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See dangers of family planning for girls under 18

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Dr Ayodele Ademola of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) on Wednesday warned girls under 18 years of age against going for family planning.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria that if they should involve themselves in such an act, it would be dangerous to their health conditions in future.

Ademola warned girls less than 18 years, whom he described as underage, against indulging in underage family planning.

He said that underage family planning was a common practice among youths and teenagers in the country.

According to Ademola, some girls under the age of 18 are fond of doing family planning and taking contraceptives to prevent them from unwanted pregnancies.

The consultant gynaecologist, however, said that family planning was the safest way to prevent unwanted pregnancies among married couples but not among unmarried youths.

He said that some parents were aware of their children’s bad behaviours and were still aiding them by introducing family planning options to them.

“When a 17-year-old girl knows that she is safe to be sexually active, that will make her misbehave and become wayward without any fear,’’ he said.

The gynaecologist warned parents to discourage their underage children from using pills, adding that ‘it is evil and suicidal’.

“The birth control pill as the name implies is a daily medication that contains hormones to change the way the body works and prevent pregnancy.

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“Hormones are chemical substances that control the functioning of the body’s organs. In this case, the hormones in the pill control the ovaries and the uterus.

“The side effects that the pills usually have on any woman’s  body include irregular menstrual bleeding, nausea, headaches, dizziness, breast tenderness, mood changes and blood clots,” he said.

He, however, said that sexual abstinence was the only way to guarantee protection against an unwanted pregnancy and Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs).

Sexual abstinence is the decision not to have sex or not to be involved in any intimate sexual contact.

The doctor also advised other medical practitioners to seek proper clarifications before recommending any form of family planning methods to their patients.

Ademola said that government at all levels and relevant organisations should reach out to the public through the media, schools, religious houses and hospitals to discourage underage family planning in the society.

“It is time for the government and organisations to take bold steps aimed at protecting the future of female children by campaigning against underage family planning,’’ he said.

Family planning services are defined as “educational, comprehensive medical or social activities which enable individuals, including minors, to determine freely the number and spacing of their children.

The services also allow individuals to select the means by which this may be achieved.

They allow people to attain their desired number of children and determine the spacing of pregnancies. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of infertility.

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