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Teenage pregnancy dropped 60% in the last decade: why is it?


In 2013, 117,386 births were registered with mothers under 20 years of age. The current figures speak of 47,630. There are 70,000 fewer pregnancies.

For decades,

almost all countries in the world have been working to reduce adolescent pregnancy rates


The reasons are multiple: they range from the enormous physical risks that it implies for bodies still in development, to the psychological problems that it can trigger, in addition to the economic and work determinants that it causes in life trajectories.

In the last ten years, Argentina managed to reduce these pregnancies by 60%.

In 2013 there were 117,386, while the current official figures speak of 47,630.

There are 70,000 fewer pregnancies, 70,000 girls and adolescents with more opportunities.

What is the decline due to?

Better distribution of contraceptives?

More information?

Changes in life expectancy?

More Comprehensive Sexual Education in schools?

Public politics?


A decade ago,

teenage pregnancy represented almost 16% of the total.

Today it dropped to 9%.

In 2021, a total of 529,794 births were registered, 30% less than the more than 750,000 registered in 2013. In other words, although all the figures decrease, the girls/adolescents segment is the one that decreases the most.

The so-called "early" maternity (between 10 and 14 years) as a result of sexual abuse (rape or relationships marked by asymmetry) dropped from 3,269 pregnancies to 1,394. In any case, it means that four girls still have a baby every day: a

new girl-mother every six hours.

The claim of "Niñas no madres", present in women's marches for years.

Photo: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (Caba) is the district with the fewest adolescent pregnancies in the country: 650 out of a total of 26,044 births.

Pregnancies under 20 are 2.5%.

At the other extreme is Formosa: 1,472 pregnancies out of a total of 8,818 were among adolescents, that is, 17% of the total.

Misiones, Chaco, Corrientes, Santiago del Estero, Salta, Catamarca, San Juan, Jujuy, Entre Ríos and Tucumán are the provinces that are above the average for the country.

Formosa, Chaco and Misiones are also those with the highest percentage of girl-mothers.

It should be noted that

in Caba the differences that exist between the communes are abysmal.

If the average adolescent fertility rate is 12.4 (in 2010 it was 33.9), in Recoleta (commune 2) this number is 2.6 and in Villa Soldati, Villa Riachuelo, Villa Lugano (commune 8) and La Boca, Barracas, Parque Patricios and Nueva Pompeya (community 4) reach 32 and 31.

"Good news"

"The fact that adolescent pregnancy is decreasing

is good news because it means that more adolescents are being able to have access to their sexual and reproductive rights

; this is being able to have a careful and informed sexuality, decide whether or not to have children, and if they want to have them, with whom, at what point in their lives Most teenage pregnancies are unplanned, they do not arise from a desire to maternity, but, to a large extent, from a lack of access to information, comprehensive sexual education, access to contraceptive methods The lowering of the indicator shows us that

more and more adolescents are enjoying bodily autonomy that allows them to plan, imagine, and project their lives

without maternity being imposed as an inevitable fact, but rather as a project or decision,"

 Javier Quesada, a specialist in Early Childhood Development at UNICEF Argentina, told

Clarin .

"Adolescents benefit on multiple levels; not only in terms of health, because we know that

pregnancies that occur in girls and adolescents under 15 years of age represent an

increased obstetric risk to their health, but also in educational, social, and economic terms," ​​she adds. Quesada- Adolescents who become mothers have an

increased risk of dropping out of school, and their educational trajectories

, and therefore work, are altered by the burden of care that maternity entails, which we know falls mainly on adolescents mothers".

The story of two friends 

"Adolescent pregnancy, which is a moment, and early motherhood, which is long-lasting, has

micro and macro consequences at the social and economic level


Federico Tobar, Health Financing Advisor of the Nations Population Fund, assures


. Nations, (UNFPA, in New York). 

To depict the micro social level, Tobar tells the story of two friends: two teenagers are born in the same city, go to the same school, share games and dreams, but one of them gets pregnant during adolescence, and the other doesn't


When she turns 24, the pregnant woman has a 70% chance of having been working for 4 or 5 years in the informal market and having two children, she is also 59% more likely to go for her second partner.

Meanwhile, her friend, it is most likely that she is starting her first formal job if she has finished her tertiary or university studies.

