Effects of Teenage Pregnancy: Consequences of Being 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16 Years Old and Pregnant, & Becoming a Teen Mom
Effects of Teenage Pregnancy: 12, 13, 14, and 15 Year Olds Should be Aware of the Consequences
Every day, we hear of teenage kids and children becoming pregnant; some as young as 12 years old. This is a disastrous situation for the pregnant, soon to be teenage mother. So why do teens get pregnant? Is it an accident? Was it on purpose? Did the teen WANT a child? Was the pregnancy a result of a disturbing sexual crime?
Regardless of how it occurs, the effects of teen pregnancy not only affect the teen girl; it will affect the baby, the parents of the teenager, and the father's family. The emotional effects of teenage pregnancy will affect all of these individuals. and many teenage mothers find themselves in extreme poverty with financial troubles that would make anyone sweat bullets, but it is a given that teenage pregnancy and poverty are interconnected since it becomes incredibly difficult for the mother to finish her education.
We need not forget the health risks of teenage pregnancy either; both the mother and the child could suffer greatly. Teen mothers have a much higher risk of teenage pregnancy problems. This is because the mother may not have developed fully physically before becoming pregnant.
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Understanding the Dilemma: Why Do Teens Get Pregnant?
Before we can begin to really dig into teen pregnancy and the consequences of underage pregnancy, we must first understand why teens become pregnant; so why do teens get pregnant? There is not always an easy answer to this question. However, most cases of pregnant teenagers can be attributed to one of the following reasons:
- Accidental Teenage Pregnancy: For the most part, a pregnant teen girl will tell you that her pregnancy was an accident. Unplanned children born to teenage parents are usually the result of not having contraception. Contraception is an important resource for teenagers; especially those who decide to engage in intimate acts. For the most part, it is becoming widely available to teenagers unlike previous years.
- Being "In Love": Sometimes, teenagers believe that when they fall in love, that it is only natural to have a child. Planned teenage pregnancy is very dangerous. It is usually the result of insufficient education regarding teenage family planning and career planning.
- Boy Problems and Troubled Relationships: As many of us already know, some teenage girls think that having a child will help to keep their boyfriends committed to them. Does having a baby really keep your boyfriend in a relationship with you? As adults, we already know that the answer to this question is "no." These girls, however, do not realize this; especially if they come from a home with both parents, who are happily married. All girls should be taught about this particular scenario, as young love can make teenagers incredibly desperate; and they will go to extreme measures to be happy. Hormones do not help in this case!
- The Desire for Attention, and the Need to Feel Loved: Teenage girls are often caught in a whirlwind of hormones and stressful emotions. They feel alone, chaotic, lost, confused, miserable, and insecure; on top of this, they are dealing with major life obstacles such as first love's, first jobs, first boyfriends, and school. Some girls also come from broken or abusive families, while others may not have mothers or older sisters to guide them through life. This can lead to the feeling of being unloved, which they will seek from boys. As this fails, they will begin to seek other sources for love. Many teenagers see children as an unconditional form of love especially when a close friend has an unplanned child. They do not realize how much work children are; they only see the cute faces and the mothers' pride.
- Rape: Unfortunately, teenage girls may fall victim to rape. Many cases of rape do not involve protection, which increases the risk of pregnancy.
Understanding why teens get pregnant is vital to helping these children reduce the rates of pregnancy while preserving their childhoods and futures.
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The Psychological Effects of Teenage Pregnancy
Teenagers are very sensitive to the psychological effects of events and occurrences that are going on around them. The psychological effects of teenage pregnancy are very demanding on a young woman. She will experience an even more unstable flow of hormones throughout her body and mind, a constantly changing self image that leads to insecurity, and an overwhelmingly stressful feeling of concern for her child and how she might care for it. All of this becomes much more intense should she begin working while pregnant, and experiencing the stress of covering bills while living from paycheck to paycheck. A child's mind is almost incapable of processing all of this stress so quickly; especially when it is a drastic change from simple math homework and Friday night football games. Long gone are the nights where these girls would only worry about how they will hang out with their friends over the weekend or write up a quick English report. The psychological effects of teenage pregnancy might just be much more than the average teenage girl can handle.
Can A 12 Year Old Get Pregnant? How Young Can Pregnancy Occur?
Yes! 12 year old preteen girls CAN become pregnant. Pregnancy can even occur before menstruation fully kicks in. Some girls may begin their periods before they hit the age of 9. While this is excessively young and fairly uncommon, it is still possible for a girl to become pregnant at such a young age. Becoming pregnant at age 12 is more than possible, and it is highly dangerous as well. Many pregnancies at this age will not end well either. Miscarriages are very likely, and the mother could die if she makes it to a full term pregnancy. These are incredibly risky situations and most medical professionals are strongly against continuing a pregnancy to term at such a young age, mainly due to the small stature of a twelve year old girl.
