Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Irregular menstruation periods in PUBERTY are normal, but can be TEEN PREGNANCY also, if sexually active.

Irregular or missed menstruation periods after the first MENARCHE, during the next year or two are very common. In some girls this irregularity on menstruation cycles continues for many years, before it regularise to its MONTHLY cycle. The girls may conceive, become pregnant and mother in their teens due to early teen marriage.  Also due to incidents of rape on teen girls and the rising levels of promiscuity among teenagers are causes of concern leading to teenage/adolescent pregnancy.

Puberty is the stage of adolescence when a girl ovum gets mature and can sexually reproduce. A preteen girl can become pregnant even before her first menstrual cycle, as ovulation, the release of first egg from the ovary, does occur before the first period (MENARCHE). The first ova-ovum-egg can become fertilized. A teenage girl can get conceived without actual penetration also. The sperm can travel upwards from the external genital area and result in pregnancy. It is therefore very important for teenagers to have proper knowledge and understanding of their body and its functions to avoid sexual abuse/molestation or before marriage or becoming sexually active.
The teenage pregnancies due to marriage or sex between unmarried teenagers have issues concerning the higher rates of nutritional and obstetric problems associated. Also, the ignorance and immaturity can result in higher health risks among teen mothers and their babies. The symptoms of a teenage pregnancy are not different from a normal pregnancy. But similar symptoms during PUBERTY except vomiting may occur due to hormonal changes or other reasons.
* Breast enlargement and breast tenderness
* Irregular vaginal spotting or bleeding
* Stomach cramping & Fatigue
* Increased drowsiness and moodiness
* weight gain
* Missed period
* Nausea/vomiting
Unfortunately, the teen girls with irregular periods may not even realize that she is pregnant until well into the fifth month of pregnancy – when she starts feeling the baby’s movements. In spite of experiencing above symptoms many teen girls do not tell anyone due to unawareness or embarrassment, and as such often go unnoticed by friends and family.
Any teen girl who experiences irregular or absent periods or any of the symptoms and (who is sexually active / molest /incest/rape), is advised to undergo a pregnancy test. This should be done by self or by gynaecologist if any sexual intercourse has happened with her. An early diagnosis of pregnancy helps the teen girl to adjust emotionally and physically.
Usually, pregnancy is associated with weight gain but if nausea and vomiting are significant there could be weight loss. Pelvic examination by a gynaecologist may reveal coloration of vaginal walls, coloration and softening of the cervix, and softening and enlargement of the uterus. Finally, an ultrasound sonography may be done to confirm the current status of the pregnancy.
The ultimate "cause" of teenage pregnancy is being sexually active. A sexually active teenager who does not use contraception has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within one year. Many teenage brides become pregnant within a year of married life due to unawareness on sexual relationship and pregnancy. Some behaviour patterns for a teen girl becoming pregnant include:
* early dating behaviour
* Unhealthy/sexual abuse environment
* high-risk behaviours (smoking, alcohol )
* lack of a friendly support group
* stress and depression and lack of love from parents/family
* exposure to sexual violence
* financial gains
 
Indian society does not accept unwed mother, teenage or adult. She experiences isolation, guilt accompanied by stress and depression, low self esteem resulting in lack of interest in studies, limited job prospects and lack of a support group or friends.  Such condition may lead to suicide due to teen pregnancy.
Health wise married teen mothers have a much higher risk for anaemia, pregnancy-induced hypertension, genital tract infections (which may lead to premature labour and delivery), large baby within a small pelvis and sudden infant death syndrome. The major complications in young mothers are thought to be iron deficiency, anaemia, disproportion and birth of low weight unhealthy babies.
Similarly, infants born to such teenage mothers are at higher risk of complications of pre-maturity, low weight, accidental trauma and poisoning, minor acute infections, lack of immunization or vaccinations and developmental delays. While sexually active teen girl in the non-pregnant state has a high possibility of getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), chronic pelvic pain, cervical cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Pregnancy at teen age especially an unwanted one leads to severe emotional and mental trauma for the girl. Hence, important programs are those effective in delaying attempts at sexual intercourse. Parents, schools and healthcare professionals should have open, honest, and educational talks with teenagers and preteens. Parents can also provide advice to teenagers about how to prevent unwanted teenage pregnancy.
Since unprotected sex is the cause of teen pregnancies, contraceptive counselling of married or unmarried teen girls; is highly important. Birth control pills, the most popular form of contraception should be taken regularly or as advised else risk of pregnancy. Barrier methods such as condoms, diaphragms, and foam have high failure rates among teenagers, due to sporadic and improper use. To avoid pregnancy in the event of unprotected sexual intercourse, teenagers should be made aware to inform parents immediately and resort to emergency contraception. These information help teenage girls to avoid getting pregnant even after having sex, the best way however is to educate them on the importance of abstinence (sex after marriage). Unfortunately young girls have never given much importance to contraception and only think about it after they have had an unwanted pregnancy.
It is high time that young girls take it upon themselves to make their choice of contraception – because it is they who suffer from the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy. For reasons of fertility limitations teenage pregnancy should be discouraged as more years are available for more pregnancies. In young women subsequent pregnancies should be discouraged as rapid repeat pregnancy in young mothers increases prenatal risks. For the benefit of their family and themselves, unmarried teenage girls should display responsible sexual behaviour and abstain from sex.

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