"The woman who was a mother after the age of 24 receives

income that is between 24 and 38% higher than the woman who was a mother early," 

says Tobar, who details studies and variables on the educational, economic, and labor impact: "Mothers early mothers have a 23% lower income in the entire Region.There are three adult mothers finishing university for every early mother.In a country with a peasant economy that does not require high qualifications, it does not matter if one is an early mother or not, but in an economy industrial, for each additional year of study the salary is higher

The gap in the salary of adult and early mothers reaches 40%

Early maternity generates early labor insertion but with low income,

90% will receive income below the poverty line".

It also talks about health:

a 16-year-old girl has twice the risk of dying in childbirth

than a 24-year-old woman and

a girl under 15 has 4 times the risk of dying

, and the same happens with their babies, they are born with many more problems and risks.

"Adolescent pregnancy is an obstacle to both personal and national development - defines the specialist -. From structuralist theory like that of ECLAC,

underdevelopment is not a lack of development but economic growth that leaves people out.

 Teenage pregnancy is the best measure of underdevelopment: they are girls who have the same life expectancy at birth, the same level of education, the same level of income and fertility rate as their mothers and grandmothers, but no development has benefited them at all economic and social". 

"It's not abortion" 

Fabián Portnoy is director of the Coordination of Sexual Health, HIV and STIs of the Ministry of Health of CABA, gives figures for the city and details that there is a pronounced decrease in the adolescent fertility rate and also in access to the interruption of pregnancy, "with which , access to termination of pregnancies does not justify the decrease in the adolescent fertility rate, that is,

the cause is not abortion

", and thus dismisses, outright, one of the arguments that could be made.

Portnoy also shows that the steepest decline in the city occurs "in the poorest communes."

For the specialist, one of the key explanations for the decline is

"greater access to contraceptive methods.

The city greatly increased distribution, especially that of long-acting contraceptives, there is a large increase in contraceptive coverage."

"Although there is a decrease throughout the country and in the world, in Caba it has a much more pronounced curve. Even in the poorest communes, whose general health and socio-environmental indicators are more similar to the NOA and NEA than the rest of Caba, not only did they also drop, but the decreases were even more marked than in the rest of the city.

Pregnancies in children under 15 years of age also fell there, those who were immovable

, "says


Viviana Mazur, general practitioner of the team of HIV-STI Sexual Health Coordination CABA.

"There are many factors influencing.

Comprehensive Sexual Education slowly and with difficulties

, but it has probably done its thing. Access to contraception with long-lasting methods, health teams that are much more open and permeable to guarantee these accesses and that actively They are working to promote the articulation of health centers with schools and social and community organizations.There

is an expanded network for the distribution of condoms

, pregnancy tests and emergency contraception that has been operating in Caba since the pandemic and which has allowed neighborhood centers, women's centers, these supplies are available so that they reach those who need them in a timely manner," he details.

But he adds another argument: "For me, the most interesting thing, apart from all the measures that made it possible, is

the change in young women in relation to the maternity mandate, something 

that was previously heard only in some more affluent sectors and today is heard in There are also many young women who say

"I don't know if I'm going to want to have children", "I want to do other things", "I'm not going to fill myself with children like my mother",

phrases that we had more identified with girls from other sectors or other schools, such as that motherhood is not an option. Now a lot is being heard in these neighborhoods and I think it is a super important qualitative change, because that is what affects the fact that they later seek contraception.

The #NiUnaMenos and the green tide put the general patriarchy and the role of women in relation to motherhood into discussion

"What changed are the behaviors"

"What leads to change is the change in behaviors -says Tobar-. That risk behaviors, exposure to environments of sexual abuse, the number of sexual partners, unprotected sexual relations decrease. When there are fewer environments hostile, that there is more information on body care and more stable couples, more modern contraceptives with proven efficacy, and among the modern ones, those that have the greatest impact on adolescents are the long-lasting ones due to their adherence".

"What happened in Argentina was all together, with

a social movement that renewed the self-assessment of women and strengthened their ability to decide

about their lives, about their bodies, about their partners, about their sexual relations, and that is a very powerful movement. that changed many ways of thinking, supported by access to Comprehensive Sexual Education, and that from the ENIA Plan includes contraceptive content and advisory spaces in schools and outside schools to provide information, with referral to health centers with protected shifts" Tobar explains.

And he adds: "The social and political aspects are fundamental, and lasting. No matter how much a conservative government comes and says that it is not going to buy or deliver more long-lasting methods, the social attitude has changed, adolescents have changed, and that is


to generate pressure to take care of yourself and that there be provision. What is a State policy? Something that remains because the political cost of

discontinuing that policy would have a very high political cost for any politician

. That is what is being achieved in Argentina."  

Source: clarin

All life articles on 2023-03-22

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