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The Challenges of Teenage Pregnancy

Aug 17, 2007
Few people would argue with the statement that one of the most precious of all of lifes events is the birth of a child. This is certainly the case for a grown adult with an education, a financial future planned, and an emotional support system in place. However when the mother to be is a teenage girl there are concerns and considerations that limit some of the joy usually felt at the news of an impending birth. Teenage pregnancy is currently on downward spiral fortunately, but these young mothers face significant challenges to their futures, their health, and the health of their babies.

Some of the negative effects of teenage pregnancy for the mother are swift and severe. Many teenage moms face an uncertain future due to not having the money, childcare support, and time to further their education. This causes a financial strain that can last the rest of the girls life and adversely affect the living conditions of the baby. There is a definite link between poverty and teenage pregnancy. In terms of a young mothers health, obstacles arise during pregnancy and delivery as well as in later years. Young mothers have a higher risk of STDs, anemia, and conditions like pre eclampsia, which among other problems causes high blood pressure. Long term medical problems as a result of teenage pregnancy are life long high blood pressure and obesity.

In addition to a higher risk of poverty, teenage pregnancy causes other social ramifications. Young teenage mothers often face disapproval and discrimination in places where before the pregnancy; they were welcomed with open arms. Problems with teachers, in their churches, and being left out by friends are just a few examples of how unpleasant these young womens lives can become. The impact of teenage pregnancy on families is enormous as well. The opportunity to mature and experience their teenage years is seriously undermined by an unplanned pregnancy.

Babies born as a result of a teenage pregnancy, sometimes have special challenges to overcome as well. Due to a lack of knowledge and maturity teenage moms sometimes ignore their own nutrition and as a result, many of these babies are born with low birth weight or ahead of schedule. After birth, because of not having adequate health care themselves, teenage mothers often have a difficult time providing good health care for their children.

The picture of teenage pregnancy looks bleak. And unfortunately, it often is. However, with good education, healthy self esteem, and solid family and social dynamics, more and more teenage girls are making the choice to wait to start families.
About the Author
Azzam Sheikh
Facilitator 'Strengthening families, strengthening communities' parent programme.

pregnancy resource center
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