While teenage pregnancies are steadily on the rise, the negative implications are, as well. U.S teen birth rate is higher than that of many other developed countries. Canada and the United Kingdom are included in these statistics.
As far as the numbers go, about 25 out of every 1,000 teenagers will get pregnant this year. Another alarming fact is that these stats don't always represent first time pregnancies. A whopping 17 percent of births to 15-19 year-olds were females who had already given birth.
While the numbers can be dismal, the individual outlook of these young moms can seem daunting, as well. It would be in bad taste to put down or judge any one of these teenage moms for this, though. None of us live in glass houses. What we can do is bring to light some reported hardships caused by teenage pregnancies so that more people are aware and can be helpful.
It's important to preface this list with the common knowledge that having babies is hard. This is such a general statement, so let's break it down even further. Having babies is tough at age 25, 35, and even 45. It doesn't matter the age, the bottom line is that this is a tough job. Some argue that one age may be more difficult than another.
Whether it's because of embarrassment or simply disinterest, many teen moms don't want to talk about the hardship they may face. Let's be real - no mom does. We moms want to get caught up in the romanticism of pregnancy. In exiting the clouds and descending back to Earth, we face reality.
That being said, here are 15 photos that teen moms don't want you to see. Mind you, each photo represent a fact regarding teen pregnancies. Get ready for these eye-openers!
15 Inadequate Weight Gain During Pregnancy
If you remember your teenage years then you also remember the hours spent analyzing yourself in the mirror, comparing your body to that of some random super model's, and continuously pinching your belly wondering if it qualified for an inch of fat. In short, it was not a time of incredibly positive self-image.
It hasn't changed much for teens nowadays. Even with diversity acceptance, put-a-stop-to-bullying programs, and sexual orientation tolerance, self-doubt runs rampant in today's youth.
This kind of inner pressure is no respecter of persons as it preys on just about everyone - teen moms included. In fact, it can lead to an inadequate weight gain during a teen pregnancy. Nutrition aside (for the moment), the body beefs up during pregnancy as a sort of protective buffer from outside harm. Many teenage moms miss out on this because of the extreme drive to stay skinny, even while pregnant.
14 Less Prenatal Care
Here's a shocker - the young moms who do not receive prenatal care give birth to babies four times more likely to die before their first birthday. Not only is this a sad statistic, it's also an easy one to fix - in theory, that is.
The fact of the matter is that far too many expecting teens fail to receive prenatal care. There are numerous reasons why. For instance, many are unaware that they are even pregnant. Some have no understanding of prenatal care or its importance. Others have no medical coverage. Still, others have no support at home to either take them to the doctor or go with them.
It's a problem that can be avoided, but the stats love that most of the time is isn't.
13 Less Likely To Finish High School
Have you ever tried typing with a baby sitting on your lap? What about reading, have you tried that? Concentrating is usually out of the question. Expressing a cohesive thought can be compared to climbing Mt. Everest.
The WAHM (work at home moms) all shout, "Been there done that!"
For those of us who have already graduated high school or even college, it seems like a simply enough task. Mountains are always smaller once you're looking down up on them, though.
The cold, hard fact is that more teen moms fail to graduate high school than successfully earn their degree. This set them back significantly from the get-go. Not to preach that teen moms can't graduate high school, because they certainly can. The research has shown, though, that adding a newborn to the picture makes graduating less of a likelihood for teen moms.
12 Low Birth Weight
It's not just mom's body taking a hit when she succumbs to peer pressure and attempts to be a skinny super model. Baby suffers greatly, as well. You see, whatever mom eats goes to baby first. If mom doesn't eat then baby doesn't eat. Often, teen moms simply don't have the capacity to grasp that concept.
Sadly, this frame of mind and behavior choice can cause low birth weight in babies of teen moms. So essentially, it's not a fat healthy baby being born to these teenagers. The typical baby that is born to teenage mothers is a skinny, premature, unhealthy baby.
