Week 3, Part 2, Teenage Pregnancy

The rate of teenage pregnancies here is pretty high. While working in the maternity hospital the average age that I saw was around 16, but there were some as young as 14 and the oldest female I remember seeing was 23.  I asked the attending why he felt the teenage pregnancy rates were so high and he said that firstly the fathers of these women did not allow them to take birth control and secondly, men just do not like to wear condoms. There are significant discrepancies in education levels in these families and this hinders approaching reproductive health in an effective and pragmatic manner. We have the same problems in the states, but our levels are significantly lower than here.  In Ecuador in 2012 there were 77 (births per 1000 for ages between 15-19) while in the US that same year the adolescent birth rate was 31. I thought, that Catholicism might’ve had more of an impact, but in response to my questioning, the attendings did not seem to think that was the main culprit.  The majority of people here are technically catholic, but the number of practicing Catholics is not as high.    All the contraceptive options are available here, but usually women present to the clinic after their pregnant as opposed to before… Which is less helpful…

Who wouldn't want a kid like this though!?
Who wouldn’t want a kid like this though!?

And no visit to Ecuador is complete without a visit to the middle of the world! That was our Spanish class excursion for the week!  There were actually some physics lessons involved… Water really does spin counter clockwise below the equator…

Mitad del Mundo!
Mitad del Mundo!

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