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World Population Day 2017: Dangers of adolescent pregnancies

It's estimated that four million girls between the ages of 15-19 give birth in India every year.

Teenage pregnancyWorld Population Day is celebrated on July 11 every year. It's estimated that four million girls between the ages of 15-19 give birth in India every year and pregnancies in that age are riddled with complications because the female body while capable of it, isn't ready for the rigours of childbirth.

Here are some of the common issues that riddle adolescent mothers-to-be and their unborn babies:

Hypertension: They have a higher risk of suffering from hypertension during pregnancy than women in their 20s and 30s. They're also likelier to suffer from pre-eclampsia (What is preeclampsia?). In pregnant women (including teens), hypertension can lead to a serious condition called preeclampsia where women start passing protein in their urine. This leads to the disease called eclampsia which is characterised by seizures and a coma. This condition also affects other vital organs like the kidneys, liver and brain.

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Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of hypertension.

Anaemia: Caused due to lack of red blood cells which is usually due to nutrition deficiency like iron, vitamin B12, folic acid. The most common form is anaemia. Even women who're older experience iron deficiency during pregnancy.

Postpartum haemorrhage: The term refers to a haemorrhage (bleeding) after delivering and is quite common among adolescent mothers. It's caused due to the four Ts:

  • Tone: Uterine atony or the inability of the uterus to contract leading to continuous bleeding.
  • Trauma: From delivery which causes tear of tissues and vessels.
  • Tissue: Retention of tissue from the placenta or foetus which leads to bleeding.
  • Thrombin: Failure of clotting

Premature birth:This has a host of complications including neonatal mortality (death within the first month) developmental disorders, respiratory complications, vision problems and heart-related issues. They're also likelier to have a low-birth weight which is linked to neurological problems. They also suffer from hypoglycaemia (less glucose in the bloodstream).

STDs:The chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases including HIV is much higher in adolescent girls because they have less say in who their sexual partner is, particularly in an orthodox country like ours. Many of them are married to men who they've never met before and have no clue about their sexual history.

All in all adolescent pregnancies are a big menace and we need to curb the practice to safeguard the lives of our daughters, so that they too can live a completely fulfilling life.

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