We say typical, because there are some teen moms who get over the body-image dilemma and who do put baby first. These moms have a great chance of giving birth to strong, healthy babies. Unfortunately the research shows that this is not the norm.
11 Children Don't Receive Proper Nutrition
Remember back to the point in this article indicating the typical teenager's inability to provide themselves with proper nutrition? Well, this irresponsibility usually carries over to a teenager's baby, as well.
In terms of the nutrition of a teen mom's child, it's usually not adequate. Research show that not only are teenage moms often incapable of providing their own body with proper nutrition, but they frequently take this approach with their children, too.
This is not to say teenage moms can't properly provide nutrition to their children. There are many teen moms who are incredible at this part of motherhood. As a whole, though, this tends to be a struggle for teenage moms. More and more programs are focused on supporting this shortcoming.
10 Inadequate Cognitive and Social Stimulation
Many new teen moms find themselves in what I like to call "survival mode" once they've given birth. (To be quite frank, this term isn't limited strictly to teenage moms.) It's difficult enough to care for themselves. Studies and social pressures add up quickly. Adding a little on into the mix can throw a new mom into overdrive.
Try to fit everything into the life of a teenage mom can be a bit of a juggling act. operating in survival mode can mean just managing to do the basics. You know as well as I do that some days just getting your kids fed and bathed is all you can accomplish. This usually doesn't cut it every day, though.
Unfortunately, survival mode is often all a teenage mom can offer her child. When this happens, cognitive and social stimulation are placed on the back burner. Children in this situation miss out on important developmental milestones.
9 Lack of Healthcare
As a new mom, you're immediately bombarded with vaccination schedules, physical milestones, and an array of cognitive milestones, as well. It can seem like so much information coming at you all at once.
This is the same pressure a new teenage mom experiences. Unfortunately, many new teenage moms can't handle the pressure of it all and simply toss is to the wayside. In addition to these pressures, there is the daunting responsibility of comprehending the healthcare system. In the U.S., at least, this is no simply task.
Should a new teen mom overcome all of these roadblocks, she has accomplished more than most. She still, however, has to get to all these appointments and provide her child with any medical treatment necessary. Clearly, the odds are stacked against these young women.
8 Increased Risk For Abuse And Neglect
Abuse and neglect are two things we don't want to think about. The truth is that they exist. In fact, statistics prove that they run rampant among young families.
Not only does having a cold as a teenager put you at risk to be abused and neglected by a significant other, but it also puts you at risk to abuse and neglect your child, as well. it's both an interesting and hard fact to face, isn't it?
As you would have guessed, teenage mothers and fathers don't often remain a couple. Often, this can create resentment for a teenage mom for she is usually the one left with all the responsibility. Although resentment is felt toward the father, children typically take the blunt of the vitriol.
In general, being a single mom can have a negative impact on your self-esteem. This can lead to lowering your standard of how a suitable mate should behave. Thus, inviting in abusive and neglectful behavior.
7 Incarcerated Later In Life
You may find it alarming the male children of teenage moms are 13 percent more likely to be incarcerated later in life. How can simply having a very, very young mom set you up for such failure? Well, while statistics are never prophetic, they are based on facts.
To put in the most generic way, teen moms have more challenges and less support. Whether they create it for themselves or not, the truth lies therein.
Simply not graduating high school can mean that your method of income is incredibly limited. Bringing home a small paycheck to support a family means living conditions are most likely less than average. These types of living conditions typically aren't found in great neighborhoods or cities. Being surrounding by negative lifestyles opens the door for your children to follow suit.
This is an extremely generalized way to trace teen moms to prison or jail time, but you can fill in the blanks.
6 Higher Rate Of Infant Mortality
There is absolutely nothing worse than losing a child. It doesn't matter if you are a teenager or not, the death of a baby is heartbreaking.
