Indian Muslim girls have highest teen pregnancies among all religions; Tripura and West Bengal leading states

NEW DELHI : While India’s teenage pregnancy rate may have fallen by 1 percent from six years ago due to the availability of guidance through school education for teens on making informed decisions and maintaining good sexual health, it has been shown that India’s girls born into Muslim families in India are conceiving at an alarming 8 per cent rate. This is higher than any other religion in India.

These disclosures are part of the 2019-21 National Family Health Survey 5 (NFHS-5), which was released this week.

A total of 1.9 million girls aged 15-19 years were found to have experienced teen pregnancy during a survey that was conducted over a two-year period, which included the COVID-induced pandemic. There were 97,827 Hindu girls and 19,410 Muslims among them.

The NHFS reported that 6.5% of Hindu teenage girls became pregnant while 8.4% of Muslim teens were pregnant.

The teen pregnancy rate for Sikh and Christian girls was 6.8% and 2.8%, respectively.

The NFHS fieldwork in India was done in two phases. Phase I ran from June 2019 through January 2020 and covered 17 states and 5 U.S. Territories. Phase II ran from January 2020 through April 2021 and covered 11 states and 3 U.S. Territories. 17 field agencies were used to gather information from 6.3 million households, which included 1.01 lakh men and 7.2 lakh women. In 2016, the NFHS released an earlier survey.

The NHFS report stated that “Teenage fertility declined from 8 percent in 2015-16 to 7 percent in 2019-21.” It also praised the fact that school education has had a direct impact on the decline in teenage childbearing.

The NFHS survey shows that COVID-induced Pandemics and Measures have had clearly different effects on the reproductive choices of women from different countries, castes, and backgrounds.

According to the report, Tripura and West Bengal are ahead of all other parts of India in terms of early pregnancy among teenage girls.

West Bengal and Tripura have reported a 22 % and 16% rate of pregnancy among girls in this age group. Next are Assam, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh at 13, 12 and 11%.

The report states that 7 percent of Indian women aged 15-19 years old had a child in 2019-21, 5 percent of them were born alive, and 2 percent are pregnant with their first baby.

Additionally, 18% of the girls aged 15-19 who reported having been pregnant did not have any schooling. Only four percent had done 12 or more years.

However, the NHFS survey also considered wealth to be a major factor in childbearing.

The survey found that only 2 percent of teenage girls in the richest quintile had begun having children, while 10 percent of those in the lowest quintile were.

According to NFHS, teenage childbearing rates are higher in women from scheduled tribes at 9 % than those of other castes. This is despite the fact that OBCs had more teenage girls at 53 than STs (11,691) and SCs (28.204).

This report has highlighted rural areas as having a higher rate of cases than urban ones. It suggests that education is necessary to curb unsafe and unprotected sexual activity.

Union territories Chandigarh (0.8%), Jammu & Kashmir (1.0%), Lakshadweep (1.1%) have reported very low teenage pregnancy rates. Uttarakhand is India’s only state with a lower than 3 percent rate of teenage pregnancy among 15-19-year-old girls.

While doctors and psychiatrists are generally satisfied with the slight drop in pregnancy, they insist on more education for both boys and girls about sex education.

Jammu and Kashmir is a shining example of how education plays a crucial role. Women are getting more educated and becoming capable of making their own decisions. The parent’s education is important because parents now take the effort to understand their children.” Dr Suhail Nair, the ex-president of Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK), told The New Indian.

Experts also believe that strict laws regarding child marriage and the proposed age of 21 are having a positive effect on society.

Teenage sexual relationships and teenage pregnancy are two different things. Our education system is growing, and secondly, our marriage age is rising, which directly results in a decrease in teenage pregnancies,” Dr Rajiv Mehta (Consultant Psychiatrist).

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Institute of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science.

The NFHS was established in 1992-93 and has been making its findings on India’s population, health, and nutrition public since then