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2: 1 Theories-Related to Teenage Pregnancy

2:2 Causes of Pre-marital sex and Teenage Pregnancy

2:3 Psychological Effect of Teenage Pregnancy


2:5 Research on Pre-marital Sex

2:6 Research on Teenage Pregnancy
























Teenagers all over the world attract attention. The life and sexuality of the young people are very important for our generation. They are the future of this age. Their attitude and character today determine the future of our world. Their current problem today will equally determine the future problem of the world.


In our society, “Sex oozes from every pore of the culture and there’s not a kid in the world who can avoid it” said Charles Krauthammer (Meier, 1994,). Teenagers are surrounded by some sort of sexual connotations all the time. Whether it is television, radio, school, or even the Internet, teenagers hear the effects of sex on our society. Thus, all over the world, teenagers are experimenting with sexual activities more and more today than ever before. This experimentation of sexual activities has really led to increase in teenage pregnancy.


Teenage pregnancy has long been a societal concern, but in the past decade, this issue has become one of the most frequently cited examples of the perceived societal decay all over the world. The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the western world with approximately 1 million adolescents becoming pregnant every year (National Women’s Health Information Center).


What actually is responsible for this rise in teenage pregnancy?   Macleod and Durrheim (2003) have noted points of tension in their study on teenage pregnancy. They attributed the causes of teenage pregnancy to what has been called ‘mainstream’ and ‘revisionist approaches in the American literature on the subject.


According to the Mainstream writers, the factors contributing to teenage pregnancy include reproductive ignorance; risk-taking behaviours; precocious pubertal development; single-parenthood, female-headed households; family dysfunction; poverty; low self-esteem and moral development; poor health services; negative peer pressure coercive sexual relations; the breakdown of tradition and the cultural value placed on fertility (Macleod & Durrheim, 2003). 


A revisionist argument on the other hand, is founded within the conflict theory tradition. The conflict theory addresses the points of stresses and conflict in society and the ways in which they contribute to social change (Brinkerhoff et al., 2002). The primary assumptions here are competition over scarce resources, structural inequality in power and reward, and social change.


Conflict theorists ask: who benefits from those social structures and how do those who benefit maintains their advantage (Brinkerhoff et al., 2002a)? This tradition holds that early reproduction represents a rational reaction to a number of personal and structural constraints experienced by teenagers in the African community (Macleod & Durrheim, 2003).

Experts in this area and other commentators have offered varying opinions on the root causes of teenage pregnancy. According to Gill Francis, of the National Children’s Bureau, “There are four main reasons why girls in Britain become pregnant. We don’t give children enough information; we give them mixed messages about sex and relationships; social deprivation mean girls are more likely to become pregnant; and girls whose mothers were teenage mums are more likely to do the same”

Laurence Shaw, a UK fertility specialist, has suggested that, despite the social stigma attached to teenage pregnancy; it is a natural biological adaptation to begin reproducing during the peak fertile period of the late teens and early twenties. This is the period of time when the fecundity rate (a measure of fertility) is highest, nearing 30%.

According to Gracie Hsu of the Family Research Council, “contrary to the common perception that teenage sex and pregnancy typically stem from two teenagers getting caught up in the heat of the moment, new research reveals that many teenage girls are being sexually exploited and impregnated by adult men.” She also highlighted family breakdown, fatherless families, lack of parental supervision, cultural influences, and erosion of legal protections such as statutory rape laws.


Teen pregnancy continues to be one of the most difficult issues that teenagers, their families, and our communities face today.   What actually is responsible for the continued rise in the statistics for teenage pregnancy? Has education and poverty anything to do with teenage pregnancy? What really is the root cause of this ugly phenomenon? Has stigmatization any influence towards the rise of teenage pregnancy in our society?

Our study therefore is based on the influence of education and poverty on teenage pregnancy. We are going to limit our study to Inyicommunity in Oji River Local Government in Enugu State. Our interest is to know the extent poverty and education can influence teenage pregnancy.



PREGNANCY: According to World Dictionary, pregnancy is the state or condition of being pregnant or the period from conception to childbirth. For The American Heritage® Stedman’sMedical Dictionary, it is the condition of a woman or female mammal from conception until birth; the condition of being pregnant or the period during which a woman or female mammal is pregnant. Also called cyesis!

But Science Dictionary sees pregnancy as the condition of carrying developing offspring within the body. The time period during which this condition of development of the baby exists is referred to as gestation.

