Teenage pregnancy is always a hot-button issue in the United States. In recent years, more aggressive campaigning, warnings from major health organizations, and media promotions have increased awareness about teenage pregnancy. According to the latest teenage pregnancy facts released by the CDC, teenage pregnancy rates have declined by 37% from 1991 to 2009 in the U.S. Despite this decline, health experts say that teenage pregnancy is still a major issue of concern since the rates of teenage pregnancies are approximately nine times higher in the U.S. than in other developed countries.
In a statement, Thomas R. Frieden, director of CDC commented on the high rates of teen pregnancy in the United States: “Though we have made progress in reducing teen pregnancy over the past 20 years, still far too many teens are having babies. Preventing teen pregnancy can protect the health and quality of life of teenagers, their children, and their families throughout the United States.” According to experts, teenage pregnancy is more complicated than adult pregnancy and is associated with physical, emotional, financial and psychological risks for both the expectant mother and the baby.
Medical risks of teenage pregnancy
The National Institutes of Health has found that teenage pregnancy can result in health risks, illness, and even death. This was confirmed by a report published by UNICEF, which showed that around 70,000 teenagers die every year as a result of pregnancy-related complications. The data from CDC shows that teenage pregnant women are more likely to experience health complications and preterm labor because they are unaware of the importance of a healthy pregnancy diet. This is especially true for mothers who are less than 18 years old at the time of giving birth, as they have a 60% greater risk of their child dying within the first year of life. ACOG recommends that pregnant teenagers take extra care to follow pregnancy tips and eat a nutritious diet in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Psychological and emotional risks of teenage pregnancy
Adolescence can be a confusing and difficult time for many, but it can be especially overwhelming for teenage mothers who face additional pressure and judgment from society. Unfortunately, this can lead to serious emotional and psychological problems for the teenage mother, such as alienation from her peers, poverty due to lack of a steady income, and depression.
After discovering they are pregnant, teenagers often experience conflicting emotions about the yet-to-be-born baby, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. They may be overwhelmed by fear and anxiety because they lack knowledge about healthy pregnancy and motherhood. Experts say the intense emotions can cause stress that leads to neglect of the child by the teen mother.
Financial and social risks of teenage pregnancy
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, nine in ten pregnant teenagers decide to give birth, which can often result in financial hardships for not only the mother but also the baby. Data from ACOG reveals that teenage moms usually drop out of school or college in order to seek employment and are more likely to get stuck in low-income jobs. The CDC states that having a low income can affect the health of both the teenage mother and the newborn baby, since studies have shown that low income is often linked with poor health.
According to the CDC, teenage pregnancies are associated with social risks as well. Babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to be dependent on public health care and suffer from chronic medical conditions. This places a greater burden on society. In fact, ACOG states that the yearly cost of teen pregnancy in the USA is approximately $7 billion.
Experts agree that teenage pregnancy is associated with various risks and complications. Studies indicate that teens are becoming sexually active at a young age and therefore, proper steps must be taken to address this problem. Some of the risks associated with teenage pregnancy include poor educational outcomes, health problems, and social and economic difficulties.
Therefore, it is important to raise awareness about the risks of teenage pregnancy and to provide support to teen mothers. There are a number of programs and organizations that provide assistance to teen mothers, and make sure to take advantage of these resources if you or someone you know is facing this challenge.