While teen pregnancies are at a record low, they still present us with some serious considerations, for both the teen parents and society as a whole. We have known for a long time that teens who have babies have an exponentially more difficult time just being teenagers, but are pregnant teens also more susceptible to serious health risks? Sadly, that appears to be the case. Read on to learn more about teen pregnancy health risks:
Teen pregnancy health risks – physical risks
Teenage girls who carry a pregnancy and give birth are likely to develop high blood pressure. It seems the physiological stress of sharing the vascular system with a fetus is just too much for teenage bodies, which are still growing and undergoing major biological changes, themselves. This underdevelopment also leads to problems in childbirth; teen moms are much more likely to need a cesarean section, as their pelvic frames are often not large enough for the fetus to pass through.
Emotional health concerns
Physical risks aren’t the only risks that teen Mums face, either. Girls 19 and under who give birth are more vulnerable to the development of post-partum depression. While this is a problem in itself, it can also lead to other health concerns, especially when left untreated; unfortunately, many teen Mums either ignore this post-pregnancy condition, or are unaware of its symptoms, and so go without treatment.
Risks caused by socio-economic underdevelopment
It goes without saying that teenage Mums generally live within extremely limited financial means. Lack of education and real world job experience make it difficult to find gainful employment, and many teen parents rely heavily on their own parents for financial support, which in turn puts an economic strain on the entire extended family. This creates a socio-economic environment for teen Mums that is not conducive to seeking out and maintaining a regular healthcare regimen. Additionally, because teenage mothers are so limited in this means, they are more likely to settle into equally underdeveloped relationships with mates, which puts their health (and the health of their babies) at a different kind of risk: Studies show that teenage Mums are much more likely to be in, and stay in, physically and emotionally abusive relationships with their significant others.
Unfortunately, a teen Mum’s health risks are not hers alone. Babies born to teenage Mums are often underweight, because as fetuses, they must compete with their still-developing Mum for nutrients. Pre-eclampsia and premature birth are also more common in teenage pregnancies. It is easy to look at all of these facts and identify some major problems with the issue of teenage pregnancy. Unfortunately, it is not so easy to prevent this unnecessary unfortunately circumstance from happening.
About the Author: Elfrieda Schweppe works in health information technology and is currently gaining her epic certification. Before health IT, she worked as a medical assistant in a women’s health clinic and often saw pregnant teens struggle with health and economic issues.