Teen pregnancy: Medical risks and realities
Pregnant teens and their unborn babies have unique medical risks. Lack of prenatal care
Teenage girls who are pregnant -- especially if they don't have support from their parents -- are at risk of not getting adequate prenatal care. Prenatal care is critical, especially in the first months of pregnancy. Prenatal care screens for medical problems in both mother and baby, monitors the baby's growth, and deals quickly with any complications that arise. Prenatal vitamins with folic acid -- ideally takenbefore getting pregnant -- are essential in helping to help prevent certain birth defects, such as neural tube defects. High blood pressure
Pregnant teens have a higher risk of getting high blood pressure -- called pregnancy-induced hypertension -- than pregnant women in their 20s or 30s. They also have a higher risk of preeclampsia. This is a dangerous medical condition that combines high blood pressure with excess protein in the urine, swelling of a mother's hands and face, and organ damage. Low-birth-weight baby
Teens are at higher risk of having low-birth-weight babies. Premature babies are more likely to weigh less than they should. In part, that’s because they've had less time in the womb to grow. A low-birth-weight baby weighs only 3.3 to 5.5 pounds (1,500 to 2,500 grams). A very-low-birth-weight baby weighs less than 3.3 pounds. Babies that small may need to be put on a ventilator in a hospital's neonatal care unit for help with breathing after birth. STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
For teens who have sex during pregnancy, STDs such as chlamydia and HIV are a major concern. Using a latex condom during intercourse may help prevent STDs, which can infect the uterus and growing baby. Postpartum depression
Pregnant teens may be at higher risk of postpartum depression (depression that starts after delivering a baby), according to the CDC. Girls who feel down and sad, either while pregnant or after the birth,...
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