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Informative Essay on Teenage Pregnancy in Kenya

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In the recent past decades, the number of teen pregnancy has reduced drastically in the United States of America due to the measure put in place by the American Academy of Paediatrics (APP) to prevent teen pregnancy. However, it is still a serious issue in other countries such as Kenya that still needs to be discussed since it comes with many social, economic, emotional, financial, and mental issues.

The center for disease control (CDC) identified teenage pregnancy as a significant public health issue mostly in developing countries. Teen pregnancy affects many sectors like education, family, healthcare, youths and the government. According to the Demographic Health Survey, nearly three hundred thousand adolescent girls in Kenya aged between 10 and 19 years became pregnant every year making its prevalence rate at 18%. Teenage pregnancy hold Kenya back from achieving its SDG goals since most adolescent girls drop out of school after getting pregnant making it difficult for them to escape poverty.

Causes of teenage pregnancy

Most cases of teenage pregnancy occur due to sexual activity either voluntarily or involuntarily. Most kids in Kenya are sexually active at the age of fifteen. Moreover, most of them neglect the use of protection and contraceptives. Since teenage enjoys the social life of parting and the use of drugs and alcohol, the intoxication leads to poor judgment leading to the involvement of sexual activities.

Early marriage is also a common factor contributing to teenage pregnancy in Kenya since most marriages are informal and unregistered. Sexual abuse and molestation also lead to early teenage pregnancy. Peer pressure and media influence have also contributed to teenage pregnancy. Most teenagers get involved in sexual activities due to peer pressure from their friends. They feel left out since their friends have already had sex. The media also influence them when they watch adult content making them want and experience the pleasure of having sex leading to pregnancy

Complications of teenage pregnancy

The baby is likely to be born prematurely if the mother was not strong enough to push through the birth trimesters. It can also lead to giving birth to an underweight baby. These issues might cause the baby to have defects such as cerebral palsy, baldness, chronic respiratory problems, deafness, hyperactivity, dyslexia, and mental retardation. The child is also prone to be affected by genetic disorder since gene splicing is very prominent in young people making it easy for gene transfer from the mother to the child. Examples of genetic disorders include sickle anemia, leukemia, hemophilia, thalassemia, Down syndrome, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The environment in which the mother lives in during the pregnancy period also has a significant effect during childbirth. If the environment is toxic, there is a high chance of the mother giving birth to a child with genetic complications due to gene alteration, e.g., autism. Can also lead to miscarriage or premature birth. The child might also be affected by cephalopelvic disproportion- the head of the baby is bigger than the pelvic opening. Those complications increase the chances of infant death.

Pregnancy induces hypertension, poor maternal weight gain, anemia, and urinary tract infection and sexually transmitted diseases to the mother. It gives the mother sleepless nights making the mother go through mental changes. It can also lead to death during childbirth or baby blues after childbirth. They can be affected by Postpartum Depression – After childbirth, about ten to fifteen percent of women go through postpartum depression due to the aftermath of delivery and pregnancy. It leads to reduced mother-infant bonding. Its caused by a rapid decrease of some hormones during delivery, complications during childbirth, family history of mood disorder, high level of stress during pregnancy, and previous depressive episodes. Other teenage pregnant mothers tend to face suicidal thoughts due to peer pressure and experience posttraumatic stress disorder.

Teenage pregnancy causes the mother to put her education on hold and take care of the baby. This lead to delays her academically or lead to dropping out of school. During the pregnancy period if the mother is still enrolled at school can lead to poor grade performance since they are torn in between their condition and school.

