Teenage Pregnancy Effects On Baby: Discussing The Challenges

Teenage pregnancy effects on baby, are we in trouble? We discuss some of the short and long-term complications teen parents face.

It is easy to get caught up in the emotional and financial issues that are usually glowing red hot when a teenager finds out they are pregnant. Teenage pregnancy can have several effects on the baby both short and long term. Though every situation is not the same, the larger majority of teens are not prepared for all of the responsibilities and the extra challenges in front of teen parents.

Related: The Effects of Teenage Pregnancy: Examining the Results of 12 Studies

Teenage Pregnancy Effects On Baby: Health

When we find out a teenager is pregnant most people think about the health of the child. Though some teenagers are mature, many are simply not prepared for the changes taking place in their body. It was difficult for me at times as a full blown adult to eat healthily and take care of myself when pregnant. Teens do not have all the resources that many adults have.

Many teens do not seek out (or do not have the resources) to have all the medical care they need. Teens often need more education when it comes to nutrition, prenatal care and pregnancy complications than they receive. Teens need proper nutrition even more than the average mom. Their bodies are still growing also, so nutrition needs to support both their own and the babies growth.

According to the National Institute of Health, teenage pregnancy can have a major effect on the baby in the short term, including risks for:

  • Anemia
  • Toxemia (also known as pre-eclampsia)
  • High blood pressure
  • Placenta Previa (Placenta blocks the cervix)
  • Premature birth of the baby

Teenage Pregnancy Effects On Baby: Newborns

While every new mother is exhausted from the demands of a new baby, babies of teens are at particular risk to not receive proper care. Many teens are not ready to handle both the very exhausting physical and emotional demands of a newborn. This puts babies born to teens at a higher risk for abuse or neglect according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, especially in families where the teen does not have support from family.

Caring for a baby is tough for any new mom. Teens are less likely to know the guidelines, and can unknowingly put their babies at risk for infection, illness and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. While SIDS can happen to any baby, babies from teen mothers are at a much higher risk.

Related: 16 and Pregnant: The Basic Facts of Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage Pregnancy Effects On Baby: Long Term

Many teen mothers end up dropping out of school, which hurts the amount they can earn long term.  According to the Center of Disease Control, households with teen parents are more likely to be raised in single-parent families, with money being at the center of many other issues. While some teen dads try to be involved, they too are in survival mode. They often end up taking lower-paying jobs rather than finishing education which would help them longer-term.

Children born to teen moms are also less likely to be well prepared for kindergarten due to lack of resources. They consistently score lower on average on vocabulary, math and reading test according to CDC. This means from the start of their education, they are often already several steps behind other children with more preparation

What other effects does teenage pregnancy  have on a baby? Are we headed in the right direction? Tell us in the comments?

Image Credit: essie

21 thoughts on “Teenage Pregnancy Effects On Baby: Discussing The Challenges”

  1. I didn’t know the SIMS risk wax higher. The things you’ve said make good sense though, especially for those teens who have little or no support.

  2. I am happy to report that my nephew is a product of teen pregnancy but has not gone through any of these things listed here. He is a very bright young man and has the world at his finger tips. My SIL stayed in school and raised that baby with all of the love and help my family and hers could give her. It takes a village, especially when its a Teen Pregnancy.

  3. I worked with pregnant teens for years and it is quite a challenge for both the teen parent and the grandparents. I think you did a great job covering the issues and challenges.

  4. Like another said, I suppose each case is different. I had my baby as a teen, and she grew amazingly well. She just finished her sophomore year taking all AP classes and finished first. I wouldn’t advocate for any teen to get pregnant, though I don’t think it’s the end all be all this day in age.

  5. Teen pregnancy is pretty common in our area. It is sad when it causes people to drop out of school. There has to be a solution for that.

  6. In our area, we have a program at several of the schools that accommodates teen moms. It’s not perfect, but it definitely helps the girls finish their high school degree. Education on teen pregnancy is so important, but it definitely isn’t the end-all be-all to prevention.

  7. Teenage Pregnancy’s effects on babies.. besides medical.. it really depends on the teenager and the family support system they have. I know of those that have done well and those that have not.

  8. There are so many challenges for teens who become pregnant and that always seems to be the focus. I never considered all the actual effects a teen pregnancy can have on babies – on their health and long term.

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