ONE American medical physician and obstetrician-gynaecologist highlighted that teen pregnancy and adolescent sexuality in the United States and other countries are still taboo.

Speaking to The Barbados Advocate after her presentation on Sunday, Dr. Cortney Yarbrough, who is based in Washington, DC, discussed some of the medical and societal challenges being faced by pregnant teens in her region. Her topic at the Women’s Health Medical Conference explored ‘Adolescent Pregnancy and Perinatal Outcomes’, looking specifically at the difference between teens during pregnancy and pregnancy in young adults and adult women. She presented information on the increased risk of adverse perinatal outcomes in adolescents, how to prevent them as well as how to prevent teen pregnancy.

The medical physician said that teen pregnancy is still a problem in certain countries (especially in the United States). She also pointed out how this prohibition about the matter affects sexually active adolescent girls.

“The acceptance of adolescent sexuality is still taboo in those countries, thus the access to contraception, the education about contraception is still sporadic as well as it can differ in variance by region and by state. So the rate of teen pregnancy is still high, considerably higher than in other countries in US and in Barbados for those reasons,” said Dr. Yarbrough.

She explained that when physicians speak of teen pregnancy, they are looking at girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years. She further added in her region, most cases of teen pregnancy are between the ages of 15-19 years. The doctor noted some of the challenges pregnant teens face are poor social and familial support, lack of breastfeeding, adverse effects to baby (preterm labour) and getting late or sporadic prenatal care (which can lead to not being treated for certain medical conditions at an early stage)

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