admin's picture

By Tauva Esera

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 6, 2002 - Samoa News/PINA Nius Online)---American Samoa is rated the second highest in the Pacific Islands region for the incidence of teenage pregnancies.

It has a nine percent pregnancy rate among young females aged 15 to 19, according to statistics released by Public Health's American Samoa Coalition for Teen Pregnancy and Family Planning.

The report was released as Governor Tauese Sunia officially declared April as Teen Pregnancy and Child Abuse/Neglect Prevention Month.

The statistics released reveal the number of females, aged 11 to 19, who gave birth from 1992 to 2000.

In 1996, an 11-year-old was recorded as giving birth and in 1993 and 1995 12-year-olds became mothers.

According to the statistics, in 2000, teenage girls delivered 8.3 percent of all American Samoa births.

The Coalition for Teen Pregnancy and Family Planning report said that babies born to young mothers have a higher risk of serious health problems.

In addition, according to the report, two out of three pregnant teenagers drop out of school.

"With her education cut short, the teenage mother may lack job skills.

"Teenage mothers are at greater risk of socioeconomic disadvantage throughout their lives than those who delay childbearing until their twenties."

The report also stated that the teenage mothers may become financially dependent on parents and other family members.

The Public Health report also stated that the death rate from pregnancy complications is much higher among girls who give birth under the age of 15 than among older mothers.

Unfortunately, during the first three months of pregnancy, seven out of ten pregnant teenagers do not see a doctor or go to a clinic, it said.

In addition, the teenage mother is more likely to be undernourished and suffer from premature birth or prolonged labor.

"The teenage mothers have special problems, physically and emotionally," said the report. It added that "poor eating habits, smoking, alcohol and drugs increase the risk of having a baby with health problems."

Governor Tauese said that American Samoa authorities are committed to involving churches, businesses, media, parents, agencies, educational institutions, policy makers and health providers in the campaign to reduce teenage pregnancies.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

For additional reports from the Samoa News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa News.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment