Problem

Health risks of teenage sex

Other Names:
Premature sexual intercourse
Nature:

Around the world, as significant number of adolescents are sexually active at early ages, with an increasing proportion of this activity occurring outside of marriage.

Health risks of teenage sex include sexually transmitted diseases, inadequately administered contraceptives, and pregnancy. Because a girl's natural immunity is not fully developed, early sexual activity puts her at greater risk from sexually transmitted diseases, reproductive tract infections and cervical cancer. Pregnancy is obviously the most serious risk for girls who are not yet physically mature. The two main obstetric risks of early pregnancy are toxaemia (high blood pressure) and cephalopelvic disproportion (the baby's head is large relative to the size of the mother's pelvis). The baby of a young mother will have a low birth weight either due to premature delivery or to delivery at term of an undernourished foetus. This means the baby is more likely to die at birth or in infancy and that its physical and mental development may be impaired.

Abortion is an option, though it is still illegal in many countries and thus a girl may have to seek an illegal abortion from an unskilled practitioner (complete with all its possible complications). Even in countries where abortion is legal, pregnant teenage girls may not seek such services due to the prior formalities need that may be necessary. In addition, a pregnant girl may not know she is pregnant or may vainly wish it would go away, and thus not seek an abortion until after the first three months of pregnancy, thus increasing the risk of complications.

Incidence:

In the Caribbean Islands, 58% of all first births are to mothers less than 19 years of age, and half of those are under 17 years old; 41% of Indonesian women have their 1st baby before they are 17; in the USA a million teenage girls become pregnant every year, about 30,000 of them under 15. When girls become pregnant before the age of 15, they are 68% more likely to die in pregnancy than their older counterparts; and infant mortality is 2.4 times higher for babies born to those mothers than for babies born to mothers in their early 20s.

Related Problems:
Low self esteem
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender Equality
Date of last update
18.06.2019 – 19:00 CEST