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- Teenage Pregnancies
additions mean big changes
A baby can be a source of
great joy and satisfaction but, babies also make great
demands on a parent's time, energy and money. For
teenagers having a baby can have far-reaching effects.
It may mean:
- New decisions and challenges
such as deciding about marriage; changing education
and career plans; finding a place to live; learning
to handle finances.
- Increased responsibilities
such as taking care of all of a baby's physical
needs - feeding, changing, bathing, dressing;
providing the love and attention a baby needs to
thrive; caring for a baby that's crying, fussy or
It's important for
teenagers to be sexually responsible. This means
preventing unwanted or unplanned pregnancies
- Choosing not to have sex -
if you are not ready or if you don't feel its right
for your relationship, say 'No' - the choice is
yours. It shouldn't be based on pressure from peers
or your companion.
- Taking necessary
precautions. If you decide to have sex, but don't
want children, preventing pregnancy is your
Sexual responsibility involves
making important choices - learn more so you can make
wise decisions about your life.
demands of parenthood
Teenage parents face some
special problems and challenges. Parenthood can affect
many aspects of a teenager's life. For example:
- Physical health.
Complications during pregnancy are more likely
among teenage girls because their bodies may not
yet be physically mature even though they're able
to have children. The baby's health may be affected
- Emotional health. Adjusting
to the demands of child care can be stressful -
especially for young, single parents unfamiliar
with parenting skills. School and/or job
responsibilities can make additional demands on
- Social life. Infants and
young children must be cared for 24 hours a day.
This can make dating, visiting friends, etc,
inconvenient. It can also be expensive, if a
babysitter must be paid.
- Financial matters. Many
teenagers lack the education and experience needed
to get adequate jobs. Even with help from human
service agencies or family members, there may not
be enough money to live without financial
Help is available to deal with
any problems that occur but, by learning about
pregnancy and using contraception, or abstaining from
sex, these problems can be avoided
does pregnancy occur?
- Pregnancy results when sperm
unites with the woman's ripe egg.
- During sexual intercourse,
millions of microscopic sperm are released from the
man's penis into the woman's vagina. Each sperm has
a tail which it uses to swim.
- Once sperm are inside the
vagina, they swim through the cervix into the
uterus and then continue up the fallopian
- Fertilisation (conception)
occurs if a sperm cell unites with a ripe egg. The
fertilised egg attaches to the uterus, where a baby
begins to form by cell division.
- Pregnancy is the nine-month
time span during which the fertilised egg develops
into a baby.
- If the egg is not
fertilised, it passes out of the woman's body. With
it goes the lining of the uterus that has developed
to nourish a fertilised egg. This is known as
menstruation, or having a period.
There are many methods of
contraception available. Contraception (birth control)
means taking steps to prevent pregnancy. In selecting
a contraceptive, you should consider convenience, cost
and effectiveness. Methods available include:
- The Pill. One must be
taken by the woman every day. There are several
types available, but all contain hormones that
prevent conception by stopping the egg from being
released or by changing the lining of the uterus so
the fertilised egg can't attach.
- The IUD (Intrauterine
Device). A physician inserts a plastic device
(sometimes wrapped in copper) into the uterus. It
may work by causing chemical changes in the uterus
or by preventing fertilised eggs from lodging there
- no one knows for sure.
- The Diaphragm. A thin
rubber cup is inserted by the woman before having
intercourse. The diaphragm fits over the cervix,
blocking the opening to the uterus. A cream or
jelly is used inside the cup to kill sperm.
- The Condom. A rubber
sheath fits over the man's erect penis to prevent
sperm from entering the vagina. They are widely
available; no prescription is required and it is
the most effective method after the pill and the
- The Chemical barrier.
A sperm-killing foam, cream, tablet or suppository
is inserted into the vagina before