Teenage pregnancy is a societal problem

Velisha Thompson of the City of Johannesburg.

Local clinics have been inundated with pregnant teenage mothers.

This is extremely concerning as teenagers are not ready physically, mentally or emotionally to have babies.

Many teenagers are also presenting themselves with STIs (Sexually transmitted infections) at the clinics. The Department of Basic Education has also noted the increase in teenage pregnancies at schools, especially primary schools in the past year.

This can only mean that teenagers are having unprotected sex and they should be behaving more responsibly and taking precautions.Those that are indulging in such acts are usually not performing well at school.

Read: Free prenatal visits increased from 4 to 8 for pregnant women

Female teenagers need to be encouraged to abstain from sex until they have completed school and feel that they are emotionally ready for motherhood. Having a baby at an early age prevents girls from enjoying their teenage life to the fullest.

Babies need to be breastfed and need their mothers around all the time. Remember, even though it takes two to make a baby, it is usually the mother who ends up taking care of the infant. The father can still go out and enjoy his life.

Babies are a costly affair, they require clothing, baby milk, food and nappies. Disposable nappies are very expensive.

The contributing factors leading to teenage pregnancy are:

  • alcohol and drug abuse
  • poverty
  • peer pressure
  • low self-esteem
  • unprotected sex which can also predispose you to STIs.

STIs are very common and should be a major concern to those that practise unsafe sex.

Read: HIV Vaccine Awareness Day: Get tested and know your status

What is an STI?

A STI is an infections that is passed from one person to another during a sexual encounter.

A person should see a doctor or health professional immediately if there are any symptoms that present themselves e.g. burning sensations when passing urine.

The highest incidence of STI infection occurs among girls 15 to 19 years of age.

The Department of Basic Education said it had noted that at schools where parents were actively involved in their children’s lives, have lower records of teenage pregnancies. Parents were therefore encouraged to get to know what their children were up to and the friends that they kept.

Sipho Siso

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