While teen pregnancy rates have been declining since 1991, it’s still a fact that approximately 26 out of every 1,000 births in 2013 year were to teen mothers. The birth rate in the United States is much higher than for those in other developed countries, and many parents fear that teenage daughters don’t understand the danger of teen pregnancy, nor the life-changing consequences of being a teen mother. It’s important for parents to teach their teenage daughters about pregnancy, the health risks and complications as part of an overall sex education conversation that should span the years.
Here are 4 health risks that teenage girls should know about teen pregnancy that will further educate them on this issue:
- Teen girls are at a higher risk of poor pre-natal care. Pre-natal care is when a doctor monitors and measures the mother and fetus to ensure there are no complications. It also includes counseling on diet, health, fitness and things to avoid while pregnant, like alcohol. Good prenatal care ensures that both mother and baby will be as healthy as possible. Poor, infrequent or no prenatal care can have serious impact on the health of both mother and baby.
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia are two conditions that are more likely in pregnant teens than in older women. The hypertension is high blood pressure, while preeclampsia is a combination of high blood pressure and other physical complications. Both conditions can lead to other problems with the pregnancy and birth, including premature birth and low birth weight.
- Teens are at a higher risk of delivering early and also for having babies with a lower birth weight than normal. Early babies may not have fully developed systems, like respiratory or digestive, and sometimes experience other problems later in life. Low birth weight babies may also experience problems and might need to remain in the hospital after being born to get constant care until they are strong enough to thrive on their own.
- Teen mothers often experience mental heath issues like anxiety, depression or other challenges. There is enormous pressure on teen mothers, especially if they don’t have a good support group or they are in an abusive relationship with parents, boyfriend or friends. Post-partum depression is another thing for teen moms to watch for and get help as needed. Teen mothers might benefit form counseling and therapy to ensure that their mental well-being is just as healthy as their body and their baby.
Teen girls would benefit from the best education possible when it comes learning about their bodies, sexuality, sex education and teen pregnancy. The more information they have at their disposal, the more of an impact they can make in shaping their relationships and their future.