Pregnancy in adolescents, a cyclical phenomenon that is repeated from one generation to another in the same families
Romania ranks second in the European Union in the birth rate among teenage mothers
BUCHAREST, January 8, 2021. Romania ranks second in the European Union in the birth rate among adolescent mothers, the pregnancy in adolescence having many negative consequences on expectant mothers, as well as social and economic costs, according to a study conducted by UNICEF together with SAMAS Association in Romania. According to the authors, the phenomenon is cyclical, repeating within the same families from one generation to another together with economic, social and health precariousness.
In 2019, 16,639 pregnancies were registered among adolescents, down 9% compared to 2018. In the case of adolescents under 15, the number of pregnancies decreased in all regions, except the North-West and North-East regions, where the increase was 11%.
- In 2019, the number of abortions for girls between 15 and 19 years old was 4,290
- The age of the first sexual partner is close to the age of adolescence in almost 70% of cases
- For adolescents between 15 and 19 years old, in 2019, the most pregnancies were in the counties of Mureș (827 pregnancies), Brașov (761 pregnancies), Dolj (700 pregnancies), Iași (691 pregnancies), Bacău ( 654 pregnancies), Constanța (616 pregnancies), Bihor (593 pregnancies), Suceava (512 pregnancies), Dâmbovița (503 pregnancies) and Prahova (483 pregnancies)
- Adolescents with the lowest level of education have the most pregnancies (31.7%), more than three times higher than those who have completed compulsory education or studied at highschool.
"The report's conclusions clearly show the need for complex measures on several levels and with the involvement of several state institutions, which must be coordinated effectively. The education system, the medical system, but also the local authorities must act, paying more attention to young people from vulnerable categories, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the vulnerabilities of families at risk have increased ", said Pieter Bult, UNICEF Representative in Romania.
The report shows that pregnancies for mothers over 15 could be prevented through education and family planning programs tailored to the socio-cultural environment in which these adolescents live. There is also no delimitation of the role and correlation of the competencies of action for the authorities regarding the reproductive health of young generations and the prevention of pregnancies in minors.
"The level of education is directly proportional to the age of the first couple experience and the occurrence of a pregnancy in the life of a teenager. A significant percentage of underage mothers (31.7%, from our data) do not complete the primary education cycle. One in six teenagers who had a child before the age of 15 will have a second child before the age of 18. These figures illustrate the scale of the problem and the need for educational action to address all groups of adolescents, on specific communication channels and with different forms of message presentation, tailored to their needs. As for the SAMAS Association, it will continue to be involved in supporting the activity of education in disadvantaged communities", said Marina Oțelea, from SAMAS Association, one of the authors of report.
The authors note that no educational measures are implemented for socially disadvantaged groups of adolescents and those who have dropped out of school, which increases the probability of risky sexual behavior and unwanted pregnancy.
There is a need for a complex, multidimensional approach, within integrated public policies aimed at reproductive education, raising community awareness of specific needs in the field and providing services tailored to the psychological and emotional profile of adolescents.
Recommendations include initiating a legal-administrative reform to remove barriers to underage youth’s access to reproductive and on sexuality health information and services, by reviewing and adapting the legal framework on reproductive health policies.
It is also recommended to introduce reproductive health education and education on sexuality in the school curriculum as a compulsory subject, in accordance with international standards and to focus the curricula on values and the creation of responsible behavioral habits.
It is also necessary to reorganize family planning services with the initiation of friendly services for adolescents and young people and to identify possibilities to rebuild the network of family planning offices / reproductive health services. It is also recommended to provide free contraceptives to adolescents in general, and with priority to the disadvantaged.
The report can be downloaded here.
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For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.