1.1 Background of the Study
Teenage pregnancy is defined as an unintended pregnancy during adolescence. Approximately 750,000 of 15- to 19-year-olds become pregnant each year, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, though many teenagers do not believe that they will get pregnant if they engage in sexual activity.
The burdens of early pregnancy on disadvantaged teens are undeniable. Trying to untangle the factors which contribute to teenage pregnancy from its effects, however, leads to a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” dilemma. Educational failure, poverty, unemployment and low self-esteem are understood to be negative outcomes of early childbearing. These circumstances also contribute to the likelihood of teen pregnancy. For example, recent studies suggest that most adolescent mothers have already dropped out of school before they become pregnant. On the other hand, adolescents still enrolled in school when they give birth are as likely to graduate as their peers. It is not clear how well the adolescents with the most problems would have fared in the future even without early parenthood. Teenage pregnancy has become a growing concern nowadays and hence it has become imperative to look into the various causes of teenage pregnancy in order to deal with this issue carefully. Teenage pregnancies are widely discouraged because of health implications they raise for the young mothers and their babies. This problem is more prevalent in developed countries, particularly Nigeria. Pregnancy at such a tender age is primarily due to lack of sex education.
According to Jackie, (2012) low self-esteem is among the causes of teenage pregnancy. Children who are not shown love and affection from parents will seek it out with their peer group. Many adolescents report feeling pressured by their peers to have sex before they are married. According to Patrick (2010), the transition from childhood to teenage may cause unstable emotions to some teenagers, and this may cause complex teenage psychology break on teenagers. Complex teenage psychology can results an immature and irresponsible behaviour which in turn may be another cause of teenage pregnancy. Meanwhile, weak family bonding fail to provide the emotional support that they need during their transitional term. This lack of attention and affection from the family causing depression and pushing them to look for love and attention from others especially from the opposite sex. A substantial proportion of the members of every society in the developmental stage termed “adolescence”, otherwise called “teenage”, it is a transitional period between the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood or maturity. It occurs roughly between the age of 13-17, this is a period in every person’s life when all seems to be confused, when nothing is good in the eyes of the perceiving adolescent; when she is on “means” land (Lawin, 2006). When her role is not clearly defined. It is a period when girl starts to menstruate. Adolescent describe this period as a period of body contour and stature resembling that an adult mate, (Murphy, 2007), while adults customarily refer to them as children Nigeria adolescents now insists on being treated as adults while parents may dismiss them as being too young to live alone, they are clearly independence and the right to have privacy. The Nigerian teenager is therefore caught in a field of overlapping forces and expectation of all of which constitute on real test for individual identity. Pregnancy that happened at such as frail age is predominantly, due to lack of sex education therefore, parents responsibility to deliver an adequate sex education to their teenage daughters. Reproductive health situations are also important to be imparted to the young child so that they become aware of the various aspects related to sex and pregnancy.
According to Count (2010), adolescent marks the onset of sexual maturity. It is period time for them to show interest to the opposite sex and curiosity about the much topics of sex. Irresponsible and careless approach of mass media has also contributed in sex occurrence among teenagers. Carrera (2012) said, unrestricted interaction with the opposite sex ignite the sparks of lust in teenagers very easily, especially when alcohol and drugs are involve. Also Ideir (2011) said high rates of teenage pregnancy “usually associated with such conditions of under education, low income levels, and childhood environment, because of negligence towards birth control. Sexual abuse of teenage girls is also one of the most disgraceful causes of teenage pregnancy. Teenage parents of the adolescents do not have financial resource to cater for their babies. They usually have to rely on the families and relatives to assist them. This lead to the break down in vocational expulsion from school and may not have the opportunities of being re-absorbed to the school system, this break can hinder the future development opportunities as well as the quality of life of the person, family/nation sometimes, however, teenage mothers are not mature to meet emotional and social needs of children. They may feel Isolated and deserted by their friends who continued with their education, contributing to psychological blinks. According to Melissa (2012), teenage pregnancy could lead to incomplete education, unemployment and other numerous emotional traumas. Early motherhood had been linked to effects the psychological development of the child adversely. Beside psychological physical risks cannot be ignored. Teenage girls body is not as developed as adult women in term of childbearing. Thus, they often face certain complications during pregnancy. Lack of sexual education caused teens go for abortions since they realize that they are not ready yet to take responsibility of becoming a parent at such a young age seeing that they still have many things yet to be accomplished in life. The chance of maternal death cannot be ruled out in affecting teenage pregnancy.
According to Marnach et al (2013) medically, teenage pregnancy maternal and prenatal health is of particular concern among teens who are pregnant or parenting. The world wide incidence of premature birth and low birth weight is higher among adolescent mothers. Teenage mothers between 15-19 years old are more likely to have anemia, preterm delivery and low birth babies than mothers between 20-24 years old. The mother can become easily frustrated and may think that violence is the way to overcome grief. She might become distraught thinking that she is a failure as a parent when seeing the reaction of her after being beaten. The teen mother might become depressed and consider suicide. The percentage of teenage pregnancy in the society is growing at higher rate. It is perceived that lack of adequate knowledge about sex education to teenage girls make them to be sexually active which eventually leads to pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy has pregnancy has been found to have negative and social long lasting effects on the life of the adolescents. It is in the light of this that this study is carried out to examine the factors that affect teenage pregnancy in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State
Lack of awareness about the causes and effects of teenage pregnancy is more often than not, a result of lack of proper communication between teenagers and their parents. Therefore, it is the duty of the parents to impart adequate sex education and education regarding reproductive health to their adolescent sons and daughters so that their children become aware of the various aspects related teenage sex and pregnancy. Schools and society also need to emphasize the risk factors associated with unprotected sex as well as the outcomes of unplanned teenage pregnancy, not to mention the significance of moral and ethical values.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), “Pregnancies among girls less than 18 years of age have irreparable consequences. It violates the rights of girls, with life-threatening consequences in terms of sexual and reproductive health, and poses high development costs for communities, particularly in perpetuating the cycle of poverty.” Health consequences include not yet being physically ready for pregnancy and childbirth leading to complications and malnutrition as the majority of adolescents tend to come from lower-income households. The risk of maternal death for girls under age 15 in low- and middle-income countries is higher than for women in their twenties. Teenage pregnancy also affects girls’ education and income potential as many are forced to drop out of school which ultimately threatens future opportunities and economic prospects.
