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"Pregnant at 16": why the Russian version of reality teaches bad
"Pregnant at 16": why the Russian version of reality teaches bad

The show, which was designed to prevent early pregnancies, began to promote them.

"Pregnant at 16": why the Russian version of reality teaches bad
"Pregnant at 16": why the Russian version of reality teaches bad

The Russian version of "Pregnant at 16" was released in 2019 and instantly collected a bunch of angry reviews on the Internet - pretty fair. First of all, the transfer is accused of promoting early pregnancy. Let's figure out what went wrong.

Why show pregnant teens at all

The reality show "Pregnant at 16" started in 2009 in America on MTV. Each episode told about the life of a teenage girl during pregnancy and for several months after.

Researchers even claimed that in the 18 months after the TV show aired, the number of teen pregnancies in regions where MTV had a high rating dropped 4.3%. In their opinion, the show led to increased interest in contraception issues. True, their colleagues have denied the results of this study. However, the very fact of the existence of such research eloquently testifies: the reality show was conceived in order to improve the situation with teenage pregnancies. Promote informed motherhood later in life, if you will. It paid a lot of attention to talking about the opportunities and methods of contraception missed due to pregnancy.

The show has sometimes been criticized for being too glamorous. And it makes no sense to compare it with the Russian version: it is difficult to sympathize with an allegedly low-income family, whose members - including children - share an SUV. So let's move to this side of the ocean.

What ideas does the Russian version of the TV show broadcast

The show was released by the channel "Yu", which previously aired Ukrainian reality. Therefore, viewers could compare stories filmed in neighboring countries. Russian issues without advertising are on average 20 minutes longer than Ukrainian ones: 1 hour 10 minutes instead of 50 minutes. It would seem that with such a difference in timing, one could tell about the life of a pregnant teenager much deeper and more penetratingly.

Instead, stories full of emotions and hopelessness turned into a splint, through which the thought “Give birth at all costs” runs like a red thread. This thesis finds confirmation in the ideas that the TV show broadcasts.

You will find love and a father for your child tomorrow

Several stories at once were like a blueprint.

  • Issue 1. Lilia herself came to the boarding school because she could no longer live with her alcoholic mother. She graduated from the 9th grade there and entered college as a pastry chef. She got pregnant. The child's father shook her nerves for a long time, and then left. But Lilya decided to give birth. A guy began to look after the pregnant girl, who accepted the child as his own. Happy end.
  • Issue 3. Lydia is studying in college to be a pastry chef. She does not communicate with her own mother, because she drinks. The girl got pregnant, the guy left her. But in the life of Lida, Vasily appeared, who accepted the child as his own. Happy end.
  • Issue 4. Elizabeth is graduating from high school (but don't worry, there are still pastry chefs among the participants), and she is pregnant. She has no parents: her mother left the baby in the orphanage. The child's father abandoned the girl. But she marries her childhood friend Pasha, who accepts the child as his own. Happy end.

Even if you got pregnant at 16, your boyfriend left you, you will still be happy in your personal life, as the program tells us. Do not be afraid, give birth, everything will be fine.

This has its own truth. If a girl consciously, understanding all the risks, decided to give birth to a child, she will face certain difficulties. But this does not deprive her of the opportunity to be happy, meet love, get an education. These are not unfounded statements, scientists came to this conclusion.

On the other hand, it doesn't work as shown in the program. Quite frankly, it didn't work there either. Lilia on Instagram uploads photos with a completely different guy, and her “colleagues” on the show accuse her of changing her boyfriends too often.

"Pregnant at 16": the opinion of the heroines of the show about Leela
"Pregnant at 16": the opinion of the heroines of the show about Leela
"Pregnant at 16": the opinion of the heroines of the show about Leela
"Pregnant at 16": the opinion of the heroines of the show about Leela

And Elizabeth admitted that Pasha is not her childhood friend. Since she was not yet 16, the girl had to get married in order to leave the walls of the orphanage. She met Pasha when she was looking for a fictitious husband. They are not together now.

"Pregnant at 16": Elizabeth about Pasha
"Pregnant at 16": Elizabeth about Pasha
"Pregnant at 16": Elizabeth about Pasha
"Pregnant at 16": Elizabeth about Pasha

Everything does not look as rosy as it is presented in the project. Chances are good that a young mother will have to cope with all the problems herself. In one third of Russian families, children are raised by single mothers. There are no separate statistics on minors, but there is no reason to believe that statistics are better in this group. Everything is likely much worse.

Childbirth is safe

In his program "Yu" followed the path of prolifers (opponents of abortion) and collected all their tricks: hiding information, twisting facts and, of course, intimidation. For example, when the heroine finds out that she is pregnant, someone must argue for a long time about the fact that an abortion is a murder. And this is definitely part of the prolifer's rhetoric, if only because here the embryo is taken care of more than the living, and in this case, a very young woman. Termination of pregnancy at this age is dangerous for her, and this could be a more convincing argument.

