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What Pregnancy and Birth Do to Young Girls’ Bodies?

What Pregnancy and Birth Do to Young Girls’ Bodies?

Some famous abortion opponents argued the 10-year-old Ohio girl should have carried her pregnancy to term after the story of her crossing state lines to have an abortion last week captured the nation’s attention.

However, those campaigning for extremely young girls to bring pregnancies to term claim that they may not grasp the terrible toll that pregnancy and delivery take on a child’s body. This is according to midwives and doctors who practise in nations where young adolescent girls frequently become pregnant.

According to Marie Bass Gomez, a midwife and senior nursing officer at the reproductive and child health clinic at Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital in the Gambia, “Their bodies are not ready for labour and it’s really stressful.”

The crucial problem, according to Dr. Ashok Dyalchand, who has worked with pregnant adolescent girls in low-income communities in India for more than 40 years, is that a child’s pelvis is too narrow to allow passage of even a small foetus.

According to Dr. Dyalchand, who is the director of the Institute of Health Management Pachod, a public health organisation that works with underserved communities in central India, “They have long, obstructed labour, the foetus bears down on the bladder and on the urethra,” occasionally leading to pelvic inflammatory disease and the rupture of tissue between the vagina and the bladder and rectum.

He continued, “It is a pitiful state, especially for girls under the age of 15.” “Girls under 15 had substantially higher complications, morbidity, and mortality than girls 16 to 19, despite the fact that women 20 and more have mortality rates twice as high as those in the 16 to 19 age group.”

In the United States, the phenomenon of young females becoming mothers is relatively uncommon. According to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates abortion rights and routinely polls clinics, there were 4,460 pregnancies among girls under 15 in 2017, the most recent year for which data were available, with just under half of those pregnancies ending in abortion.

However, the World Health Organization reports that worldwide, problems related to pregnancy and childbirth are the number one killer of girls between the ages of 15 and 19.

According to a 2014 analysis that was published in the Journal of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, young maternal age is linked to a higher risk of maternal anaemia, infections, eclampsia and pre-eclampsia, emergency caesarean delivery, and postpartum depression.

Dr. Willibald Zeck, the maternal and newborn health coordinator for the United Nations Population Fund, who frequently delivered babies for young mothers while working as a gynaecologist in Tanzania and later oversaw maternal health programmes in Nepal and the Philippines, said that babies born to girls are more frequently premature and have low birth weight.

The experience of pregnancy for a young girl is the same in India as it is in the United States, according to Dr. Dyalchand, despite the fact that a pregnant 10-year-old in Ohio might have access to prenatal care and a caesarean section that would mitigate the effects of obstructed labour. The only difference is that because the girls had access to better medical treatment, they might not experience the same kinds of catastrophic results. The girls would experience a more-or-less identical type of issue. But that doesn’t mean the girl’s life and body aren’t left with scars.

Gynecologist and maternal mortality specialist Dr. Shershah Syed regularly treats pregnant girls as young as 11 years old in Pakistan. According to him, proper prenatal care can prevent the formation of a fistula, which results in the leakage of urine or faeces and is not only unpleasant (the leaking urine creates burning sores) but also a great source of embarrassment and humiliation.

The hypertension or urinary tract infections that are frequent in very young moms, however, cannot be avoided, he added, not even with appropriate prenatal care.

A 10-year-old child is not meant to be pregnant according to normal physiology. She’s a child, and children cannot give birth; they are not ready, Dr. Syed stated, adding that the emotional anguish she would experience is indescribable.

He claimed that in the cases he has observed, an early pregnancy halts the very young mother’s physical development as well as frequently her cerebral development because many girls drop out of school and lose access to regular social interactions with peers. But even though an anaemic mother strains to carry the pregnancy, the foetus receives the right nutrition and grows until it is much beyond what the pelvis of a young mother can support.

They go into labour for three, four, or five days, and frequently the baby is already dead by the end of that labour. The infant is then delivered when the head collapses, according to Dr. Syed, one of South Asia’s foremost authorities on the treatment of obstetric fistula, a common complication of obstructed labour in expectant girls.

A vesicovaginal fistula, or hole between the bladder wall and the vagina, has formed in almost all of these cases in the girl. A rectal fistula that results in continual urination and faeces leakage is caused by prolonged labour in 25% of cases.

Dr. Syed claimed he can close fistulas if patients who are aware that therapy is available find their way to his clinic. However, the procedure necessitates a lengthy recovery period: a rectal fistula takes four to five months to repair, whereas a bladder fistula takes roughly five weeks.

Dr. Dyalchand started his public health career in 1978 in a modest district hospital in rural Maharashtra, on India’s west coast. Two young pregnant girls bled to death in his first week; one while in labour and the other at the hospital’s entrance before she ever entered. It was the beginning of a long career in which he worked with communities to persuade them to put off the age at which girls can get married and have their first child.

Dr. Dyalchand said that India has likewise been progressively increasing access to abortion, and that the intervention has demonstrated significant success. Up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, the technique is acceptable.

Ms. Bass Gomez stated that although her clinic in the Gambia is able to provide pregnant girls with quality prenatal care, this does little to lessen the overall trauma of the experience. She said that her clinic is geared on treating grownups. However, she added, “it’s incredibly distressing for the child when you have another youngster walk in who is also pregnant.” “That setting isn’t built up for them, and it’s not comfortable. You can tell they’re having trouble. There is a great deal of humiliation.

by ichhori.com Reference: ichhori.com


iChhori represents all those females who do NOT believe in stereotypes. iChhori is the voice of the women of substance who are out there in the world dominated by men, to create their own path, their own journey and their own destination.

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iChhori - Breaking Stereotypes

About iChhori represents all those females who do NOT believe in stereotypes.