens while pregnant andafter birth so they can have a better life.