If a girl decides to terminate the pregnancy, a surgical abortion, in which the uterine cavity is scraped, is guaranteed to lead to the development of chronic endometritis (inflammation of the uterine lining), which is often the cause of infertility in the future.

The least dangerous medical abortion, however, sometimes leads to complications. Most often, inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs occur: uterus, appendages, vagina.

There are consequences. But that doesn't mean teen pregnancy is a walk in a chamomile field. There are no less dangers here. The argument “before, everyone gave birth early, and everything was fine” is not very consistent. Previously, they still died from the bubonic plague, but hardly anyone says: "Oh, our ancestors died from the plague, and we will die, it's okay, this is a tradition."

Scientists do not advise getting pregnant during adolescence. For example, researchers from India compared two groups of women in labor: under 19 and between 19 and 35. And they found out this: young mothers often gave birth naturally without complications. But at the same time, the risk of anemia in them was three times higher, of arterial hypertension - two times higher. In addition, children with low birth weight were born to them twice as often. Here it is necessary to make allowances for the low standard of living in India, but in general the results of the study disprove that the younger the mother, the stronger she is. Moreover, scientific evidence from more prosperous countries confirms that teenage pregnancy is the risk of anemia, hypertension, preeclampsia and eclampsia, stillbirth, and so on.


Dmitry Loginov Obstetrician-gynecologist of the Big Family Medical Center.

Just the facts: complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death in the world among girls aged 15-19, mortality among children of adolescent mothers is 50% higher.

Do not forget about the consequences for the psyche. Thus, depression and other emotional disorders after pregnancy and childbirth occur in adolescent girls much more often than in women over 19 years of age.

According to Loginov, pregnancy in adolescence is always a high risk, since the girl's body is not yet ready for gestation and childbirth. The growth of bones, including the small pelvis, continues until the age of 18–20. In this regard, birth traumatism of both the mother and the child is noticeably higher among adolescents.

But the dangers of early pregnancy in the transmission are not at all talked about. It could have been a great topic of conversation though. On one side of the scales are the risks of abortion, on the other - the risks of pregnancy and childbirth. In this case, the heroine could make a balanced, objective decision, assess how much she can give to the child, taking into account her own material distress, lack of education, and so on. It would become obvious that a teenager can really grow up early and become a good parent.

Instead, viewers are fed proliferative myths, keeping silent about the important, and only show two options: childbirth or abortion. But there is a third option - not to get pregnant.

Not a word about contraception

In the case of the heroine, nothing can be changed: she is pregnant, and from this she will have to make a start. But there is practically no word about the importance of contraception in transmission.

In the finale of the Ukrainian TV show, almost all the girls say something like: “I don’t regret having given birth, and I love my child. But if I had the opportunity to return everything, I would be wiser and would not allow pregnancy. Remember this and do not do stupid things. And there is no discrepancy here: you can love a child, but be upset that he has appeared.


Adriana Imzh Consultant psychologist.

It is probably becoming more and more obvious that many mothers get tired and regret having children. At the same time, of course, they love them and want the best for them. Therefore, many young mothers, even taking care of the interests of the child and giving him time, know that pregnancy and childbirth were a mistake that would not have happened if parents and society took more care of young girls. I am glad that this is already happening in some countries. It remains to wait for Russia to adopt this practice.

In the finale of Russian issues, as a rule, pink ponies jump, and the girls admit how happy they are, and urge to give birth, even if you are 16, the father of the child has abandoned and there is no education. True, in reality it turns out that everything is not quite so.

Participant of the fourth issue Elizaveta writes on her Instagram account: “On the set I was asked: 'What advice would you give to girls who are in the same situation?' already give birth. But for some reason this was not shown. Giving birth at 16 is not fun at all. It just puts an end to your life."

Elizabeth on teenage pregnancy
Elizabeth on teenage pregnancy
Elizabeth on teenage pregnancy
Elizabeth on teenage pregnancy

And the heroine of the ninth edition, Alexandra, who claims that her child was planned, writes the following: “17 years is an early age for pregnancy. And therefore, girls, appeal to you. Young girls, don't look at those who get pregnant early. Of course, being a mom is great. This is a wonderful feeling that every girl should feel, but at a different age, when you are sure that you can give the child everything."

But in the episodes there was not a couple of minutes to insert such words. Although they clearly would not be superfluous, because pregnancy at 16 is an ordeal for the psyche of a teenager.


Adriana Imzh Consultant psychologist.

Early pregnancy not only affects the psyche, everything is reflected so-so. Firstly, it requires going through a number of rather complex processes: observation in antenatal clinics, training during pregnancy, childbirth, childcare.

All this leads to a whole range of problems. Usually the father of the child dissolves and continues to live his teenage or not so life, and the girl becomes a young single mother. She does not have the opportunity to finish school well and get an education, or she does it at the cost of extra efforts. It is difficult for her to find a job without education.

That is why young single mothers are one of the most socially vulnerable categories who, as a rule, live in poor areas, cannot take care of themselves and their children, work in poor jobs, and undermine health more.

