Becoming a mother is by far one of the biggest changes and challenges a woman will experience in her life. While it’s a huge adjustment for someone in her 20s, 30s or 40s, there are additional consequences of teenage pregnancy and motherhood that every parent and child should consider.
My own mother was 18 years old when she gave birth to me. Adding a baby to her life when her priorities should have been pursuing a college education and maturing into an adult, forced her to make decisions that took her life and mine in some unexpected and undesirable directions.
While the teen birth rate has declined in recent years, teenage pregnancy rates still remain high and approximately one million teenage girls become pregnant each year in the US.
There are some major consequences of teenage pregnancy. Here are five that will shape the rest of a woman’s life.
1. Impact on Health
Teenage mothers and babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to suffer health, social and emotional problems
Prenatal care is critical, yet teenage girls who are pregnant—especially if they don’t have support from their parents—are at risk for not receiving adequate care during pregnancy. According to WebMD, this care includes screening for medical problems in both mother and baby, monitoring the baby’s growth, and ensuring that young mothers take prenatal vitamins with folic acid, which are essential in helping to prevent certain birth defects.
Pregnant teens have a higher risk of getting high blood pressure, also known as pregnancy-induced hypertension, than pregnant women in their 20s or 30s. They also have a higher risk of preeclampsia, which is a dangerous medical condition that combines high blood pressure with excess protein in the urine, swelling of a mother’s hands and face, and organ damage. These medical risks may require pregnant teens to take medications to control the symptoms and can also disrupt the unborn baby’s growth. These medical risks can lead to further pregnancy complications such as premature birth.
Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control, teen mothers have a higher risk of developing
To further complicate things, teens who have experienced pregnancy are at risk for repeat pregnancies. Nearly one in five births to mothers ages 15-19 are repeat births.
Although most teen parents who are sexually active use contraception during the postpartum period, only about 22 percent use “most effective” birth control (> 99 percent effective). Babies born as a result of a repeat teen pregnancy are even more likely to be born prematurely and at low birth weights.