Early adolescence can be defined as the time between 11 and 15 years. Age of 16 years was calculated using data on birth history. 15 years was used as the cut-off. This is the most common age which neonatal outcomes are most adversely affected. Eliminating child marriage is crucial to eliminate adolescent motherhood which is considered as violation and degradation of girl’s human right. As many as 529,000 adolescent girls die every year from complication of early pregnancy and child birth. Each year, at least two million young women undergo unsafe abortion which risks the life of both the mother and the infant. This paper is going to focus on an adolescent 15 years girl in labor, and the three stages of labor. (Blustein,1999).
Adolescents may enter the intrapartum period well prepared for labor or not prepared at all. Adolescents who began parental care earlier are likely to have enough opportunity to absorb information related to labor and birth. The more information they get, the more they receive content related to labor and birth. This enhances their ability to cope with labor, and familiarize them on what to expect during the birth process.
Although the physical care of pregnant adolescents is comparable to that of adult women, adolescents have other unique needs such as; they need more support and extensive training during pregnancy. Though physical needs of the adolescents in labor are similar to those of adults, physically adolescents have positive characteristics in the delivery. They have better strength for pushing, and they can have various positions that facilitate birth. Adolescents are mostly healthy and in better shape than adult women. Also because of their youth, they are flexible and may not have an idea of what labor and delivery should be like.
On the other hand, adolescents, chiefly those 15 years or younger may be at danger for pelvic disproportion because of their immature body structure making them undergo cesarean delivery. Girls who give birth at 15 years or below are likely to face social and health disadvantages of early motherhood. Because adolescents have less life experience, they may have inadequate resources to cope with labor and delivery. Adolescents under 15 years are five times prone to death during pregnancy or child birth. Many adolescents may not concentrate on breathing and relaxation since they would not tolerate pain.
Adolescents, just like adult women, they as well undergoes the three stages of labor. Labor is described in three stages, and they complete the delivery process and the passage of the placenta. During the intrapartum period, adolescents may have an intense fear of pain and worry about how they will manage life after the arrival of the baby since they are not future oriented
FULL CERVICAL DILATION
The first stage occurs when the cervical opens (dilate) and thins out to allow the baby to move into the birth canal. It is the longest part of labor that can last up to 20 hours in adolescents who are having their first infant. This stage is divided into three phases. Latent, active, and deceleration (Devlin, 2005).
In the latent phase, the adolescent experience frequent contractions which becomes stronger and gain regularity. Here the adolescents should relax as much as they can so as to save strength for later on.
Active phase, this is the phase of the rapidest cervical dilation. It is from 3 or 4 centimeters to around 9 centimeters of dilation. For adolescents who are first mothers, it is the most expected, lasting to an average of five hours, and they should be in hospital or birthing center. They should be comfortable and relaxed, and free to ask the doctors assisting them on what to do; they should also start breathing exercises and walk around or change their positions.
It is also called transition phase. In this phase, cervical dilate at a slower pace until full dilation. The baby passes lower into the pelvis and deeper into the birth canal. An adolescent may feel fatigue and exhausted as it is physically demanding and draining time.
Delivery of the infant
This stage cervix is fully dilated at 10 centimeters. The mother pushes out the baby actively. For adolescents who are first mothers, it can take two to three hours.
Passage of placenta: It can be immediate or take up to thirty minutes. The practice may be sped by breastfeeding of the infant by the mother.
Complications during childbirth accounts for almost 25% of newborn deaths, preterm delivery, and low birth weight contribute to the increased death rate of the infants of adolescents. Many complications that affect adolescents are severe bleeding and infections especially after birth, high blood pressure during pregnancy and unsafe abortion. Other risk associated with adolescent pregnancy includes sexually transmitted diseases, and depression. Many pregnant adolescents end up dropping out of school and this has vulnerable impact on their long term prospect. To prevent these, comprehensive and effective programs to create awareness to school girls under 15 years on reproductive healthy should be enhanced
Blustein, J., Levine, C., & Dubler, N. N. (1999). The adolescent alone: Decision making in health care in the United States. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
Devlin, R. (2005). Relative Intimacy: Fathers, Adolescent Daughters, and Postwar American Culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press