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Teenage Pregnancy - Know Everything About It!

Dr. Supriya Malhotra 88% (21 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, New Delhi  •  35 years experience
Teenage Pregnancy - Know Everything About It!

Expecting a baby is the best feeling for any woman but this may or may not be the case in teenage pregnancy. Getting pregnant at the early age can cause serious damage to her not only to her health but also her future. Any pregnancy that occurs in women under the age of 20 is termed as teenage pregnancy. It is classified as high-risk pregnancy which can cause grave danger to the mother as well as her unborn child.

Technically, a girl can become pregnant after sexual intercourse anytime after beginning ovulation. In common- speak, a girl can become pregnant after she begins menstruating.

Risks of Teenage Pregnancy
Usually what happens is that a teenager gets pregnant against her wish… She doesn’t plan to but gets pregnant maybe due to unprotected sex. This increases the risk to both her and her baby.
It usually leads to a lag in her accessing and getting prenatal care. This can lead to problems later on like-

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Premature births
  3. Low birth weight

Controlling high blood pressure during pregnancy and getting regular prenatal care is the single most important thing that a pregnant teen can do for her own and her baby’s health.

High BP
Teenage mothers are at high risk for suffering from high BP which means they are at high risk for developing pre-eclampsia. This is a sudden increase in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy and can be life-threatening for both the mother and the unborn baby. There are no proven ways to prevent it and most women who have signs of pre-eclampsia are monitored to lessen the harm and to avoid complications. The only way to cure pre-eclampsia is to deliver the baby. Usually, doctors manage high blood pressure in pregnancy by closely monitoring the baby, lifestyle changes by the mother and use of medicines. Compliance among teenagers for making lifestyle changes is usually low according to experts.

Premature Babies
Premature babies are also common in teenagers and these babies can have health problems at the drop of the hat because their organs did not have enough time to develop in the womb. Problems that they are prone to are-

Low-birth weight
Low birth weight babies are another risk of teenage pregnancies. These babies who weigh less than 5 pounds are at higher risk for health problems like delayed motor and social development or learning disabilities. They also become sick more often in the first days of life or develop infections.

Risks of low birth weight, premature labour, anemia, and pre-clampsia are linked to the low age of the mother and all of these are observed in teen births even after controlling for other risk factors such as prenatal care.

What can be done?
A pregnant teen, therefore, should do the following-

  • Get regular prenatal check-ups
  • Take vitamins and iron to prevent birth defects
  • Staying away from smoking, alcohol, and drugs to prevent birth defects
  • Use a condom during sex to prevent sexually transmitted diseases that could hurt the foetus

The only way to prevent teenage pregnancies is educational interventions and promotion of birth control. And both of these should be used to prevent these high-risk pregnancies. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.

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