A study by the University of Ibadan, Department of Reproductive Health has revealed that 55 abortion rate are recorded yearly per 1,000 women in Nigeria, showing that half of the number are adolescents who indulge in unsafe sex that resulted in unplanned pregnancies.
Commenting on the development at a media round table, organized by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) in Lagos, a Behavioral Management Coach, Wemimo Adebiyi said unsafe sex practices exposes youths to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV with a prevalence of 25 percent among adolescents in the South Eastern part and 28 percent in the Northern part of the country.
Adebiyi said lack of adequate information on the part of the adolescents about contraception has also been found to be responsible for the unplanned pregnancy among adolescents, this in most cases end in unsafe abortion.
To avert the trend, Adebiyi said, “As adults, we really make a difference when we talk to young ones. In fact, teens often see it as the biggest influence in their decisions about sex and maturity when it comes to their sexuality. Teens who report having good information with an informed adult about sex are more likely to delay sexual activities, become faithful and committed partners.”
She said adult can have this conversation with teenagers, build strong relationships with them, and set clear expectations and boundaries for them.
According to her, these are proven ways adults can help prevent teen pregnancy, reduce our teens’ chances of getting STIs, and help ensure that they lead healthy and rewarding lives.
On the right age parents should start the conversation? Adebiyi said it is best to start talking with children about sexuality early as they are curious about their bodies, being a boy or girl, and different kinds of relationships from a very early age.
“Their curiosity creates a natural opportunity to begin the conversation and start building a respectful and trusting relationship. For young children, you can start by teaching them the names of their body parts or asking if they know why girls and boys look different.
“When we talk to children about sex, it is important to keep our conversation age appropriate. If a five-year-old asks, “What is birth?” we might respond, “When a baby comes out of a mother’s body.
“If a 10-year-old asks the same question, our answer would have more detail and might begin with, “After nine months of growing inside its mother’s uterus, a baby comes out through her vagina…
“It is important to give truthful, useful, and accurate information about sex and sexuality. It is also important to prepare them to make responsible choices whenever they become sexually active.
“By the time they turn 19 years old, 70 percent of teens have had sex. So, in addition to conveying what you know about sexual relationships, it is important to talk with teens about abstinence, preventing pregnancy and STIs. It helps to think ahead of time about what messages we want to express,” she added.