Teen Pregnancies Are Trapping Young People In SA

As you read this article another young girl has fallen pregnant. Teen pregnancies may have decreased according to statistics, but this trend needs to be eliminated altogether as South Africa is losing a host of talented young people to this scourge.

Teen pregnancies are trapping young people in SA

Did You Know? 82% of teen pregnancies are unplanned.

The impact of youth falling pregnant in schools will leave an indelible gap when it comes to having skilled and educated youth going out into the workplace.

The Education Department has mentioned that they are having problems in closing the gap of teenage pregnancies. While Life Orientation classes in schools are there to inform the learners of the dangers of teen
pregnancy and HIV/AIDS - these lessons are all theory based.

What are the effects of teen pregnancies?

Health Consequences

Girls who give birth at a young age have a higher risk of maternal death and infant mortality. Those who survive, often have to face obstetric complications and the challenges surrounding low birth weight.

Economic Consequences

When teens fall pregnant they are forced to drop out of school which lowers their chances of finding employment. This in turn lowers the family income and leads to a higher dependency ratio as they are forced to depend on parents or grandparents to provide for the newborn.

This situation further exacerbates the poverty cycle already prevalent within illiterate communities and in this way the shackles of poverty are passed from one generation to the next.

Social Consequences

Pregnant teens face stigmatism and discrimination from both peers and elders. Statistics reveal that they are less likely to get married increasing the likelihood of abuse. They have less support and spend their days in a home environment which is not stimulating.

Education

Their education will take a back seat as pregnancy issues will first lead to poor academic performance, school absenteeism before they become school dropouts. These girls very rarely return to school after they have given birth, which means that their education level remains at a low standard.

The psychological/ emotional consequences which may negatively impact mother and baby:

  • Dealing with feelings of fear, denial, anger, resentment 
  • Denial can threaten the health of the mother and baby if the mother does not adjust health habits or get proper medical care. 
  • Self esteem issues due to changing body, increased risk of severe depression
  • Increased risk of anxiety and sleep disorders/ insomnia. 
  • Guilt and grief in the event of a termination 
  • Lack of preparedness for parenting leading to a feeling of not coping and failure

The way forward to educating teens on pregnancy prevention is:

An evidence-based learning system reduces both teen pregnancies and severe injuries to infants and improving the lives of children and reducing the associated costs.

When dealing with a newborn baby it can be extremely difficult, time consuming and exhausting.

The crying (and having to understand why the baby is crying), the many nappy changes and around the clock feeds that a baby requires are the realities of becoming a parent. These are also intangibles that can't really be taught by a curriculum that involves only words, images, or passive baby stand-ins such as eggs or bags of flour.

Modifying teen attitudes towards sexuality and parenting requires changing their perceptions. At the same time it needs to be driven home just how challenging caring for a baby can be, teenagers need a dose of reality. 

They need an interactive curriculum that lets them experience parenthood in as real a way as possible.

Why? because reality works. 

The current Life Orientation curriculum taught in school along with the Infant Simulators and the Infant Simulators curriculum can make teaching more effective.
Students awareness of the actual consequences of having a baby is transformed from abstract to a startling reality.

The objective of the Total Parenting programme is to lower teen pregnancy rates, decrease high school drop out rates and increase parenting skills and child care knowledge from prenatal stage through to infancy.

The programmes are also expected to reduce child abuse and neglect incidences as well as child poverty rates within the community. 

Lets work together keep our children in schools. Working together we can achieve more.

For more information contact: Bernadette Duddy via website HERE

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