Teenage birth rates in this country have declined steadily since 1991. While this is good news, teen birth rates in the U.S. remain high, exceeding these in most developed countries. Each year teenage girls are getting pregnant at a younger and younger age with the responsibility to supporting young children financially, and many girls aren't even ready for the responsibility of caring for another human being. High teen birth rates are an important concern because teen mothers and their babies face increased risks to their health; and their opportunities to build a future are diminished.
According to the March of dimes, "nearly thirteen percent of all births in the United States were teen ages fifteen to nineteen. Almost one million teenagers become pregnant each year and about 485,000 give birth.
Babies, as well as the teenage mothers face long-time problems may face long-term problems from pregnancy. These problems may include school failure, poverty, and physical or mental illness.
Babies born to teenagers are at greater risk for neglect and abuse that those of a women. Teenage mothers may feel like they are being demanded to do the job and they may take their frustration out on the child.
Teenage mothers are less aware that their health affects the baby's health. Teen to often have poor eating habits, neglect to take their vitamins, and may smoke, drink alcohol and even take drugs, increasing the risk that their babies will be born with health problems. Studies also show that teens are less likely than older women to be of adequate pre-pregnancy weight and/or to gain an adequate amount of weight during pregnancy. Low weight gain increases the risk of having a low birth weight baby.
A teenage mother is at greater risk than women over age 20 for pregnancy complications such...