There are obviously many health risks and concerns for the young mother and child during the pregnancy. The teenage mother’s birthing canal is often not fully developed, thus there can be difficulties with a vaginal birth.
The child can often be underweight at birth. Recent research is showing that about one million babies die annually that are born to adolescent mothers. Aside from the health risks, kids born to teen mothers are at greater risk for emotional and physical abuse, especially if there is no family support. Premature birth and low birth weight create a wealth of their own problems, including brain damage, physical disabilities and more. The potentially lengthy hospital stay and increased risk of health problems for these babies leads to more stress on the teen mother.
Teenage mothers are at a higher risk of having emotional and academic problems later in life. Boys born to teenage mothers are likely to become incarcerated later in life. Girls born to teenage mothers are likely to become teenage mothers themselves.
There are a number of research sites that say the birthrate for U.S. teenagers has been declining and is said to be the lowest in history and then there are those that say the birthrate for U.S. teenagers is increasing dramatically. Obviously there is still debate in this area of teenage pregnancy. There is one area of concern that is consistent saying that the number of teenagers still having babies everyday in the U.S. is near 1,000. The U.S. still has the highest number of teen pregnancies in industrialized countries according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The estimated public cost for teenage pregnancy in the United States is between $6 and $9 billion a year. Eighty percent of teen moms are on some form of public assistance. Seven out of 10 teen mothers are unlikely to receive prenatal care, which of course has great negative health impacts for their children.
President Obama signed a federal appropriations bill in 2009 to fund the new Office of Adolescent Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was supported with more than $114 million in federal funds. Of the $114 million, $75 million will go toward replicating pregnancy prevention programs.
There seems to be a correlation to rankings to states poverty and teenage pregnancy rates. Mississippi, for example, has the nation’s highest rate of poverty and the third highest rate of teen pregnancies. New Mexico is third in poverty and second in teen pregnancies. Texas leads in teenage pregnancies and comes in ninth in the poverty rankings.