Risk Factors in Teen Pregnancy

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Each year in the United States, more than 750,000 teens get pregnant. Of those pregnant teens, 445,000 will go on to give birth to their child. Teen pregnancy is not without its risks. Being a pregnant teen carries physical, emotional and even social risks. If you are a pregnant teen or the parent of a pregnant teen, it is important for you to know and understand those risks so you can do your best to minimize them.

Physical Risks of Teen Pregnancy

There are a number of physical risks that you need to be concerned with if you are a pregnant teen. Many of these physical risks can be avoided if you are aware of them and their causes. Most of these risks can be minimized with proper prenatal care both in and out of the doctor's office.

About 15% of all pregnant teens give birth prematurely. When a baby is born prematurely, the baby is at risk for a number of serious health concerns. The problems that premature infants face may be life long and in some cases fatal.

Many of the problems that teen mothers encounter can be avoided with simple lifestyle changes. Pregnant women should avoid smoking and drinking during every stage of their pregnancy. These activities can lead to low birth weight, pre-term birth, birth defects, placenta problems and even fetal/infant death.

Teen mothers are also less likely to seek proper prenatal care during their pregnancy. In fact, 7% of teen mothers received little to no prenatal care during their pregnancy. It is essential that you seek prenatal care early on and throughout your pregnancy. Never skip appointments or diagnostic testing and follow all of your doctor's instructions for nutrition and care.

Emotional Risks of Teen Pregnancy

One of the most prevalent and unavoidable risks of teen pregnancy is emotional damage. Having to mature earlier than nature intended can have a profound affect on the rest of a teen mother's life. That said, there are some more specific emotional risks of teen pregnancy including postpartum depression and isolation.

Many teen mothers experience postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can interfere with the care of a teen mother's infant and herself. To avoid falling into postpartum depression, pregnant teens should be educated about this condition prior to giving birth. Teens who are sad or feel down either during their pregnancy or after they deliver should be encouraged to talk to a trusted adult.

Isolation and loneliness are other emotional risks of teen pregnancy. When a pregnant teen is feeling isolated or lonely she may not eat well or take care of herself and this can lead to more complex health issues. It is important for pregnant teens to seek the emotional support they need from their parents or another trusted adult. They may also find a support group for other teen mothers.

Social Risks of Teen Pregnancy

One of the hardest things that teen mothers have to come to grips with when they are pregnant are the changes in their social life. Teens who are pregnant are often excluded by their friends socially. The father of their baby often moves on with his life while the new mother and baby are stuck at home. To avoid an emotional fall out from these social consequences of teen pregnancy, you need to create a new social atmosphere. Seek out support groups for pregnant teens. In addition to this, foster the friendships with the people who are reliable and remain in the picture.

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