Sunday, March 24, 2019

Unwanted & Accidental Pregnancies

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There are a few occasions when pregnancies happen by accident and were not planned for or wanted. For example when contraception has failed or in the case of teen pregnancy.

In this article I cover two of these topics that I have personal experience dealing with.

Pregnancy After Vasectomy

A pregnancy after have a vasectomy is very unlikely. But there are certain circumstances in which this can happen even years after the vasectomy has been done.

What is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure done on a man in order to stop his sperm from being delivered to the urethra during sex. The procedure is done as an alternative birth control method. It allows a couple to engage in sexual intercourse without protection a couple of months after the procedure. Two or three months have to pass in order to make sure that all sperm has been eliminated – that is why a physician will advise in using other birth control methods like a condom during that time. Further appointments with the doctor will confirm when it is safe not to use birth control anymore.

The vasectomy is a reversible procedure. If, for any reason, a couple should decide that they do want to have children, the husband or partner could opt for a vasectomy reversal. The procedure simply reconnects the line that produces the sperm with the urethra, so that sperm can pass through once more. Studies show that a vasectomy reversal is successful in only 60% of cases, so do consider having the vasectomy in the first place, as it is an expensive procedure. Reversing it will be even more expensive.

What are the odds of pregnancy?

Pregnancy after vasectomy can occur because of two reasons:

  • Unsuccessful vasectomy
  • Unprotected intercourse in the first 2 to 3 months after a vasectomy

An unsuccessful vasectomy is fairly rare. Your physician will most probably ask you to come for several follow-up appointments after the vasectomy in order to confirm whether it was successful or not. If you engage in unprotected sexual intercourse and the vasectomy was not successful, odds of a pregnancy are as high as anybody else. Using birth control methods two to three months after a vasectomy has been performed could give you enough time to figure out that it was not successful.

Also, birth control is generally advised for the two or three months after a vasectomy due to another factor. The average male will still have a small amount of sperm available even after a successful vasectomy was performed. In this case, a pregnancy occurs like any other normal pregnancy. This is why your physician will advise you to use condoms or birth control pills for at least another 2 months after the procedure.

A recent study targeted 500 women in order to determine odds of getting pregnant after a vasectomy operation. Six women became pregnant out of the total of 500.

Three of them became pregnant in the first months after the vasectomy likely because the couple had failed to use birth control methods at first, as the doctor advised. The other 3 became pregnant after the first year, most likely due to unsuccessful vasectomies or due to the fact that the vas deferens (the tube that carries the sperm to the urethra) grew back. Either way, there is about a 0.6% chance of becoming pregnant after a vasectomy procedure.

Teen Pregnancy

When a teenager gets pregnant it is almost always an accident. Yet still everyday I work with teen girls who have gotten pregnant and in many cases do still want to go through with the birth.

Statistics reveal that, out of the western industrialized world, the US has the highest rates of pregnant teens. One in every three teenage girls will become pregnant in the United States alone! The numbers are alarming and the consequences even more so.

A teen pregnancy refers to a young woman becoming pregnant before reaching the age of adulthood. Depending on the country, this interval varies between 14 and 21 years old. These kinds of pregnancies are usually unintentional and come as a result of poor education about safe sex.

Teen Pregnancy Is Decreasing

Fortunately the statistics gathered are starting to show a decrease in teenagers getting pregnant which is relieving for me, because personally I do not think teenagers can truly understand the full implications of having a baby.

There is a recorded drop in teen pregnancies since the 1990s by somewhere around 70%. While this is somewhat reassuring, the number of teens who become pregnant is still big. Around 750,000 young girls will get pregnant each year.

The number one cause for these alarming figures is poor education regarding intercourse safety and protection. Another problem is a poor financial situation which impairs possibility to purchase condoms or birth control pills. Home education is also an important factor. While the school will usually provide the teenage girl with proper information about how to avoid getting pregnant, they will seldom teach them how to say no when they are pressured into engaging in sexual intercourse. This job falls on the parents who, either due to poor communication skills or lack of interest, would rather not talk about it, considering the subject as being taboo.

Another less common factor in the western civilization but more common in the East is teen marriage which leads to sexual encounters and eventually, pregnancy. Also, a common factor worldwide is age discrepancy. Usually, statistics show that teenage mothers are impregnated by older boys.

Sexual abuse is shown to be accountable for 11% to 20% of teenage pregnancies. Engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor is against the law, even if it is consensual – the legal term used is statutory rape.

Consequences Of Pregnancy

Teen statistics show that only 57% of teen pregnancies end in birth. 14% will end in miscarriages or other complications and the rest of 29% will end in abortions. Also, reports show that in the US, black teens have higher teenager rates of pregnancy than any other ethnicity.

A major downside to teen pregnancy is education. Studies show that most teens that become pregnant interrupt their education. Even less choose to attend college if they keep the baby. This leads to an increased numbers of young adults who do not own a diploma and have to settle for lesser jobs in order to sustain their family. Earning just minimum wage, most young mothers will have to work double shifts. This leads to an early break in the bond between mother and child which can have drastic consequences for the both in the upcoming future.

Money is an issue as well. Teenage pregnancy statistics show that $7 billion are spent annually in the US alone for pregnant teens. This money is spent on aids given to young mothers who cannot sustain themselves financially due to their age. Ironically, millions of dollars are spent on teenage pregnancy prevention programs as well.

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Jennifer Olson
A mother of three, lover of children and keeping them (and us adults!) as healthy as can be. I have worked as a midwife and nurse for 12 years. Email: [email protected]