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Less than one third of teenage mothers receive any form of child support, vastly increasing the likelihood of turning to the government for assistance.
Professor John Ermisch at the institute of social and economic research at Essex University and Dr Roger Ingham, director of the centre of sexual health at Southampton University – found that comparing teenage mothers with other girls with similarly deprived social-economic profiles, bad school experiences and low educational aspirations, the difference in their respective life chances was negligible.
Teenage pregnancy in developed countries is usually outside of marriage, and carries a social stigma in many communities and cultures.
By contrast, teenage parents in developing countries are often married, and their pregnancies welcomed by family and society.
Risks of low birth weight, premature labor, anemia, and pre-eclampsia are connected to the biological age, being observed in teen births even after controlling for other risk factors (such as accessing prenatal care etc.).
In developed countries, teenage pregnancies are associated with social issues, including lower educational levels, poverty, and other negative life outcomes in children of teenage mothers.
This approach should include “providing age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education for all young people, investing in girls’ education, preventing child marriage, sexual violence and coercion, building gender-equitable societies by empowering girls and engaging men and boys and ensuring adolescents’ access to sexual and reproductive health information as well as services that welcome them and facilitate their choices.” In the United States one third of high school students reported being sexually active.
This means not focusing on changing the behaviour of girls but addressing the underlying reasons of adolescent pregnancy such as poverty, gender inequality, social pressures and coercion.
The children of teen mothers are more likely to be born prematurely with a low birth weight, predisposing them to many other lifelong conditions.
One study suggested that adolescent mothers are less likely to stimulate their infant through affectionate behaviors such as touch, smiling, and verbal communication, or to be sensitive and accepting toward his or her needs.
However, in these societies, early pregnancy may combine with malnutrition and poor health care to cause medical problems.
When used in combination, educational interventions and promotion of birth control can reduce the risk of unintended teenage pregnancies.
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Teenage motherhood may actually make economic sense for young women with less money, some research suggests.