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A Proven Link between Teenage Pregnancy and Premature Babies
Teenagers who get pregnant are more likely to have premature babies or have smaller size babies than women in their 20s, stated an Irish research team. In England a study of over 50,000 women found that those aged 14 to 17 also have a greater chance of premature births if they had a second child. Teenagers under 17 were 21% more likely to give birth prematurely in the first pregnancy, and 93% more likely in the second one. A link was also found between younger mothers and their babies with low birth weight. The study was conducted over a two-year period, and included all women between the ages of 14 and 29, who had given birth in north-west England. 3,600 of them were between the ages of 14 and 17. Over a third of them were from areas considered to be socially deprived. The study also discovered that teenage mothers are more likely to be underweight.
Moreover, babies of teenage mothers have been found to have a greater chance of death in their first year than babies of women who are in their twenties and thirties. The highest risk is considered to be for babies of mothers who are younger than 15. Babies who were born prematurly and have low birth weight may have organs, which have not developed fully. This can lead to issues with breathing, such as the Respiratory Distress Syndrome, loss of vision, bleeding in the brain, and serious intestinal problems. Babies who wiegh less than 3 1/3 pounds – a very low birth weight – are more than a hundred times as likely to die in their first year than normal-weight babies. Babies between 3 1/3 and 5½ pounds – considered moderately low-birthweight – are more than five times as likely to die. .
A researcher at the University College Cork in the Republic of Ireland, Dr Ali Khashan, said that the risk of young teenagers having premature babies might be related to “biological immaturity”. He also said that the increased risk of a negative outcome in the second teenage pregnancy might be connected with various complicating factors, examples of which include social deprivation and decreased prenatal care. Professor Louise Kenny, who is also a gynaecologist, a consultant obstetrician, and a study leader at Cork University Maternity Hospital, said more research needed to be conducted in order to learn the exact cause of teenage girls giving birth prematurely. She found that one major issue was that teenage mothers generally turn to health services later in the pregnancy than older mothers normally would, and therefore are more likely to miss important check-ups. She also said that it is not clear why the risk is highest in the second teenage pregnancy. It is possible that the physical and psychosocial demand of another teenage pregnancy increases the pre-existing risk factors. She added that post-natal follow-ups are extremely important, as well as adequate counselling about different kinds of teenage contraception.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists spokesman, Professor Steve Thornton, said he suspected that behind the findings there were various complex behavioural and social reasons. He added that there was a nice and clear message that it is even more important that pregnant teenagers go for their antenatal checks to make sure everything is OK with the pregnancy. During pregnancy teenagers needed to have proper medical checks and more needs to be done for the promotion of contraception for teenagers who have already had a baby.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Birth Control28 Jul 2010|