Negative Effects of Teenage Pregnancy

Teen pregnancy is a common problem in the United States and in many developing countries. Becoming pregnant while a teenager is not recommended by most medical practitioners. There has been a decline in teen pregnancies in recent years, but still over 750,000 teenage pregnancies are recorded in the United States each year. There are many negative effects of teenage pregnancy.  An unplanned pregnancy means the mother may not be physically or mentally ready to have a baby, particularly if she is a young teenager.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that babies born to teens can have a weaker intellectual development and very low scores at kindergarten when compared to babies born to older mothers.

They can also have medical and behavioral issues since their mothers were not prepared for pregnancy or cannot afford healthcare..

These babies are prone to medical complications according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Some of the complications seen are toxemia, anemia, placenta previa and high blood pressure.

Negative Effects of Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy is not good for the mother because:

  • If she is unmarried, she often keeps her pregnancy a secret from her parents and this delays prenatal care.
  • Mothers pregnant at a young age correspond with a higher infant mortality rate.
  • Teenage mothers gain less weight during pregnancies. This can result in babies with a low birth weight.
  • Babies who are born with a low birth weight do not have well developed organs. This can cause intestinal problems, bleeding in the brain and respiratory syndrome.
  • Underweight babies become children who often have low levels of nutrition, which can make them malnourished.
  • The underweight baby can suffer from cognitive disorders.
  • Children born to teen mothers can suffer from neglect and abuse due to their mother’s lack of preparedness for being a mother and her lower levels of education, as many leave school to have their baby.
  • Teenage mothers are often immature, have a lack of experience and the child may suffer from neglect if not cared for properly.
  • Many teen moms are not well educated and not able to provide financially for their child.
  • Children born to teen mothers have a higher juvenile delinquency rate later in life.  If the teen mother is unmarried, their children may be subject to ridicule by their own peer group.
  • The teen mom often cannot financially provide for her or her child, affecting both future education and ability to provide good nutrition.
  • Teen mothers don’t always get married nor do they have parental support in raising their child.
  • Early pregnancy along with an incomplete education can prevent the teen mom from pursuing further studies.
  • The health of the teen mom can be negatively affected by pregnancy.
  • Responsibilities at such a young age take a toll on the physical and psychological health of the teen mom.
  • Teen parents are often not able to cope with the responsibilities of parenthood at an early age. This can lead to divorce at a young age.
  • Teen moms may face poverty due to low income and often find it difficult to cope with the economic pressures.
  • If the teenage mother is a single mom then it is more difficult to take care of the baby even with parental help.
  • Teenage pregnancies are negatively viewed in most cultures.
  • Drug use and smoking by a teen mom can harm the baby developing in her womb.
  • Above all, teenage mothers are not prepared emotionally to take on the responsibilities of motherhood.


These are some of the negative effects and challenges of teenage pregnancy, which can result in health problems and complications to both the mother and baby.

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