The United States has been grappling with the issue of teen pregnancy for decades. However, in January 2010, a study released by the Guttmacher Institute revealed that the pregnancy rate in adolescents aged 15-19 jumped 3% between 2005 and 2006.
Health Risks for Teen Mothers
According to Medline Plus, a teenage mother is at a higher risk for serious health issues, including high blood pressure, often due to a lack of appropriate prenatal care.
Health Risks for Babies
Babies born to teen mothers are also at a greater risk for health complications, including being born prematurely or being underweight at birth. In 2006 alone, there were over 43,000 low-birth-weight babies born to adolescent mothers ages 15 to 19 years. Children of teen mothers are also more likely to experience cognitive problems, neglect, and abuse and to become teen parents themselves.
A Growing Problem
A 2004 study conducted by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists revealed that around 750,000 teenagers ages 15 to 19 become pregnant each year. This startling statistic was amplified by an increasing pregnancy rate in teenagers between 2005 and 2006, when it increased by 3 per cent. This was the largest single-year jump since 1990.
Social Impact for Mothers
Teen mothers are less likely than other teens to graduate high school, more likely to live below the poverty level and become dependent on welfare.
Social Impact for Fathers
Mothers and babies are not the only people impacted by teen pregnancy. Adolescent fathers, on the average, earn less than other men and complete less schooling.
Teen pregnancy also impacts society at large. In 2004, the cost of teenage pregnancy on the United States public funding system was £5.9 billion.
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