Indian kids these days are getting callous with sex. In Mumbai, the Gynaecologists are saying that teen pregnancies are on the rise. As many as 7% of the girls between 15 to 19 years had been or are pregnant!
Gayatri was only 14, but she was pregnant after she had sex with her cousin. Without a mother to talk to about the changes in her body, Gayatri was well into the fifth month of pregnancy before her father took her for a check-up because she had been vomiting. At the hospital, he was shocked to discover she was pregnant. It was too late for an abortion, so she delivered a baby which she gave up for adoption. The physical and psychological trauma still keeps Gayatri awake at night years later. Her father thinks it has scarred her for life.
Gayatri is not the only teenager in the city who has had to deal with pregnancy. The third National Family Health Survey (NFHS) found that in 2005-06, 6.7 per cent of girls in the 15-19 years age group in Mumbai were or had been pregnant, or were already mothers. “I have an increasing number of unmarried teenagers coming to me for abortions,” says Anita Soni, gynaecologist, LH Hiranandani hospital.
Accurate figures on teenage pregnancies and abortions are hard to compile because young girls tend to go to quacks and shady clinics to keep the matter under wraps. But the NFHS says there were 36,700 teenage abortions in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai in 2005-06.
Experts attribute the rise in teenage pregnancies to sexual promiscuity at a younger age. “Teenagers today treat sex very casually. I get patients who come to me for abortions with their boyfriends, and after a couple of years they’re here again, with another boyfriend but for the same reason,” says Bela Kedia, gynaecologist at Wockhardt Hospital. “Teenagers are financially independent today; their lifestyles make them adventurous,” adds Anita Soni.
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