Teenage pregnant mothers tend up to be miserable if their families do not support them. Finding a job is not an easy task for teenage pregnant mothers since most workers assume that they will be requesting a paid leave very soon which will make the company run at a loss. Majority of teenage mothers end up doing odd jobs to make ends meet. Some are afraid to talk to their parents about the pregnancy due to their strictness making them run away from home supporting themselves. It leads to the loss of government revenue due to the plan welfare schemes put in place to take care of teenage mothers and their children. To add to that, a teenage mother is exempted from paying taxes. “Nationally, teen childbearing costs taxpayers at least $7 billion each year in direct costs associated with health care, foster care, criminal justice, public assistance and lost tax revenue”.

Teenage mothers are always uncertain about the future making them worry too much on how they are going to take care of the baby. They believed that the baby had messed their lives upholding them achieving dreams that they had planned. They have limited vocational opportunities making for them to settle down financially. Most are neglected by the father of the child making them exert the emotional stress to their child making them abandon their kid or neglect giving them the required attention. They are always exhausted denying them room to have a social life. Their social life ends up been ruined leading to emotional trauma. Due to emotional trauma, most mothers opt to depend on substance abuse to suppress their pain.

Teenage pregnancy prevention measures

Abstinence – is the best way to prevent teenage pregnancy even though some people consider it old fashion. It will allow them to reconsider their sexual option and prepare them to be ready when the right times comes. With this at home teenagers will have much information about sex and its consequences. Communication – Parents should be clear about sexual values and attitudes and where they stand. These will help their kids have a better understanding of sex, and they will know how to approach the issue. They will not be surprised by sexual activities making them want to experiment things out.

The federal government should also put programs in plans that offer an affordable family plan. Also, educate teenage girls on the risks of having sex at an early age. Use of contraceptives – it is advised that if teenagers have to be involved in sexual activities; it is appropriate for them to use contraceptives to avoid cases of pregnancy. The best-recognized contraceptive in the market is LARC. They also are educated on how to use contraceptives. To top up that they are also given information on how to use a condom and encouraged to be open about requesting their sexual partner to consider the use of the condom. The limitation of the method is that it will be like the government is encouraging teenagers to have sex.

National Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Policy (ASRH) is a policy developed in Kenya in 2015 to educate the public more about sexual education in relation to the adolescents. The aim of the policy was to promote national development through enhancing sexual and reproductive health of teenagers in Kenya in order to release their full potential. The key focus of the policy was to reduce the rate at which teenage girls were getting pregnant.

The policy is not widely spread across the nation hence many counties in the nation have not realized the policy making it hard to enact its implementation. The Kenyan government also lucks funds to implement and sustain the policy.


Most teenage pregnancies occur due to unprotected sex, lack of personal responsibility and lack of maturity. These occur due to sex stigmatization and lack of proper sex education. Most of the teenage mothers fail to finish their education and end up dropping out of school, and these lead to lack of unemployment failing to offer their child with proper financial support.

A teenage mother is mostly abandoned by their baby daddy who is afraid of responsibilities leaving the mother and the child to suffer alone. Due to the difficulties faced with teenage pregnancies, most teenagers opt to go for abortion to avoid the burden of raising the baby. Teenage pregnancy is accompanied by health implications that cause the death of both the mother and the child. Teenage pregnancy is very expensive to manage in all aspects, so it advised for parents, institution, religion outlet and the federal government to put out measures to educate teenagers about teenage pregnancy and sex to avoid such incidents from happening


  1. Darroch, JE, et al. (2016). Adding it Up: Costs and Benefits of Meeting the Contraceptive Needs of Adolescents. New York: Guttmacher Institute. Guttmacher Institute. (2017). Adding It Up: Investing in Contraception and Maternal and Newborn Health, 2017.
  2. Fact sheet. Retrieved 28th April 2019 from: Republic of Kenya and KNBS-Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. (2015). Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014.
  3. Retrieved 28th April 2019 from: UNFPA (2017) Adolescent pregnancy. Retrieved 28th April 2019, WHO-World Health Organization. (2014)
  4. Adolescent pregnancy. Fact sheet. Retrieved 6 July 2017 from: mediacentre/factsheets/fs364/en/.

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