Posts Tagged ‘teen pregnancy’

Teen pregnancy

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

bellyOver the past 20 years, the rate of teen girls having children has dropped by about 40% to its lowest level since they began keeping records 70 years ago. That’s good news, but it’s not great. 

Did you know that, according to the CDC, teen birth rates in the US are up to 9 times higher than in most other developed countries? Hispanic and black teen girls are about 2-3 times more likely to give birth than white teen girls. Girls born to teen parents are almost 33% more likely to become teen parents themselves. Only about 50% of teen mothers get a high school diploma by age 22, compared with 90% of teen girls who do not have a baby. And, at the risk of sounding crass, teen childbearing costs US taxpayers about $9 billion each year.

Premature birth is a big issue for us, as you know. But did you know that teen moms are more likely than moms over age 20 to give birth prematurely? Many teens smoke and babies of women who smoke during pregnancy are at increased risk for premature birth, low birthweight and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). These moms have an increased risk for pregnancy complications, including placental problems, anemia, and high blood pressure.

Teenage mothers are more likely to have a low-birthweight baby and most low-birthweight babies are born prematurely. Babies who are premature and low birthweight may have organs that are not fully developed. This can lead to breathing problems, such as respiratory distress syndrome, bleeding in the brain, vision loss and serious intestinal problems. Babies of teenage mothers are more likely to die in the first year of life than babies of women in their 20s and 30s. The risk is highest for babies of mothers under age 15.

So, it’s good news that the teen birth rate has dropped, but we still have a long way to go to give every baby a healthy start. The reality of these facts and figures may surprise some people – serious complications exist for the young. Help us spread the word.