Health Risks of Teenage Pregnancy

For many young moms, pregnancy can be unplanned and extremely challenging. When you’re pregnant and a teen it can even more difficult, especially in terms of your studies and finances. Having a baby can also cause distress during pregnancy because being younger means you and your baby are more at risk of health issues. Here are some risks associated with being a teen mom:

Postpartum depression

As a teen mom, you’re more at risk of getting postpartum depression (also known as post-natal depression) than an adult mother. Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that sometimes affects new mothers, and can start any time within the first year after giving birth. Some of the symptoms of postpartum depression are sadness, difficulty sleeping and anxiety. Post-natal depression can be quite severe and needs treatment – read more about it here.

For more info read: Dealing with an unplanned pregnancy


Anemia is a condition where you have an abnormally low level of red blood cells. It’s most commonly related to having an iron deficiency. When you’re a young mother you’re more at risk of it because your body already needs a lot of iron for your growing body and so it doesn’t produce enough iron to sustain you and your baby. Having anemia can not only affect you, but your baby as well. Anemia can cause problems during pregnancy which can result in difficulty during labour and can also result in premature birth. Speak to your healthcare provider about anemia to find out if you are at risk.

Premature Birth

Compared to mothers who give birth in their 20’s or 30’s, teen mothers are more likely to give birth to babies prematurely (more than 3 weeks before the baby is actually due). Premature babies face health risks such as immature lungs, difficulty regulating body temperature, difficulty with feeding and slow weight gain.

Low birth weight

Teen moms are also more likely to give birth to babies who are underweight. Underweight babies are also at risk of health issues that affect their lungs, heart and brain.

If you’re really young and have been thinking about having a baby, these risks are something that you really need to consider Choma. It’s part of the reason you should wait before having unprotected sex, because pregnancy can be especially difficult for teen moms.

If you’re already pregnant Choma, everything I mentioned above can sound really scary. Although these are the risks, it doesn’t mean that you will definitely go though them. Speak to a healthcare provider who should be able to guide you through it. Also read these articles for more information on help and support, because pregnancy is something you shouldn’t go through alone.

Pregnant and in School

Finding Support as a Teen Mom

Also, if you have an opinion you want to voice around the issue of teen pregnancy, you can make your noise here.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)