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The stresses of teen pregnancy
Posted in Mental Health - 0 Comments

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A study released last year by the Guttmacher Institute found the U.S. teenage pregnancy rate dropped 51 percent between 1990 and 2010. The 2010 rate of 57.4 pregnancies per 1,000 teenage girls and women ages 15-19 represents a drop of 15 percent since 2008 alone. While this study demonstrates that fewer teens are becoming pregnant, states like New Mexico still have relatively high teen pregnancy rates.

While it can be difficult to pin down exact reasons for an overall decline, lead author Kathryn Kost has a theory. “It appears that efforts to ensure teens can access the information and contraceptive services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies are paying off.”

Despite this proposed reason, the study authors believe further research is necessary for finding out the behavioral, social and economical reasons for the decreased pregnancy rate. Whether it is due to fewer incidences of sexual relations or increased use of birth control remains to be seen.

The toll of teen pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a challenging experience for any woman. Doctors visits, clothing, food and other financial burdens can be tough for a woman to take on. There is also the potential for emotional and physical complications, such as postpartum depression. With teenage pregnancy, the woman may have access to fewer resources to handle this event. Examples such as this include:

  • Time – Teenagers must spend a considerable amount of time in school, sometimes while also juggling part-time jobs. Homework and hobbies can take a hit when pregnancy enters the picture. If adoption is chosen as an end result, then considerable time is spent working with an agency to find a suitable family for the child
  • Maturity – There are plenty of mature teenagers, but even the best of them can struggle with the emotional aspects of this experience. Doing so requires putting the need of the child over themselves, which can be difficult for an adult, let alone an adolescent
  • Money – The estimated cost of raising a child to the age of 18 in the United States is 245,000 dollars. Parents of the teen may struggle to take on this financial burden, potentially leading the teen to drop out of school to work
  • Social struggles – Some young adults may find themselves alienated by their friends and family because of pregnancy. This can feel especially punishing for them as they tend to rely on social groups for emotional gratification and security

In addition to all the different struggles listed above that a pregnant teen may face, they may also have to deal with the problem of mental health. Pregnancy can have an emotional strain on any mother and the same is more true for teen mothers. The emotional struggle of how the pregnancy can affect a teen’s life, whether to keep the baby or not, whether to get an abortion and other issues have a serious effect. This can lead to problems such as depression and anxiety. Furthermore a teen may turn to substance use in an attempt to cope with their situation or they may continue to struggle with substance abuse which may have contributed to the pregnancy to begin with.

There are also physical dangers that teens must be wary of. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the second cause of death for 15-19-year-old girls worldwide. According to the World Health Organization: “The younger the mother, the greater the risk to the baby. Newborns born to adolescent mothers are also more likely to have low birth weight, with the risk of long-term effects.”

Sovereign Health of Arizona offers help with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions. Pregnancy can create stressful consequences, especially for teens but therapy and proper treatment for mental health issues can help them cope and transition into a new style of life more easily. To reach our admissions specialists call us any time at 866-598-5661.

Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer

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