Several studies have examined the socioeconomic, medical, and psychological impact of pregnancy and parenthood in teens. Life outcomes for teenage mothers and their children vary; other factors, such as poverty or social support, may be more important than the age of the mother at the birth. Many solutions to counteract the more negative findings have been proposed. Teenage parents who can rely on family and community support, social services and child-care support are more likely to continue their education and get higher paying jobs as they progress with their education.
A holistic approach is required in order to address teenage pregnancy. This means not focusing on changing the behaviour of girls but addressing the underlying reasons of adolescent pregnancy such as poverty, gender inequality, social pressures and coercion. This approach should include “providing age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education for all young people, investing in girls’ education, preventing child marriage, sexual violence and coercion, building gender-equitable societies by empowering girls and engaging men and boys and ensuring adolescents’ access to sexual and reproductive health information as well as services that welcome them and facilitate their choices
1.2 Statement of Problem
Ude (2014), described the rampancy with which teenagers get pregnant in Nigeria after the civil war. According to him, the problem assumed a large dimension with time and people started being aware of such unruly tendency on the part of these teenagers. According to lgiebor (2015), the pervasiveness of moral decadence has turn sex which used to be a taboo in the olden days to be seen as a symbol of sophistication by the modern societies, explicit expression of sexuality in various forms and sexually suggestive music are allowed which stimulates teenager’s curiosity and enhanced sexual intercourse which results in teenagers pregnancy.
With these explicit expression of sexuality, health education and preaching against it were carried out by concerned individuals but all these did not bear much fruits as to stop the menace. Rather according to Aneke (2013), many more teenagers get attracted to some ‘goddies’ and were fully initiated into heterosexual relationship leading to increase in the number of teenagers getting pregnant every year.
Nokidu (2012) observed that the problem is pretty serious as according to him teenage pregnancies continued to be on the increase.
The teenage parenthood according to Ani (2014) is a reflection of the society. Ani further stated that it is a common occurrence and is fast trying to become part of our culture instead of a taboo.
It is however a general observation according to Ezugwu (2014), that teenagers who fall prey to this problem usually get so embarrassed, disturbed, frustrated and become totally dislodged and disillusioned in life. He concluded that the future of those who would be leaders are completely shattered. This study therefore is to investigate the factors that affect teenage pregnancy in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State: A Case Study of Rumuokparali Community.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate factors that affect teenage pregnancy. Most specifically the study intend to:
1. identify the causes of teenage pregnancy in Rumuokparali Community?
2. identify the effects of teenage pregnancy in Rumuokparali Community.
3. identify the attitudes of the society towards teenage Rumuokparali Community.
4. identify strategies to curb causes and effects of teenage pregnancy in Rumuokparali Community.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The necessity to have teenagers makes the right decisions, pick appropriate friends view others with value or importance and become better mothers and fathers. Now that there is much controversy and confusions as regards sex and morals, has made this project very relevant to our moral society and to the nation at large, making (practical suggestions) available to all at the appropriate time become next in priority.
It is hoped that, this study will also contribute to the improvements of the family planning programmes in the country through appropriate service delivery approaches and strategies that will boost the knowledge of women towards factors that affect teenage pregnancies.
1.5 Research Question
1. What are the causes of teenage pregnancy in Rumuokparali Community?
2. What are the effects of teenage pregnancy in Rumuokparali Community?
3. What are the attitudes of the society towards teenage pregnancy in Rumuokparali Community?
4. What are the strategies to curb teenage pregnancy in Rumuokparali Community?
1.6 The Scope of the Study
This study covers the following areas, factors that affects teenage pregnancy such as Socio-economic factors, Lack of discipline and control, Adolescent sexual behavior, Psychological factors, Knowledge of sex education, Indiscriminate sexual behaviours and Sexual abuse etc. The research instrument adopted was a self structured questionnaire fashioned after the likert scale. Mean and frequency distribution table was used as a statistical tool.
1.7 Area of Study
Obio/Akpor Local Government Area (Obalga) of Rivers State with its Headquarters at Rumuodomaya was created by the military Administration of former President Ibrahim Babangida on the 3rd day of May, 1989 out of the Port Harcourt City Local Government of Rivers State.
With an estimated population of over 750,000, it has a total land mass of approximately 311.71sq. km and shares boundaries with Emohua, Ikwerre, Etche, Oyigbo, Eleme, Okrika and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas of Rivers State. It is locally constituted by the people of Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality, but due to its Urban Status and the hospitality of the people, there is an influx of other nationalities to the Local Government Area. The major occupation of the people are farming, fishing and trading. However, there is also high volume of commercial activities due to the location of several corporate organizations within the Council Area. It is today the centre of Oil activities in Rivers State and tagged “the gateway” Local Government.