EFFECT OF PREGNANCY AND ABORTION ON HEATH STATUS OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN NIGERIA
Teenage pregnancy is a major public health and social problem the world over and its incidence is on the increase (Aboyeji 1997, Boyd 2000). Concern about the increase in unmarried adolescent pregnancy has been expressed throughout Africa (Letanro 1993). There is consensus that this is a phenomenon with detrimental effects for African society. The observed consequence include contributions to higher infant mortality (Becker 1993), potential barriers to the development of the woman, increased maternal morbidity and mortality (Garenne 1997) and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (Gyepi-Gabrah 1987). It is contributing substantially to overall fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa. Taken as a region, the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa have the highest level of early child bearing in the world (Barker et al 1992).
Teenage 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 (Okpani et al 1995, Ojengbede et al 1987, Uwaezuoke et al 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 et al 2001, UNFPA 2000). The fetus is prone to be delivered preterm, small for gestational age and has an increased risk of peri-natal death (Ojengbede et al 1987, Uwaezuoke et al 2004, Aboyeji et al 2001). 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. This influences the timing of marriage. 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. The reason for teenage pregnancy varies from country to country and from region to region within the same country. Factors that are associated with teenage pregnancy include rapid urbanization, low socioeconomic status, low educational and career aspiration, residence in a single parent home and poor family relationship (Adegbenga et al 2003). In 1999, Nigeria’s adolescent fertility rate was 111 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19, and Nigerian women averaged more than five births during their lifetime.
The emotional trauma associated with an unwanted pregnancy in adolescents can be overwhelming. The society is absolutely judgmental when it comes to issues of adolescent pregnancy. This attitude has however not diminished in no way the incidence of unwanted pregnancies amongst Nigerian adolescents (Eugene 2000). In a study in the southwest of Nigeria, nearly half of the females have been pregnant before as well as two thirds of those not currently enrolled in school (James-Iraore 2001). This study examined the Effect Of Pregnancy And Abortion On Heath Status Of Secondary School Students