FORUM Sexuality Education and Family Planning, 2-2007 - Teenage pregnancies internationally
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FORUM Sexuality Education and Family Planning

Teenage pregnancies internationally

In this third issue of the FORUM series on the subject of ‘Teenage pregnancies’ the perspective is extended: As well as contributions on current studies in Germany, we are also providing information about representative data and approaches to prevention in other European countries.

First of all the Federal Statistical Office gives an overview of the number of births and terminations of pregnancy by underage women in Germany and shows the development between 2000 and 2006.

Based on a survey carried out amongst some 1,800 underage pregnant women in pro familia information centres, specialists have addressed the risk factors and errors in contraception which are most often the cause of unwanted pregnancies.

We also report on a study, conducted on behalf of the BZgA, in which it was assessed on the basis of 100 expert interviews what provisions and help are available for underage pregnant women in Berlin and Brandenburg, whether the existing services are known and whether they are accepted by the young people. The background to this is that comparisons between German federal states show relatively high numbers of teenage pregnancies in the eastern German regions.

‘Pregnant under 18’ is a new Internet resource being offered by the BZgA, the basic principles and components of which we present here. It is aimed at pregnant young women, their partners and families, as well as young people who are looking for information on the subject.

Our author Osmo Kontula has undertaken to provide an overview of the developments in fertility and birth rates for underage mothers throughout the whole of Europe. The Council of Europe data evaluated by him show a reduction in underage birth rates since 1990, but at the same time definite differences between western and eastern Europe, which he attributes to factors such as social inequality, poverty, lack of access to advisory services and safe contraception.

Authors from Norway, Ireland and Iceland report on the very varied problems, the general social conditions and approaches to prevention in relation to underage pregnant women and mothers in their countries.

The international contributions to the issue make it clear just how much the field of sexual and reproductive health, and the possibilities and measures involved in sex education and family planning depend on the cultural context from which they originate.