Most teenagers don’t plan to have a baby. However, a reported 3 in 10 American girls will welcome a child into the world before 20 years old. While every baby is a gift, it is undeniable that both pregnancy and motherhood can prove challenging for teen girls.
Without a doubt, they will rely on their loved ones now more than ever to help them navigate this confusing time and provide their baby with the best start in life. To do so, you may need to identify the potential problems they may need to overcome. Here are four challenges many young mothers may face.
- Social Stigma
Many people may judge a teen for having a baby at such a young age. Unfortunately, this can add to the pressure they may already feel during pregnancy and motherhood. For this reason, teenage mothers will need the love and support of their relatives now more than ever. With the help of experienced adults, a teen can feel more confident in their parenting ability and may even flourish at high school and beyond.
- Academic Disadvantages
According to the CDC, only 50% of teen moms will earn a high school diploma by 22 years old; however, 90% of teens who don’t have a baby during their teen years will graduate. A lack of support from the education system might make it easy for teen mothers to drop out. If possible, a teenager’s parents should try to provide the help they need to finish high school and earn their diploma, which can provide both their daughter and grandchild with a great start in life.
Teen moms will often experience a significant level of stress from pregnancy through to motherhood. In addition to struggling with the social stigma, they might fear motherhood, worry about their education, and feel as if they have disappointed their parents.
As a result, there are high rates of both depression and postpartum depression for teenage mothers. Therefore, a teen’s parents or guardian must look for signs of the mental health disorder, such as:
- Sleeping difficulties
- Irritability or angry outbursts
- Unhealthy behaviors
- Poor self-esteem
- A lack of motivation
If your child displays any of the above symptoms, they may be living with a mental health disorder, which will require diagnosis and treatment. An outpatient treatment center can provide depression treatment for teenagers, such as counseling and therapy.
- Health Risks
According to the World Health Organization, adolescent mothers, those between the ages of 10 to 19 years old, will have a higher risk of various health issues during and after pregnancy, such as:
- Puerperal endometriosis
- Systemic infections
It’s believed young mothers will have a higher risk of the above compared to those between 20 to 24 years old. What’s more, their baby is more likely to have a pre-term delivery, a low birth weight, and neonatal conditions.
Adolescent mothers will require extra care both during and after pregnancy. Also, like every mother-to-be, they must take a daily prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid, calcium, iron, and other nutrients.