Despite the amount of education available about the risks associated with teenage pregnancy, way too many girls are still finding themselves 16 and pregnant.
In the United States, teenage pregnancy is once again on the rise. Of the approximately one-million yearly cases of teen pregnancy, only 85 percent of those are unplanned. That means that 150,000 teenagers each year actually make a conscious decision to get pregnant. Being 16 and pregnant, or any young age for that matter, can put a serious strain on the girl’s relationships, education, and even her body.
Facts about Teenage Pregnancy
- Although teenage pregnancy reached an all-time high in 1991 and declined steadily for several years after, as of 2006, the overall number of pregnant girls age 13-19 is climbing once again. Basically, for every 1,000 born each year, 42 of them are to very young mothers.
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy estimates that teen pregnancies cost the public about $11 billion each year. However, much of that figure factors in the cost of foster care, a higher incidence of incarceration among children who grow up in the foster system, and lost tax revenue for those who have to stop working to care for a baby.
- Being 16 and pregnant, or any young age for that matter, can be risky for both the mother and baby. Pregnant teenagers are more likely to suffer from pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, or preeclampsia, than their older counterparts are. Preeclampsia can result in premature delivery and low birth-weight for the baby, and complications such as kidney failure, seizures, and stroke for the mom.
- Pregnant teenagers are less likely to seek quality prenatal care. In some cases, it may be because they lack a good support system, and in others, they are just too scared to tell their parents and get the support they need. This puts them at a high risk for a myriad of complications that can affect both the mom and the baby.
- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that teenage mothers may be at a higher risk for developing postpartum depression. Coupled with the lack of a solid support system, this can often result in serious psychological trauma for the girl, and an increased risk of abandonment or injury for the baby.
- Sexually active teenagers are at a higher risk of contracting an STD, which can cause serious complications for both the mother and the baby. If you’re 16 and pregnant, it is vital that you be tested for these disease. In fact, women of all ages should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases early during their pregnancy if they have had multiple sexual partners recently. Many STDs do not even show symptoms until they reach later stages.
Although the statistics and risk of complications regarding teen pregnancy are alarming, being 16 and pregnant is not the end of the world. Not all pregnant teenagers develop complications, drop out of school, or raise children destined for prison system. Many are able to complete their education while being involved in their child’s life. A good support system can go a long way, but ultimately, it is up to the teenager to decide how she wants her life to turn out.