by Logan Kadel, Teyah Bouyer, and T'Shauna Henry
Most teenage girls don't plan to get pregnant, but many do. Teen pregnancies carry extra health risks to both the mother and the baby. Often, teens don't get prenatal care soon enough, which can lead to problems later on. They have a higher risk for pregnancy-related high blood pressure and its complications. Risks for the baby include premature birth and a low birth weight.
If you're a pregnant teen, you can help yourself and your baby by
- · Getting regular prenatal care
- · Taking your prenatal vitamins for your health and to prevent some birth defects
- · Avoiding smoking, alcohol, and drugs
- · Using a condom, if you are having sex, to prevent sexually transmitted diseases that could hurt your baby
Pregnant teens and their babies are at higher risk of health problems than are pregnant women who are older. The most common complications for pregnant teens — especially those younger than age 15 and those who don't receive prenatal care — include a low level of iron in the blood (anemia) and preterm labor. Some research suggests that pregnant teens might be more likely to develop high blood pressure as well.
1. 3 in 10 teen American girls will get pregnant at least once before age 20. That’s nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies every year.
2. Parenthood is the leading reason that teen girls drop out of school. More than 50% of teen mothers never graduate from high school. Aid young parents by starting a Babysitters Club so they can take GED classes. Sign up for Babysitters Club.
3. About 25% of teen moms have a 2nd child within 24 months of their first baby.
4. Less than 2% of teen moms earn a college degree by age 30.
5. The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the western industrialized world.
6. In 2011, the teen birthrate in the United States fell to the lowest level recorded in nearly 70 years of tracking teen childbearing.
7. In 2008 the teen pregnancy rate among African-American and Hispanic teen girls, age 15 to 19, was over two and a half times higher than the teen pregnancy rate among white teen girls of the same age group.
8. 8 out of 10 teen dads don’t marry the mother of their child.
9. A sexually active teen who doesn’t use contraceptives has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within a year.
10. Almost 50% of teens have never considered how a pregnancy would affect their lives.
11. Teens had fewer babies in 2010 than in any year since the mid-1940s.