Local April 14, 2021 | 3:50 pm

Nearly 50% of Dominican teenage girls are unaware of how pregnancy occurs

  • They also do not know their menstrual cycle, according to a study by the Unfpa.

Almost 50 percent of Dominican adolescents are ignorant of how conception occurs and their menstrual cycle, which is why underage motherhood in this country is mainly the result of unintended pregnancy.

The data is contained in the study “Early Union and Pregnancy in Adolescents in the Dominican Republic: Two challenges that persist” of the United Nations Population Fund (Unfpa) in 2020, which gives this nation the first place for infertility in adolescence.

The Unfpa today presented the report which focuses on bodily autonomy, which “will be determined by the power and ability to make decisions about our bodies” and which, according to the data of that organism, has “a strong” link with the higher educational levels.

In a press release, it says that the data in the report of the State of World Population 2021 “My body belongs to me” shows a close link with the study “Early Union and Pregnancy in Adolescents in the Dominican Republic: Two challenges that persist,” since the latter touches neuralgic aspects for the autonomy of the body and the health of women.

  • • Adolescent motherhood is mainly the result of unintended pregnancy: for every adolescent who declared wanting to get pregnant, three did not want to get pregnant at that time.
  • • There is a general lack of knowledge of how pregnancy occurs and the menstrual cycle itself since almost 50% of the surveyed adolescents believe that they can get pregnant right after their menstruation. Nearly 20% think that they cannot get pregnant in the first sexual intercourse.
  • • There is a significant level of unmet demand for contraceptive methods: although most adolescents know modern methods, 25% of those who are sexually initiated do not have access to them. This situation has worsened in the context of COVID-19.
  • The State of World Population 2021 cites that nearly half of women in 57 developing countries are denied the right to decide whether they want to have sex with their partners, use contraception or seek health care.
  • This lack of bodily autonomy, she explains, has enormous implications beyond the significant harm to individual women and girls: a potential depression of their economic productivity, the impairment of their skills, and the resulting additional costs for judicial systems. And health care.
  • The report adds that, in general, about 19% of adolescents between 15 and 19 years in the Dominican Republic have been pregnant. There are variations according to rural and urban areas. Still, the most important are observed according to approved years of study: only 9% of those who completed 13 years or more of formal education have been pregnant, compared to 41% of those who completed 0 to 7 years.
  • In socio-economic terms, essential differences are also observed. In the 4th and 5th quintiles, about 78% of adolescents are neither mothers nor married.
  • In the 1st quintile, half are neither mothers nor married; 23% are united and are not a mother, and 27% are married and are a mother.

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