Stories have been told of teen moms not being able to handle the death of their newborn. Can we blame them? For example, one young girl refused to release her baby's limp body back to the physician. Instead, she held onto her young son for hours and hours. Finally, the medical staff sedated her and properly attended to the infant's body.
Infant mortality is incredibly high in teenage pregnancies. For many reasons, teens tend to have more unhealthy pregnancies than women in their twenties or thirties for instance. This contributes greatly to the mortality rate sky rocketing amongst teens.
5 Underdeveloped Organs
Watching your baby suffer is second on the heartbreaking list right after watching their death. This is what many teenage moms face when giving birth to preemies or simply unhealthy babies. That stats tell us that this is a far too frequent occurrence.
Babies born to teen moms often face much difficulty. Many times, their organs aren't even developed all the way. Some common issues include bleeding in the brain, respiratory problems, and intestinal problems.
It's not out of the question to see a baby hooked up to several machines, unable to be held, even by his or her own mother. Often, there is a feeding tube inserted and a breathing machine nearby. While these problems can haunt any mother and baby, they are especially common in teen moms and their babies.
4 Inadequate Nutrition During Pregnancy
We've already addressed inadequate weight gain due to notorious self-image problems that teens face. It is self evident that when you're not eating you're not getting any nutrition either. Seems like common sense, but it's often overlooked among many pregnancies, teen pregnancies included and at the forefront of this particular statistic.
If you remember, your teen years weren't your healthiest. Most of us had poor eating habits and this was the norm. It wasn't out of the question for a teenager to eat an entire pizza for dinner or even go the other direction and eat a bag of popcorn then cookie dough for desert. Chugging it all down with a Mountain Dew, no doubt.
This kind of diet isn't exactly conducive to baby growing, if you will. In addition, most expecting teenage don't take prenatal vitamins. So basically, nutrition is forgotten in the lives of the typical pregnant teen.
3 Substance Abuse
We are all faced with the temptation to partake of things like alcohol, smoking, and even illegal (and sometimes prescribed) drugs. They're often offered to us a the worst times when we could use a little reprieve from the stress of life. Possessing the fortitude to resist such temptation is necessary to lead a healthy life.
Unfortunately, the most vulnerable time in a person's life include adolescence and early twenties. In other words, this is known as the "young and dumb" era.
When you're growing another man and responsible for that life you don't have the luxury to use your own body as a blank canvas for whatever you want. When you are pregnant, you body transforms into a safe haven.
Sadly, many teen moms don't understand this fact. Teen moms, more than any other age group, are prone to substance abuse. You can imagine how this effects an unborn child.
2 Girls Become Teen Moms Themselves
Much like the negative impact the boys face, female babies of teen moms are 22 percent more likely to become teen moms themselves. If you haven't noticed by now, negative cycles are hard to break. Once the cycle starts rolling, generation after generation follows a similar path.
This probably isn't what most teen moms expect when they find out they're pregnant. The sad fact is that these kids (moms and babies) get stuck. Being a mom before you can even independently provide for yourself doesn't set you up to sufficiently provide for anyone else.
The adult attention a teen mom's child needs is basically similar attention to what the actual teen mom needs herself. The resources are limited and teen moms do what they can, but usually it's not enough to stop their own daughters from spiralling down into the same rut from which they were raised.
1 Live In Poverty
Like already mentioned that most teen moms don't graduate high school. Although, many people will no high school diploma can idolize the few millionaires and actors/actresses who were high school drop-outs. The truth is that things don't usually turn out for the best when you ditch such a valuable tool.
Again, this is not to say that teenage mothers who drop out of school are going to fail at life. This IS to say that dropping out will make it that much harder to succeed.
Teen mothers who do drop out of school and can't land or keep a decent job typically living in poverty. Without a significant lifestyle change, digging your way out of poverty and its cruel cycle is incredibly difficult.
Sources: Cdc.gov, Healthychildren.org, Webmd.com, Livestrong.com