In 2017, nearly 200,000 babies were born to teenage mothers. Teenage pregnancies can be incredibly stressful, and the majority of them are unplanned. The experience thrusts a teenage woman into the position of independent adult now responsible for another human life. Many struggle in school as a result, with only around half of teenage mothers receiving a high school diploma by age 22.
In the past decade, the rate of teenage pregnancy (for girls and women ages 15 to 19 years old) in the United States has reached a record low. This decrease has been seen across racial and ethnic groups. However, racial and ethnic disparities remain apparent among teenage pregnancies, with the pregnancy rate among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black teenagers more than twice that of non-Hispanic white teenagers.
Teenage pregnancies involve an immense amount of added stress, and they can often contribute to higher rates of mental health conditions. Teenage mothers are twice as likely to experience postpartum depressioncompared to adult mothers. These teenagers also have higher rates of suicidal thoughts and are more likely to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
At North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, our Good Beginnings for Babies program provides support, counseling, and advocacy for pregnant and parenting teens at the Leeds Place – Serving Young People, our Westbury office. For more information about our services, please call us at 516-626-1971.