Labor and Delivery Issues for Pregnant Teen

Unplanned Pregnancy Has Unplanned Challenges

Pregnancy turns out as a challenging and unplanned event for many of the teenagers as it changes their entire life course. Teenagers often don’t care of using contraceptives and, that is why, almost two third of all the teenage pregnancies are unplanned or unintended. There are approximately 500,000 babies delivered by teens every years whereas the number of abortions or miscarriages are even higher.

Teenage pregnancy comes with many health, educational, and financial risks or instabilities. In most of the cases, teenage mothers are not ready emotionally, physically, or financially to carry a child and thus get exposed to variety of illnesses. Similarly, there are special labor and delivery issues associated with the health of a baby when the mother is not fully ready or mature to handle the pregnancy circumstances.

Teenage Pregnancy Facts

The teenage pregnancy that results in live birth or miscarriages has majorly reduced in the past few years. It has declined by 51 percent since 1991. There are approximately 500,000 babies delivered by teens every years whereas the number of abortions or miscarriages are even higher. The higher rate of abortions or decline in pregnancy is because of the birth control pills and other such practices.

Image of young girl with pregnancy test and two friend
Image of young girl with pregnancy test and two friend (Credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz)

The Early Signs of Teenage Pregnancy

A teenage girl can easily know about her pregnancy in the early stages by paying a little attention to the signs of pregnancy.

The major list of pregnancy signs includes:

  • Missing one or more cycle of menstrual periods
  • “Morning Sickness” that includes nausea and vomiting. If you are pregnant, this kind of feeling may occur throughout your day.
  • Sudden and intense aversion to some foods like meat, fatty, fried or heavy foods.
  • Unusual feeling or fatigue or tiredness.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Sore breasts or nipples.
  • Certain changes in behavior or mood.
  • You can also use pregnancy sticks to know about your pregnancy. Almost all the home pregnancy tests these days are considered accurate.

Medical Complications of Teenage Pregnancy

As compared to the mothers in older age groups, pregnant teens and their unborn babies are usually at greater risk of developing unique medical complications. Let’s discuss the labor and delivery issues of teenage pregnancy in detail:

Lack of family care

Parental care is considered vital especially in the early months of pregnancy. It can greatly help in identifying the medical problems in both mothers and baby, monitoring the growth of the baby, and dealing with other pregnancy complications that rise from time to time. A teenage mother should know that the use of prenatal vitamins that include folic acid is ideally recommend before getting pregnant as these vitamins help in preventing certain birth defects like neural tube defects. Obviously, a girl cannot know all these things in such an early age so parental guidance and care is necessary.


In most of the teenage pregnancy cases, the mothers develop anemia or a dangerously low level of red blood cells. Anemia is majorly linked with iron deficiency. Untreated anemia during pregnancy can lead towards major problems for pregnant mother and baby like labor and delivery issues, and premature birth. If the anemia is severe, the development process of a baby can also be affected on a great level.


Teenage mothers are at higher risk of getting high blood pressure because of hypertension as compared to the pregnant women of the older age groups. The risk of developing preeclampsia is also higher in teen mothers. Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition which combines high blood pressure with excess proteins in the urine thus leading towards the potential risk of organ damage and swelling on the hands or face of the mother.

Vitamin Deficiencies

As the teenage mothers are usually not well aware of the necessary vitamins that they should take during their pregnancy phase, they become exposed to certain kind of vitamin deficiencies that in return affect the growth of the baby. Certain kind of vitamin deficiencies lead to low birth weight and other such complications.

Feeling isolated

In order to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery, a teenage mother requires the full support of her family that can ensure a healthy lifestyle for her and her baby. When the teenage mothers do not get the required support from their family, they feel alone and isolated. They stop taking care of their health and their baby and this leads to other major health complications during pregnancy.

Growth of Pelvic Bones

The pelvic bones reach their maximum size almost at the age of 18. The pelvis of a teenage mother may not have grown to its maximum size thus making the vaginal delivery difficult. Due to this reason, the rate of delivery through cesarean section is higher in teenage mothers.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Teenage girls who get involved in an intercourse during pregnancy may develop sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and chlamydia. These diseases may infect the uterus of the mother as well as the development of the baby. The use of proper prevention techniques may help to avoid these STDs.

Premature Birth

The babies of teenage mothers are usually born prematurely and hardly make their way to life. A survey showed that the birth rate of premature babies is higher in teenage mothers as compared to the women who deliver their babies in 20’s or 30’s. The premature birth is the leading cause of death in babies born these days.

Low Birth Weight

Teenage mothers usually deliver babies with low birth rate who weigh even less than 5 lbs. Underweight babies are usually born with the problems of heart, lungs and brain. Low birth weight is becoming the popular risk of teenage pregnancy these days.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression i.e. depression after giving birth to baby is common among teenage mothers. A vast majority of teenage mothers are not married thus they usually face hard time going through this phase alone. The responsibility of upbringing and nurturing a child comes far before they are emotionally or financially ready and this becomes the major cause of depression among teenage mothers.

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