Walking around the schools, neighborhoods or health centers of Ciudad Juárez, we see this reality that persists and makes us set off some alarms: pregnant girls. Some of us find it necessary to move closer to observe something of this complex panorama of social, economic, educational, public health and culture. Find out what makes teenagers make this decision, ideally they would make it with some autonomy. Adolescent pregnancy is a situation with very specific characteristics and causes great concern not only for health systems when it occurs in women between 15 and 19 years of age, it carries a double risk of death and up to five times in the youngest. say 10 to 14 years, often due to infections, anemia, preeclampsia-eclampsia, etc.
In Chihuahua, and especially in our city, we have a high incidence of pregnancy among the adolescent population, so it is imperative to refine strategies to reduce pregnancies before the age of 20, especially in the 10- to 15-year-old group.
Through the institutions, efforts are being made to reduce their morbidity, which is registered among the highest in the country, as in 2018, which according to INEGI data, our country is the highest with teenage pregnancy, reflecting a rate of 21.4 per 100 births. The Ministry of Health has documented that in 2018 in Juárez there were a total of 197 births to mothers between the ages of 10 and 14 and 6,616 in which the mothers were between the ages of 15 and 19. in this age group that becomes pregnant, more than half do not continue their studies and will be single mothers, many of them will have the opportunity to have a second child by another father, most often between three and four years after the birth of the first son. According to the State Subgroup for the Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy in Ciudad Juárez, in 2019, 4,216 pregnancies were registered in our city among girls and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19. And in 2021, 36 percent of total pregnancies observed in the State Health Services correspond to those occurring in women between the ages of 15 and 19, especially in the northeast part of the city.
The social role of girls and adolescents, from their lifespan, is still strongly influenced by the role of motherhood; Thus, adolescents who live with a partner would have a high probability of becoming pregnant, putting the role of mother before their educational studies. This is also related to the socio-economic level, especially when they are in a low stratum and with the presence of educational backwardness due to dropout, the school environment itself can bring with it a number of disadvantages that are revealed during the stage of adolescence. . Although during pregnancy the adolescent may receive support to continue his studies, as happens in some public schools in Ciudad Juarez, the situation will be very different during the birth of the child or children, since almost half of the adolescents in this situation they can opt out of their studies. In addition, pregnant women are more likely to have more offspring than those who do so at an older age.
The expectations of our little ones are lowered by their homes or their school circles, where it is normal to start sexual relations at an early age, without the educational and health elements that every person should have, girls then accept that the consequence of pregnancy is also normal, because that’s how they see it in the environment, they even consider that if they don’t get pregnant at that age, it might leave them at a social disadvantage compared to their peers. Sexual abuse, laden with shame and guilt, is another normalized face that causes pregnancy.
The group of adolescents does not have access to comprehensive sexuality education, to health services appropriate to their needs, and to the protective and educational function that their family nucleus should provide. Our community continues with harmful attitudes towards women, especially in the adolescent group, such as inequality, stigmatization and even violence in various forms, psychological, physical, sexual, including the abandonment of their sentimental partners in this situation.
Transforming the expectations of our adolescents is everyone’s task, although it seems that it is no one’s, an educational approach is essential for parents or carers who are able to realize and understand that there are inherent rights of minors who protect them from any form of violence or abuse, including neglect of care or lack of access to comprehensive sexuality education. It is important to identify the factors that can affect the family, school or community environment, especially and categorically, in order to prevent any kind of violence, as well as the warning signs of violence or abuse of children and cases where the minor is not recorded in school and is included in the work to establish measures to protect and improve their situation. Emphasize the search for all types of abuse in juveniles with disabilities, as well as the availability of support networks and the ability to break intergenerational chains of abuse or stigma with a family approach.
Then the little ones could have other options than being mothers, understanding that giving life does not mean being without it.