There are studies that outline the risk area. These factors are usually associated with early parenting:

  • Dislike for school.
  • Poor material conditions.
  • Unhappy childhood.
  • Low expectations for the future.

That is, the majority of pregnant adolescents have already been in a socially vulnerable position before, and their situation is only getting worse.

It would seem that at least the mention of contraception is an expected part of such TV shows. Sexuality education aims to leave no one with a choice: abortion or unplanned childbirth. Both options are potentially harmful to the health of the expectant mother.

It is much better to prevent adolescent pregnancy than to deal with its consequences. For this, it is important to inform adolescents about contraceptive methods and teach them how to use them correctly.

Dmitry Loginov

Give birth at 16 - well done

According to counseling psychologist Adriana Imge, 16-year-old mothers tend to experience betrayal, bullying, loneliness in a difficult situation, which leads to postpartum depression, disrupted communication with the child and disappointment in relationships. Quite a few mothers do not build relationships with children at all and are, by role, rather their older sisters, giving the child to their parents.

Therefore, the appearance in each issue of a psychologist who meets a pregnant girl seems logical and correct. The teenager is in a difficult situation. Moreover, each of the heroines has its own complex story. All of them are from not the most prosperous families and faced difficulties.

But there are inconsistencies here, too. To any girl a psychologist - and these are different people in each issue - says: "You are great for deciding to give birth at that age." It is in this formulation.

Obviously, in such a situation, it is too late to shame a pregnant teenager; all that remains is to cheer him up. But this can be done in different ways. For example, to say: "You are so young, at your age to give birth is a serious decision, but you are great and you are doing well." It seems almost the same, but the degree and polarity of the statement are completely reversed.

Instead, we hear series after series of praise for a pregnant teenager, and who among us does not want praise?

Psychologist Victoria Ankudinova, who consulted a participant in the sixth edition, said that the conversation with the girl lasted about an hour and until that moment she did not have detailed information about the heroine of the program.


Victoria Ankudinova Psychologist.

The episode shows about 1.5-2 minutes out of 55 minutes of counseling. Accordingly, the phrases are taken out of the context of the initial consultation. I had no idea what part of our conversation with Anya would be put on the air. They inserted what they inserted. This turns everything upside down: it looks like a banal advice.

The psychologist noted that she watched the issue with her participation and realized that it would not be possible to do without additional comments.

Why is all this dangerous?

After the broadcast, most of the participants gained followers on Instagram and sell ads for money. One of them admitted that she earns an average of 80 thousand rubles a month.

This, as well as the manipulation of facts, thanks to which it seems that giving birth at 16 is easy, all problems will be eliminated, and personal life will improve, led to the fact that girls dream of getting pregnant at 16 and getting on TV shows. The effect did not come out the way the creators of the format intended.

One would think that it happened by chance, but doubts will be dispelled if you read the interviews of people involved in the project. This is what Olga Kotikova, head of the Ukrainian project "Pregnant at 16", said on STB channel:

None of them regrets that they left the baby, but at the same time everyone realizes: it is still very early. No one is ready to raise a child at that age. Each one says: "Yes, I love my baby, but I made a mistake."

Olga Kotikova project manager

The material says that the creators wanted to draw the attention of parents to the sex education of children. This would prevent early pregnancies.

In Russia, this would also not hurt, since the domestic version of the project eloquently shows how little adolescents know about sex and childbirth - and adults, of course, too, they grow out of adolescents. For example, in the third issue, the hero refused to recognize the child as his own, because they had sex only once and this is not enough to get pregnant (dangerous myth). In the first issue, the father said that the child was not his, since he did not feel anything, and the baby did not look like him. A DNA test, by the way, confirmed paternity.

But the project does not seem to be trying to bring any benefit, but only to entertain. Here is what the producer Elionora Keller says: “It is impossible to renounce any life situation, it is impossible to be sure that it will bypass you. The project is popular because the viewer can try on the situation and experience it together with our heroes."

But modern means of protection are quite effective, so that most will be able to avoid such a situation. This, in fact, is the meaning of contraception.


Adriana Imzh Consultant psychologist.

Teenage sex has existed and will probably exist for the foreseeable future. And all the information that the researchers have collected so far confirms that the reduction in teenage pregnancies is achieved by no means through fasting and prayer (alas, in religious countries, as a rule, there are more such as teenage abortions), but exclusively through sexual education. If children know about the optimal age for onset of sexual activity, are informed about contraception and the principle of consent, separate love from physical intimacy, the number of teenage pregnancies drops sharply.

In countries with sex education, for example in Sweden and Israel, there were 5 and 9 births for every 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19 in 2017, in Russia - 22, in India - 23, in Niger - 192. According to the data In 2011, Sweden recorded 26 pregnancies per 1,000 girls, Israel - 23, Russia - 49, Kenya - 174, Burkina Faso - 187. According to Adriana Imzh, one can clearly see how access to contraception and information affects the number of teenage pregnancies and, of course, abortions.

Meanwhile, the filming of the second season of the Russian version of "Pregnant at 16" has already been announced.