Teenage pregnancies are pregnancies below the age of 20. A teenager is a person aged from puberty to maturity. Adolescence — a Latin word meaning “to grow up” — is a transitional stage of physical and psychological human development that generally occurs during the period of puberty to legal adulthood. The period is closely associated with teen years.
Adolescent pregnancy is a major contributor to both infant and maternal health problems and mortality. Adolescence aged less than 16 years faces four times the risk of maternal death than women in their 20s; while the death rate of their neonates is about 50 per cent higher.
Adolescent pregnancy requires special physical ...view middle of the document...
Unfortunately, that will start another vicious cycle, because early motherhood often compromises a girl child’s education. As bad as it is, the majority cannot even learn any trade and so, their children also continue the poverty line from one generation to another.
Expectant teenage mothers are at risk of various complications in pregnancy and during childbirth because of lack of physical and biological readiness for pregnancy and childbirth.
The teen mother may fall in labour below 37 weeks gestation. This is mainly because the mother has immature reproductive organs that are ill-prepared to carry a pregnancy to full term. Immature cervix and metabolic system has been associated with preterm contraction and birth.
Worse still, sexually transmitted diseases are commoner with teen pregnancy and this may also predispose to preterm delivery.
High blood pressure is another major risk often faced by teen mothers. Normally, there is an increased demand for circulatory function in pregnancy; but for a pregnant teen where her cardiovascular system is underdeveloped, it is obvious that the developing cardiovascular system is not fully prepared for the extra circulatory load associated with pregnancy.
Apart from developing gestational hypertension, teenage pregnancy is also associated with increased incidence of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure with protein in the urine), which may progress to eclampsia where convulsion is also associated.
The increased tendency for high blood pressure in teen pregnancy may also predispose her baby to low birth weight, especially when the mother is below 15 years of age.
Again, smoking and drug abuse are commoner with teenagers, and these could also lead to low birth weight. All of these issues do lead to serious...