According to new data from the CDC, teen pregnancy rates have reached all-time lows, dropping more than 44% from 1991 to 2010. While teen pregnancy may be on the decline, it’s far from being a non-issue in America. Why? Teen pregnancy costs an estimated $10.9 billion annually and often carries an elevated risk for both mothers and babies. Add to that the fact that the rate of teen pregnancy in America is nine times higher than that of any other developed country, despite the massive drop, and you can see why teen pregnancy isn’t an issue that’s going away anytime soon.
While many teen mothers manage to raise happy, healthy children, the outcome for many others isn’t as bright. Numerous studies have shed light on the risks, both social and physical, that come along with teen pregnancy and the results are very often quite disheartening. Things aren’t always so cut and dried, however, and as you read through this list of effects of teen pregnancy, keep in mind that many of these outcomes are not only a product of teen pregnancy but result from a combination of poverty, lack of education, and other factors that may be out of the control of these young women.
While these facts can’t be ignored, it’s also important to remember that while teen mothers struggle in a number of ways, often poor outcomes from their pregnancies are the result of more than just their age. The best way to help young mothers and to break the cycle of teen pregnancies may be to focus on reducing many of the hurdles caused by the socioeconomic factors that hold young mothers back rather than to focus solely on preventing teen pregnancies in the first place.
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