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Consequences of Teen Pregnancy

Unplanned pregnancies are always fraught with challenges, but can be especially difficult when the parents involved are teenagers. There are specific health, financial and emotional issues that need to be handled when it comes to a teen pregnancy.

First of all, pregnancy for a teenager can be physically difficult. Teens are still growing themselves and their bodies may have trouble handling the added demands of a pregnancy. Teens are also less likely to seek early and regular prenatal care, which means that conditions that could have been headed off by early intervention can become problematic. Consequently, pregnant teens are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure during pregnancy, which can lead to pre-eclampsia, a serious condition for both mother and child.

In addition, babies born to teen mothers are more likely to be born underweight and are more likely to be born prematurely – conditions which increase the likelihood that the babies will require additional medical care and develop ongoing medical conditions. Because these pregnancies are typically unplanned, the teen may have been drinking, smoking or using drugs at the time of conception or during early pregnancy when the impact of such behaviors can be most harmful to the baby.

The financial consequences of teen pregnancy are both immediate and long term. On the immediate front, there are the expenses of prenatal care and delivery. These costs may be higher than usual if the mother or baby need additional care. There are also the expenses of providing for the baby to be considered, as well as child care if the mother is to continue her education.

And because few teen mothers are actually married to their baby's fathers and few teen fathers are able to pay child support, this leaves the financial burden for caring for the child on the mother and her resources, be they family, community, or governmental. With these new demands, few teen mothers are able to finish high school or obtain a GED. This means that they’re less able to find good jobs to support themselves and their children in the future. In fact, more than half of the families on welfare include a mother who had her first child when she was in her teens.

Finally, the emotional consequences of an unplanned pregnancy can be many and varied, but they need to be taken into consideration. The teen parents may experience guilt, shame, worry, anger, and any number of other feelings upon discovering the pregnancy. Then they’re faced with the decision of whether or not to continue the pregnancy and all the emotional consequences that entails. Teen mothers are more likely to suffer from depression and many teen mothers attempt suicide. Adolescence has enough pressures without adding the pressures of an unplanned pregnancy to the mix.

The pressures that pregnant teens face often result in teen abuse of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, which further exacerbate an already challenging situation. Partner violence is also common in relationships where there is a pregnant teen. If you or someone you know has become pregnant as a teen, it’s important to find a positive support system that will help to keep both the mother and baby healthy.

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