The teenage years are a critical time for both physical and psychological development. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 21 percent of females between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant each year in the United States, with about half of these pregnancies being unintended.
Teenage pregnancy is defined as a pregnancy in a woman who is 19 years of age or younger. According to the CDC, the teenage birth rate in the United States has been on the decline in recent years, but it still remains higher than that of most other developed countries. In 2018, there were 18.8 births per 1,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19.4.
While some teenagers may feel ready to take on the challenges of parenthood, others may feel unprepared and uncertain about their future. Teenage pregnancy can also have negative consequences for both the mother and child, including an increased risk of health problems, poverty, and social isolation.
If you or someone you know is facing an unplanned pregnancy, it’s important to seek out accurate information and safe resources so that you can make the best decision for your unique situation. While some teenage pregnancies are planned, many are not. Unintended pregnancies can occur for a variety of reasons, including lack of access to contraception, incorrect use of contraception, pressure from peers or adults, and coercion or force.
There are a number of risks associated with teenage pregnancy, both for the mother and child. These include:
An increased risk of health problems: Pregnant teenagers are more likely to experience complications such as preterm labor, high blood pressure, and anemia. They are also at an increased risk for mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
Poverty: Teenage mothers are more likely to live in poverty than their peers who delay childbearing.8 In fact, about half of all teenage mothers receive public assistance within five years of giving birth.9
Social isolation: Teenage mothers often face social isolation from their peers, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem.10 They may also have difficulty completing their education and achieving their career goals.