THE increasing number of adolescents who fall pregnant shows we need more effective education about contraception.
About 40% of all pregnancies worldwide are unplanned and in Mzansi, teen pregnancies increased dramatically between 2011 and 2013. Figures show that close to 100 000 schoolgirls fell pregnant in 2013 compared to 81 000 in 2012 and 68 000 in 20113.
Rising teen pregnancies in Mzansi may be attributed to a number of factors:
- Dysfunctional families where parents either have little or no time to talk to their children about sex and sexuality or to discuss the use of contraceptives.
- Poverty where girls exchange sexual favours for money, clothes, and other goods.
- A lack of information about sex and contraception.
- Media – in 2014, 26% of TV programmes screened explicit sex scenes.
- Alcohol abuse, which leads to risky behaviour, is also a cause of unplanned pregnancies – especially among teens.
Figures from the South African Medical Research Council show that in 2009, 454 children under the age of five died due to homicide. More than 50% were 28 days old or younger . . .
According to the Department of Health, at the end of January, 155 624 abortions had been performed in public hospitals and clinics since the law legalising abortion came into effect in February 1997. Girls under 18 accounted for 80 873 abortions – this excludes illegal abortions.
There are two main methods of contraception, namely hormonal and non-hormonal methods.
Hormonal methods are further divided into long-acting such as implants, injectibles or intrauterine devices, female sterilisation or vasectomy and short-acting, which include oral contraceptives (the pill), barrier methods such as condoms as well as the patch and vaginal rings.
While one method may be safe and comfortable for a particular woman, another might not find the same contraceptive as ideal, so women are advised to consult with a healthcare professional first.