Teen pregnancy: Risks and dangers
All pregnancies have the potential of being dangerous to the mother. However, if a teen becomes pregnant, she is placed grave danger.
Did you know that 1 in 10 Filipino women aged 15-19 is already a mother, or is pregnant with her first child? This statistic doesn't even include the number of young women under 15 who are pregnant. Can you imagine barely being a teenager, and facing the responsibility of becoming a mother?
Teen pregnancies are high risk pregnancies
Getting pregnant as a teen comes with a lot of risks. In the Philippines, there is a significant lack of prenatal care that's available for pregnant moms. Couple that with a teenage pregnancy, and it can be very risky for both the mother, and the baby.
One major risks of teenage pregnancy is an increased risk of high blood pressure, called pregnancy-induced hypertension. Another is an increased risk of preeclampsia or a complication during pregnancy that causes both high blood pressure, and kidney damage in addition to swelling in various body parts.
For pregnant teens, pre-natal health is extremely important as knowing the early signs and addressing any potential complications ahead of time can save both the baby and the mother's life.
Teen pregnancies have a higher rate of premature births
Additionally, teen pregnancies also have a higher rate of premature births compared to being pregnant in your 20s or early 30s. While these days, hospitals are better equipped to handle premature births, it still poses a lot of risks to the baby.
The earlier the baby is born, the higher the risk of having digestive, respiratory, vision, and other problems. So even if a premature baby survives, there's no telling what negative health effects they would suffer in the future.
Aside from a higher risk of premature births, studies have also shown that teenage moms give birth to children who weigh less than the average weight of a normal baby. Being born underweight can cause developmental problems for the child in the future.
There are also psychological effects that come with teen pregnancies
Teenage moms often feel isolated, and are at higher risk of postpartum depression due to their age. They feel that they're not yet ready for the responsibility of having a child, so they feel overwhelmed by everything that's happening around them.
For teens whose parents are unaware that they're pregnant, the feelings of fear, isolation, and loneliness are much more prevalent. They're scared about what their parents are going to say, and they're scared that they will be abandoned and left to care for their child on their own.
Which is why providing emotional support, and being supportive is important for pregnant teens. They need to know that there's someone out there looking out for them, and that they're not alone in the world.
It's also important for parents of teen moms to talk to their children about the pregnancy, and not make their child feel judged or feel like she did something terribly wrong in her life. The last thing that a teen mom needs is to be judged by someone. They need love, support, and the assurance that their child is a blessing, and not unwanted.
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