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Causes of Teenage Pregnancy in Jamaica - Getting to the Root


At least 20% of Jamaican women have been pregnant at least once before twenty years of age. The economic, political, and socio-cultural environments in Jamaica seem to influence the phenomenon of teenage pregnancy and are found at the heart of the causes of teenage pregnancy in Jamaica.

Jamaica has unfortunately experienced alternatively a period of marginal economic growth and negative growth recently. What monetary funds the country has are funneled into dealing with the enormous budget deficit and are subtracted from important social programs such as assistance to young women to teach them about sexuality and contraception. There is a terrifying lack of easily available contraceptives and youth friendly services are very rare.

Most experts believe that one of the major causes of teenage pregnancy in Jamaica is ignorance regarding proper sexual behavior and consequences. Indeed, 47% of males aged 15-19 do not always use a condom with their regular partner, and 40% do not use a condom with their non-regular partners. The reason why boys do not always use condoms is that they do not like them. When examining females, 60% do not always use a condom with their regular partner and 45% do not always use a condom with their other partner. Females claim that they do not use condoms with partners that they know well. A large number of teenage boys are not aware of the correct use of a male condom, while the majority of young girls are not aware of the existence of women condom.

Social traditions also contribute to the causes of teenage pregnancy in Jamaica. Jamaican women see motherhood as an assertion of status and identity and a way to eliminate any suspicion of infertility. A young women, however, receives mixed messages about pregnancy, as the strong Christian background present in Jamaica means that there are taboos against sexual behavior in young girls. These Christian beliefs have caused Jamaican society to adopt an “abstinence only” approach to teen sexuality and any further communication with adolescents regarding puberty, the maturation process, sexual intercourse, and contraception, is non-existent. Because of this taboo, yet another of the causes of teenage pregnancy in Jamaica, adolescent children are even hesitant to purchase condoms on their own in their own communities. Young girls, then, engage in sexual activities often without protection and without being fully aware of the consequences.

As in other developing nations, there are a number of myths that surround pregnancy and sexual activities, and these are further causes of teenage pregnancy in Jamaica; girls turn to these myths instead of medical facts. Studies show that many girls in Jamaica believe that douching with Pepsi after sex or having intercourse in the sea will stop pregnancy. The persistence of these myths in Jamaican society is yet another expression of the ignorance in which many young girls find themselves when dealing with their sexuality.

Christine Gray is a recognized authority on the subject of pregnancy. Her website Pregnancy Exposed provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on everything you will need to know about teen pregnancy. All rights reserved. Articles may be reprinted as long as the content and links remains intact and unchanged.

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