Why do teens get pregnant

Teenage pregnancy

It's almost hard to believe, but despite intensive sexual education over the past decades, many minors still become unintentionally pregnant.

In relation to population density, Austria even ranks among the top in Europe with 12 pregnancies per 1,000 female teenagers. In Germany, this happens to 16 out of 1,000 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. There are also those girls who are under 15 years of age when they become pregnant.

In Europe, British youth are at the top of the statistics (22: 1,000). In the United States, there are 55 pregnancies for every 1,000 teenagers. The Netherlands (4: 1,000) and Switzerland (5: 1,000) have the lowest numbers. According to UNICEF, around 15 million teenagers worldwide become unintentionally pregnant.

When do teenagers have their first sexual experiences?

In Austria, the average age of girls when they first had sexual intercourse is 15.3 years. After all, 27 percent have their first experiences at the age of 14.

Where should the education take place?

Education takes place in the family, sometimes also in kindergarten, at school, on the Internet and in relevant youth literature (teenage magazines etc.) A real flood of information is actually pouring down on the young people. Nevertheless, they do not seem to be able to apply the technical, abstract knowledge of sexuality to their own situation.

The young people obviously learn without actually relating what they have learned to themselves. Often, feelings such as love, lust or orgasm are completely excluded from the education. Fortunately, the increased education in recent years has led to a drop in the rate of teenage pregnancies.

Which teenagers are prone to unwanted pregnancies?

Inadequate education and access to contraception are not necessarily the main causes of teenage pregnancies.

Shame and fear of going to the gynecologist or the negative attitude of parents towards the gynecologist contribute to the fact that many young people practice sexual intercourse without adequate contraception.

What Are the Consequences of Teenage Pregnancy?

First of all, it comes as a shock to most young girls to find out that they are pregnant. Then fears and conflicts arise. You have to make decisions, some of which you cannot overlook. The social and family pressures sometimes lead to short-circuit actions such as B. Abortion attempts without medical care or concealment of the pregnancy. In the worst case, the child is either put away or killed after the birth.

What do young pregnant girls face?

  • Fear of parents
  • Fear of being abandoned by the child's father, of being alone with the child
  • Existential fears about money, schooling and caring for the child
  • Doubts about the sensibility of marrying the child's father
  • Doubts as to whether an abortion makes sense
  • Doubts whether a release for adoption makes sense
  • Fear of making decisions against the ideas of parents, teachers or other caregivers
  • Fear of changes in life situation through the child
  • Fear of a lack of freedom and independence
  • Fear of responsibility.

A child means an enormous life change for a young girl, but it is certainly not a reason to completely despair!

There are different points of view on how to proceed in such a situation. This is always an individual decision of the mother-to-be and also of the father. In principle, the parents of the girl and the boy should also be asked for advice. Nevertheless, the pregnant girl decides how to proceed. It cannot and must not be forced to have an abortion or to carry the pregnancy to term. It is important - as soon as you know about the pregnancy - to go to the doctor and go to a counseling center. Sometimes the conversations with the doctor or with the counselor make it easier to confess to the parents - if this has not already been done.

In Russia, a little more than half of pregnant teenagers have abortions, in the USA the numbers are lower (35 percent) and in Germany the figure is around 23 percent. Around 70 percent will have a child.

How could teenage pregnancy be prevented?

The morning-after pill can be used as emergency contraception after unprotected sexual intercourse. There is the option of taking a high-dose pill, i.e. a combination preparation, or a usually better tolerated pure progestin pill.

Fears that the morning-after pill would be misused had not been confirmed.

How can a pregnant girl be helped?

In the best case scenario, the girl's parents agree to help look after the grandchild after the first shock. For example, the school career can be ended and the learning of a trade can be realized.

Unfortunately, there are also girls who are rejected, i.e. who have to leave their parents' home. In general - and especially for these young mothers - there is the possibility of contacting advice centers for family planning, church offices, etc., who know the relevant addresses and the legal situation. Together with the counselors, the girl can make decisions about how she imagines her future with the child, whether or not school attendance will be interrupted for the duration of the pregnancy and for the first time with the child.

The advice centers know the addresses and requirements z. B. for moving into dormitories or admission to schools for young mothers. In such facilities, the child is looked after by social workers while the mother attends classes.

If the pregnant woman is ready to carry the child to term, but does not want to officially talk to the youth welfare office about adoption, she has the option of handing over the child in a baby nest free from punishment (e.g. in the Wilhelminen Hospital in Vienna). There the child will be taken care of immediately. The mother then has eight weeks to consider whether she wants to keep the child or give it up for adoption.

What are the dangers of pregnancy?

From a gynecological and obstetric perspective, pregnancies in young girls are associated with considerable risks. Pregnant women under the age of 15 are particularly at risk.

In these cases there is a tendency towards premature birth, underdevelopment in the uterus and genetic changes. The postpartum death rate is increased ( J Perinat Med 2000; 28 (6): 443-6). Pregnancy-typical diseases, such as preeclampsia, also seem to be increasing in young first-time mothers.

Where can I find advice and help?


  • F.E.M. Gynecological hotline 01/47 615-5771 Monday - Thursday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Advice center "Herzklopfen", telephone and chat advice on the subjects of love, sex, relationships, telephone: 0800 20 60 60 (Austria-wide at the local rate), Saturday 2pm to 6pm

For questions and problems of all kinds:

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Dr. Britta B├╝rger

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