Scary Teen Pregnancy Facts
- At least 1 in every 5 girls will give birth to a child before reaching 20 years old worldwide.
- For girls aged 15-19, approximately 3,000,000 abortions occur worldwide.
- Teens are at far higher risk of developing dangerously high blood pressure while pregnant.
Teenage Pregnancy Complications: Teenagers Are at Risk!
Since teenage girls are not fully mature, there is a high risk of teenage pregnancy complications. These complications can vary, but these are a few of the most common problems that may occur during and after the pregnancy of a teen woman:
Inadequate Weight Gain During Gestation: Teenagers tend to have a high rate of metabolism, as they are growing rapidly and their bodies need to make use of available nutrients. This means that a teen girl may not be able to gain the proper amount of weight during pregnancy, leading to increases in risks to the health of the baby as well as a low birth rate.
Nutritional Deficiencies: Nutritional deficiencies, just like weight gain, can be very common. Teen mothers are much less likely to receive prenatal care during the first trimester of pregnancy due to a wide range of factors. Nutritional deficiencies can ultimately be life threatening to both the mother and the baby.
Inadequate Space for Birth: The pelvic bone will not usually reach its full size until almost 18 years of age; this is critical for the healthy delivery of a baby naturally. Should the pelvic bone be too small and the birth canal too narrow, complications will occur. This leads to a higher risk of a Cesarean section, or C-Section, among teen mothers.
Premature Birth: For young mothers under the age of 20, the risk of premature birth is magnified. This is due to the mother's immaturity, as her body may not be able to cope with a pregnancy to full term. Should the stress become too high on the mother's body, it will force her into early labor. Premature birth is the birth of a child before gestation reaches 37 weeks. This teenage pregnancy complication is perhaps one of the most common.
A Few Annual Numbers Regarding Teen Pregnancy
750,000 per year
Over 200,000 in 2006
Teenage Pregnancy and Poverty
When a teen falls pregnant at the ages of 13, 14, 15, or 16, they are almost always going to succumb to dropping out of school. Teenage pregnancy and poverty go hand in hand, as the teenager must give up an education in order to enter the workforce as quickly as possible in order to bring in an income to support the new child. Since many teen parents rarely stay together after the birth of a child, it is unlikely that the child's father will stick around to support the family. In the case that he does, he himself will struggle to support the family due to his own lack of an education. This will result in a series of low paying jobs. In the best of cases, both the mother and father will work, resulting in a two-income household; even then, the young family will most likely struggle.
With the demands of a child, it is nearly impossible to work a full time job (some young 15, 16, and 17 year old mothers even work two jobs) and pursue a higher education. This is a major deterrent for young parents; therefore, they continue to work for employers with unskilled positions that offer small wages. This cycle of poverty will continue, and will suppress the family until one of the parents either pursues an education or finds a decently paying job that does not require a degree.
Poverty will harm the child in many ways. He or she may grow up without having the things that he or she needs, including a nutritious diet, proper clothing, hygiene products, and sometimes a home. They will also miss out on things that their peers have or experience, such as family vacations, gaming consoles, cool shoes, the latest gadgets, fashionable clothes and accessories, and much more. This could even lead to bullying in school; bullying leads to mental and emotional stress. The child may be considered "poor" or "trashy" simply because he or she has a family in poverty. Teen pregnancy and poverty do not always have to appear together, but it is a difficult situation to avoid for most teens.
Help! I'm 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16 Years Old and Pregnant, What Do I do?
If you are a 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16 year old pregnant teen, the first thing you should do is tell your parents. This is important because your parents are going to be the ones to help you, no matter how scary the situation may seem. After you break the news to them, you will need to see a doctor immediately. The longer a pregnant teen goes without seeing an OBGYN (baby doctor), the longer she will go without prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins for teen mothers are very important; this is because both the mother and child need a wide variety of nutrients, and the teen body is not yet fully mature. Should a deficiency occur, both the mother AND the child could be in grave danger.
Once your parents know of the situation and you have received proper medical care, the father and the father's family (should he be under the age of 18) should be contacted and informed of the pregnancy. Arrangements will need to be made, especially if the child is to be kept by the teen mother. The father can be held responsible for the child's care as well, unless both parties would like for a particular parent to relinquish (give up) rights to the child.
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