Background of the study
Adolescent pregnancy is a major public health and social problem all around the world and its incidence is on the increase (Boyd 2000). Adolescent pregnancy constitutes a health hazard both to the mothers and the fetus. The mother is at increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, anaemia, obstructed labour and its sequelae (Uwaezuoke, 2004). They are also three times more likely to die as a result of the complications of pregnancy and delivery than those aged 20-24 (Aboyeji, 2001). The fetus is prone to be delivered preterm, small for gestational age and has an increased risk of peri-natal death (Uwaezuoke, 2004). The main issues that have strongly influenced the pattern of adolescent pregnancy include the declining age at menarche and the increase in the number of years spent in school. Adolescents who have finished at least 7 years of schooling (in developing countries) are more likely to delay marriage until after the age of 18 years (Salako et al 2006).
This increases the length of time that they are exposed to the risk of adolescent pregnancy. Approximately 16 million adolescents aged 15 to 19 become pregnant each year, constituting 11% of all births worldwide (World Health Organization, 2016). Despite rates of adolescent fertility declining globally in recent decades, adolescent pregnancies, births and their associated negative outcomes remain serious problems in many countries (Guttmacher Institute, 2014). Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are consistently the second cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19 years old (World Health Organization, 2016). Babies of adolescent mothers are 50% more likely to be stillborn, die early, or develop acute and long-term health problems. Young girls who become pregnant are at high risk of abridged education and thus limited economic prospects (Rosenberg, Pettifor, Miller, Thirumurthy, Emch, Afolabi and Tollman, 2015).
Unintended intercourse is the primary cause of unwanted pregnancies among Nigeria adolescent female students (Lamina, 2015). The prevalence of adolescent pregnancy in Nigeria is high. A prevalence rate of unwanted pregnancy of 26.6% and abortion prevalence of 21.7% (Oye-Adeniran, Adewole & Umoh, 2004). More so, the fact that most parents pay less attention to their children, coupled with the fact that teenagers today are growing up in a culture in which peers, television and motion pictures, music and magazine often transmit either covert or overt message that unmarried sexual relationship (specifically those involving teenagers) are common accepted and at times expected behaviour have contributed immensely to the moral decadence rampant among our teenagers. However, to be pregnant is a right that is supposed to be shared with one’s life partners unfortunately, due to various reasons, it has been abused by our adolescents today. Statistically four in ten girls become pregnant before 20. And about 40% of adolescent mothers are under 18 years of age (Awake, 2014).
The intention and timing of a pregnancy play major roles on its outcome. It has been found that, compared to intended pregnancies, unintended pregnancies have higher rates of adverse health outcomes including complications from unsafe abortion (Gipson, Koenig & Hindin, 2008). Unmarried young women who are sexually active are often in relationships where they lack power due to having older and/or wealthier male partners (Marston, Beguy, Kabiru & Cleland, 2013). Being in such relationships decreases their probability of having protected sex, thereby increasing their risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV (Luke, 2003).
Premarital sexual activity and consequently pregnancy have socioeconomic consequences such as decreased probability of completing education, decreased probability of gainful participation in the workforce, lower social standing and increased dependency on social welfare programs (Ikamari, Izugbara & Ochako, 2013). Therefore, understanding the risk and protective factors of premarital sexual and reproductive behaviours is relevant to programs and policies targeted at improving youth development and health.
Early childbearing is associated with higher risk of adverse reproductive outcomes and among the youngest mothers and their newborns, increased maternal and infant mortality (Nauar, 2003). Adolescent pregnancy contributes to the perpetuation of the poverty cycle by placing these girls at higher risk for low educational and occupational attainment and low socioeconomic status (United Nations Population Fund, 2007). Children born to teenage mothers experience more risk of abuse and neglect and have more behavioral problems (Fessler, 2003). However, early pregnancy is also perceived as a rite of passage pathway to adulthood that might bring positive consequences (4, 8-10). It may also be seen as an escape from abusive families (Nauar, 2003).
Adolescent pregnancy is a national problem that affects the community and society at large (Spear, 2004). The female adolescent students may fall into a depression while trying to handle the emotions a pregnancy creates and all of the possibly negative feedback about the pregnancy from friends and family (Lynn, 2011). When adolescent mothers receive encouragement from their social support systems to try new things, they will like to acquire a higher level of self-esteem and self-assurance (Bowman, 2012). Not only is adolescent pregnancy economically costly, it poses various social consequences for young mothers. Becoming an adolescent mother has been associated with lower educational attainment, which often leads to poverty and/or high school dropout (Meade & Ickovics, 2005).
Adolescent mothers are more likely than older mothers to live in socio-economic deprivation, to be benefit-dependent, and to have lower education and literacy. They are less likely to receive social support from friends, family or their children’s fathers, and more likely to have mental health and substance abuse problems (Collins, 2010). Adolescent pregnancy rates vary from state to state, and they appear to be influenced by a couple of different factors. Pilar (2011) argued that adolescent mothers may not receive the education to which they are entitled. It was suggested that school drop-out is a uniquely predictive factor of adolescent pregnancy and a precursor to, rather than a consequence of becoming pregnant (Pilar, 2011).
Statement of the problem
Over the years the menace of adolescent pregnancy has come to stay in our society. At first it was common among the undergraduate students but today it has spread across all ages of students among the female students. Today, it is no more new seeing a female secondary school student who got pregnant at senior secondary school class most especially at SSS II or SSS III (the advanced class in secondary school education). The rate of adolescent pregnancy has been observed by the researcher to be on the high rate among the adolescent female secondary school students in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
In spite of the effort of the state government and unrelenting campaigns against the adolescent pregnancy among female students, yet the prevalence of adolescent pregnancy among female students is high. No doubt, female students most especially in senior class are aware of how and when a female is matured to conceive as they have been taught about the foundational knowledge on reproductive system and sexual intercourse. And also many factors have been observed by the researcher to be the causes of adolescent pregnancy among female secondary school students today, notable among them are lack of sexual information, source of sexuality education, lack of parental monitoring, peer pressure, poor parenting style etc. The emotional and psychological effects of adolescent pregnancy to the adolescent female secondary school students has jeopardize the academic opportunity of many of the female students, increase the high rate of school dropout, maternal and infant mortality, frustration, depression, undue extended time of school completion and above all poor care of the new born baby.
It is based on the above observation and statement that the researcher was stimulated to find out the prevalence and causes of adolescent pregnancy among female secondary school students in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State
Purpose of the study
This study is designed to investigate the prevalence and causes of adolescent pregnancy among female secondary school students in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
Specifically, the study intends to find out:
- extent of adolescent pregnancy among female secondary school students in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
- difference in adolescent pregnancy between SSS II and SSS III female secondary school students in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
- if exposure to pornographic materials influence adolescent pregnancy among female secondary school students in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
- if peer group influence adolescent pregnancy among female secondary school students in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.
- if lack of parental care influence adolescent pregnancy among female secondary school students in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.