16 and Pregnant: The Basic Facts of Teenage Pregnancy

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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.

2 thoughts on “16 and Pregnant: The Basic Facts of Teenage Pregnancy”

  1. Amber, that’s awesome that you’re going back to school. My mom got pregnant with me on her 18th birthday, pretty much on her first time, so you’re absolutely right, you don’t have to be a party girl or sleeping with a lot of different guys to get pregnant. With all the horror stories out there, I wanted to end the post with a message that being young and pregnant is not the end of the world. It may be the end of a certain way of life, but I’ve known many girls who had babies young and went on to lead very fulfilling, successful lives while raising happy, healthy children. Good luck in the pre-med program!

  2. Being a young mother myself and having TONS of friends who have children (mainly ages 17-24), I come face to face with mothers who just can’t seem to grow up. They think they can still go out, get drunk, get high, party with friends. I got pregnant at 18, had my daughter at 19, and I’m now almost 21. I was the “smart girl”. The girl who was in all honors/advanced placement classes. The girl who was reserved, but friendly. I was NEVER a party girl. I wasn’t a “whore” or someone who ran around with a bunch of guys. I got hooked onto ONE guy, and we didn’t prevent the pregnancy from happening (very irresponsible at such a young age, I know). I owned up and took responsibility for my actions. I still went to college while pregnant. I dropped out the following semester because it became too much to handle. My daughter didn’t sleep at all til 9 months, and I didn’t want to waste the money to attend if I wasn’t at my best (mentally&physically). I’m now enrolled for the spring 2012 semester in University of Memphis’ Pre-med program.

    Even though you had a baby young does not mean your future went down the toilet. Sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise! Some of my friends WERE the party girls, and they got pregnant. They are now away from that lifestyle and providing for their child. Others…not so much.

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