TEENAGE PREGNANCY IN MALAYSIA
News headlines such as “The trials of teen mothers” and “Teen probed for throwing baby from window” can be seen in our papers every other week as we are faced with the ever-growing problem of teenage pregnancy. In most reported cases, these hapless young women even attempt to abandon their new-borns in the most harrowing ways. Sexuality without social maturity often leads to pregnancy. These mothers are at high risk of not finishing school which often leads to them and their children living in poverty. Teenage pregnancy has become a rampant social issue and it has emerged to become a very disturbing trend in Malaysia. A large number of girls have seek help from the Welfare Department about their predicament. Why has this social issue decreased rapidly in the last few years? Is there any co-contributing factor that has allowed this social problem to cause so much concerned to many people in Malaysia? We shall look into all the aspects and dissect the theories and approach behind this social issue that has plunged our society with devastation.
Definition of Teenage Pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy is a pregnancy of a female under the age of 20 when the pregnancy ends. It generally refers to a female who is unmarried and usually refers to an unplanned pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy is defined as a teenage girl, usually within the ages of 13-19, becoming pregnant. The term in everyday speech usually refers to girls who have not reached legal adulthood, which varies across the world, who become pregnant. A pregnancy can take place at any time after puberty, with menarche (first menstrual period) normally taking place around the ages 12 or 13, and being the stage at which a female becomes potentially fertile. Teenage pregnancy depends on a number of societal and personal factors. Teenage pregnancy carries social stigma in many cultures of a developing country and it is mostly outside of marriage. It brings about high risk of poverty, illiteracy or lower educational levels and ones it happens, such girl will ever have a mark that hinders her progress in future.
How Does Pregnancy Occurs?
During ovulation, one of the woman's ovaries releases a tiny egg that begins to travel down the fallopian tube. During sexual intercourse, a man ejaculates millions of sperm that travel up the vagina, through the uterus and into the fallopian tube where the egg meets the sperm. When the egg and sperm fuse, it is called fertilization.
In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube. On about the third day of travel, the fertilized egg arrives in the woman's uterus. After 2 or 3 days in the uterus, the fertilized egg begins to implant in the uterine lining. Upon implantation, pregnancy occurs. If the lining is rich enough with maternal blood, it will continue to grow there and will become an embryo, then a foetus. After approximately 38 weeks, the foetus is ready to be born.
The Sociological Theories in Teen Pregnancy
For this social issue, we believe that the Symbolic Interaction Approach and also the Structural-Functional Approach is most suitable in dissecting the problem at hand. Why symbolic interaction and also structural functional approach you may ask? By definition, a symbolic interaction approach is a theory that describes the family as a unit of interacting personalities. This theory focuses attention on the way that people interact through symbols such as words, gestures, rules, roles, language
The symbolic interaction perspective is based on how humans develop a complex set of symbols to give meaning to the world (LaRossa & Reitzes, 1993). Meaning evolves from their interactions in their environment and with people. These interactions are subjectively interpreted through existing symbols. Understanding these symbols is important in understanding human behaviour. Interactions with larger societal processes influence the individual, and...
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