Teen Moms And Unwanted Pregnancies Among Adolescents In Mexico

Teen pregnancy, a dilemma that is causing billing of dollars and millions of deaths across the world. Even more so in developing countries situated in Latin America, such as Mexico. 

In the advanced age of sex education and effective measures against pregnancies, we expect to see a decline in the number of teens who are pregant. However this is not the case for many regions of Mexico where safe sex is unheard of, abuse is rising and abortion is largely illegal and restricted. 

Teen years or adolescence is an incredibly crucial and sensitive time period. Actions taken during this age have long-lasting impacts on their quality of life and life expectancy. Many consequences pertain to the risky behaviors that adolescents portray. And ofcourse, with the adolescent age, the number of risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and having unprotected sex increasing. In many parts of the world, including Mexico, the reason for a higher number of risky behaviors leading to unintentional pregnancies and Sexually transmitted infections are associated with lower socioeconomic levels, poor educational background, and abuse. It is also often paired with other risky behaviors such as drinking and smoking in the adolescent age which often appear to be seen more in the disadvantaged areas of Mexico. 

Did you also know that the usage of condoms is also varied by socioeconomic status? The richer the household is, the more likely the individual uses a condom. 

Teen pregnancies are a rising concern in Latin America which costs the region a billion dollars every year. According to statistics among OECD (organization for economic co-operation and development) countries, Mexico prevails and ranks the highest in teen pregnancies. This is an alarming concern in Mexico where unwanted pregnancies also worsen the situation of the existing gender inequality, sexual violence, abuse, and poverty. 

Research suggests that at least 62 out of every 1000 births in Mexico are occurring in adolescent girls. They are underrated, unprotected, and often subjected to various forms of mistreatment. Adolescent girls who are pregnant in Mexico are subjected to public scrutiny and immeasurable pressure to become teen mothers instead of choosing another path for themselves. They are forced to make the choice of giving birth, even if it means death. Abortion is restricted and illegal in many regions of Mexico, hence making the choice of having control of their own bodies a little more difficult. 

Looking at the silver lining, there has been a notable decrease in the number of teen pregnancies over the years. And the increase in sexual education and abortion rights certainly helped alleviate the situation because feel like they have a choice other than to simply become a mother at an early age. However, while the decrease is worth celebrating, it is no milestone for Mexico. The decline does not appear to be homogeneous and the number of teens getting pregnant younger than 14 has seemed to slowly increase. And the pandemic may have worsened the case forever. The access to contraceptives was limited and the number of young girls trapped with their abusers had no choice but to become teen moms. 

What Are The Causes Of Mexico’s Teen Pregnancy Crisis?

Several factors have been pointed out throughout this article. There is no one pinpointed factor but rather several external factors have muddled to increase the number of teen pregnancies over the years.

The first and obvious being poverty and inequality. The poorer and disadvantaged urban regions of mexico does not share the privilege of having access to contraceptives and good sex education prorgrams. Many of these regions are still intertwined to their cultural norms that enable risky behaviours among teenagers. 

Lack of contraceptive education compared with the number of adolescents engaging in sexual relations is alarming for many parts of Mexico. Teenagers need access to proper educational attainment to instill responsibility for their behaviors. Mexico’s government predicts that pandemic plays an important role in the usage of contraception. They estimate that there would be around 22000 unwanted pregnancies among 15 to 19 years old, as a result of lack of contraception access amid the pandemic. The number is expected to grow. 

Age and other risky behaviours also play a detrimental role in the cases of teenage pregnancies. Teenagers who are involved with drinking and smoking from an early age are usually at higher risk of getting pregnant at an early age. 

Research and studies also suggest that sexual violence and abuse also play a major role in the number of teen pregnancies. With the pandemic putting girls in lockdown with their perpetrators, they are at great risk of having an unintentional pregnancy. Many are subjected to years of sexual abuse and trauma, some even find that getting pregnant with their intimate partners is a means to escape their years of abuse. 

Humanitarians around the world recognize the correlation between poverty, abuse and lack of education with the alarming rate of teen pregnancies in Mexico. The need for prevention is high as more and more girls drop out of their school to become teen moms and continue to live in a low income household. 

Most of the girls who get pregnant early on have no access to proper health care or even the right to abortion. The country recognizes that many teen mortality rates are associated with childbirth and unwanted pregnancies. Teenagers go through lengths to give birth in areas where proper medical care is limited and proper prenatal care is secondary. 

Teen mothers are common in Mexico. It is not a surprising issue in the country and many are used to the idea of teen mothers. This also means there are many working unpaid domestic jobs, living in low-income households, juggling work with child care or juggling their studies with taking care of children, and so on. Teenagers in Mexico deserve to be empowered to study, achieve their dreams and earn much more than they anticipate. An effective fight against unintentional pregnancies lies in better strategies than abstinence programs and other anti-abortion laws and beliefs. Teen girls are a large part of the economic prosperity of Mexico and it is important for them to be accepted by society as equals who deserve a proper education, good life, and proper care. 

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