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Teenage Pregnancy Overview

August 13, 2014

Facts about teenage pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy is pregnancy in girls who are under 20 when the pregnancy ends. Most teenage pregnancies are unplanned. A girl can fall pregnant anytime after her first menstrual period (and sometimes even just before her first period). Usually, a healthy and well nourished girl has her first menstrual period when she is around 12 or 13 years old.

A teenage pregnancy is considered a high risk pregnancy because very often, a teenage mother does not receive adequate health care for herself and the baby. A teenage pregnancy is also complicated by a teenage mother’s higher risk of pregnancy-related high blood pressure.

Teenage pregnancy in the developed world

Teen girls in the developed world such as the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and certain parts of Europe normally have access to contraception and will have received proper sex education in their schools. The occurrence of teenage pregnancy in these countries depend on personal factors such as level of sexual activity and the personal use or non-use of contraceptives.

Issues faced by teenage moms

A teenage pregnancy has the same obstetrics issues as a pregnancy in a woman who is in her 20s.  There are further medical issues and concerns in a teenage pregnancy:

  • Biological issues:
    • Research has shown that a teenage mom has a higher risk of giving birth to a low-weight baby because of her age.
    • A teenage mom may not know of the pregnancy until the pregnancy is at an advanced stage, increasing the risk of the baby not having adequate care.
  • Social issues:
    • Research has also shown an association between a teenage pregnancy and a teenage mom with a lower level of education, higher rate of poverty and poorer life outcomes.
    • Teenage pregnancies are usually unplanned and outside of a marriage.
    • In many social cultures, a teenage mom may be ostracized and stigmatized by friends, family and society.