Health Risks for the Newborn
Infants born to teenage mothers are prone to accidental injury, poisoning, complications due to prematurity, learning disabilities, brain injuries, minor severe infections, or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The child usually has a weight less than the ideal and premature birth rates are prevalent among adolescent mothers.
Health Risks for the Mother
Given that an adolescent may not have fully developed her physical structure, problems in delivering the child may arise as caused by an underdeveloped pelvis. Early detection of a cephalopelvic disproportion is an indication for a scheduled cesarean birth. However this is a surgical procedure that may also put the life of the mother in danger for too much blood loss. Other complications that might be encountered by an adolescent mother upon childbirth is eclampsia, obstetric fistula or maternal death.
The absence of prenatal care and knowledge deficit with regards to psychological and physiologic changes of pregnancy results to varied complications and increases the health risks to a higher level. The teenage mothers do not know what to expect and therefore they do not know what proper behavior and precautions to make. Usually, these adolescents have poor eating habits and have no vitamin intake. They may even smoke, drink and take illegal drugs.
Statistical data of adolescent mothers who had a baby whose weight is lower than the ideal have been reported in the year 2002. 9.6% belongs in the age bracket of 15-19 years old, and 11.3% belongs in the age bracket of 15 years old alone. On the other hand, mothers who gave birth to babies weighing less than 5.5 pounds were 7.8% of the total population of women who gave birth in the same year.
In the year 2002 with regards to prenatal care, it is reported that 6.6% of mothers with ages 15-19 years old had no prenatal care and 3.6% of the total population of mothers have no record of any prenatal visits.
Other complications that a teenage mother might encounter are blood disorder such as leukemia and blood pressure that rises to an abnormally high level which could result to maternal death. And the incidence rate is higher on adolescents who are 15 years of age than on mothers with complications who belong to the age bracket of 20-24.
Within the annual report of 12 million people who are affected of sexually transmitted disease, 25% are young adolescents. When a mother with sexually transmitted disease (STD) gives birth to a child, several complications could arise such as blindness. But specifically death to the newborn and the mother may be brought about by syphilis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).