Teenage: According to Marriam Webster Dictionary of Learners is used being relating to people in their teens. This is often relating to people who are between 13 and 19 years old. It is sometime used to refer to adolescent or young persons.

Teenage pregnancy is formally defined as a pregnancy in a young woman who has not reached her 20th birthday when the pregnancy ends, regardless of whether the woman is married or is legally an adult (age 14 to 21, depending on the country). In everyday speech, the speaker is usually referring to unmarried minors who become pregnant unintentionally.

The average age of menarche (first menstrual period) is 12 years old, though this figure varies by ethnicity, and ovulation occurs only irregularly before this. Whether the onset of fertility in young women leads to pregnancy depends on a number of factors, both societal and personal. But any pregnancy that takes place between this menstrual period of 12 and 19 is referred to as teenage pregnancy

Poverty is the lack of basic human needs, such as clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter, because of the inability to afford them. This is also referred to as absolute poverty or destitution. Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages. About 1.7 billion people in the world live in absolute poverty (http/ poverty).

Poverty is additionally seen as a state of mind and a lifestyle more than just a lack of materials. It is a state of deprivation and insecurity. Even those who can get above poverty are always close to falling back into its clutches.

Education: The word education is derived from the Latin word: educare, meaning to “bring up”,. This is related to the terms: educere  meaning to “bring out”, “bring forth what is within”, “bring out potential” and ducere, “to lead”. In practice, education is seen as the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. For some people, it is the act or process of acquiring knowledge, especially systematically during childhood and adolescence.



Ours is an age of sexual revolution. The last one hundred years have witnessed anuprising in sexual behavior. In 1900, only 6% of US women would have engaged in premarital sex by the age of 19. But recently, we had 75% who have had this experience before the age of 19. The statistic seems to be increasing every day.

It has been discovered by the Save the Children foundation that 13 million children are born to women under age 20 worldwide, more than 90% in developing countries. Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of mortality among women between the ages of 15 and 19 in such areas. The highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world is in sub-Saharan Africa, where women tend to marry at an early age. In Niger, for example, 87% of women surveyed were married and 53% had given birth to a child before the age of 18(Teenage pregnancy http/

Teenage parenthood is by no means a new phenomenon in Nigeria. Some young women in various cultures tend to begin childbearing before20 in Nigeria. These Pregnant teenagers face many medical,social and economic problems probably because they live in a developing country. For mothers between 15 and 19, age in itself is not a risk factor, but the outstanding risks may be associated with socioeconomic and cultural factors. Thus poverty and customs are influential factors towards teenage pregnancy.

Teenage pregnancy in developed countries is usually outside of marriage, and carries a social stigma in many communities and cultures. Many studies and campaigns attempted to uncover the causes and limit the numbers of teenage pregnancies. In other countries and cultures, particularly in the developing world, teenage pregnancy may be withinor outside marriage and may sometime not involve a social stigma.  But the problem of poverty and lack of education is always there in teenage pregnancy.

Teen pregnancy especially whenever it comes outside marriage is one of the most difficult experiences a young person might ever face when it interrupts school or other plans. It creates an emotional crisis which results in feelings of inferiority and fear, and it may appear as if the victim’s life will crumble under pressures before and after delivery ( Adolescent childbearing has negative effects on the adolescent, the offspring, and society in general (Roosa, Fitzgerald, & Carlson, 1982; Elster, Lamb, Peters, Kahn, & Tavare, 1987; Donovan & Jessor, 1985; Mott & Haurin, 1988; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1995).

The mainstream writers see teenage pregnancy as a social problem that leads to the disruption of schooling; poor obstetric outcomes; inadequate mothering; poor child outcomes; relationship difficulties with relatives, partners and peers; and demographic concerns about increasing population numbers (Macleod & Durrheim, 2003).

In Inyi community, Oji L.G. A. of Enugu state, Nigeria, thecases of teenage pregnancy is very rampart and the crises resulting from it are many. Some people trace this to lack of proper education while others see it as arising from the economic factor of poverty.But there are still others who hold that both factors have no influence on the rise of teenage pregnancy. What actually then is responsible for the increase of teenage pregnancy and its attending social ill?


1.     To ascertain the extent poverty can influence teenagers towards teenage pregnancy.

2.     To find out whether level of formal education influences teenage pregnancy


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