Why Teen Mom Reality TV is a Bad Idea

Young mom
Creative Commons License photo credit: kevin dooley

Let’s face it: there’s something goofed up about a culture that takes a teenage mother and puts her life on display for everyone to gawk at. Even rumors that a teen mom is pregnant again make the news. While we’re not judging teen mothers, suggesting they’re bad people or that they shouldn’t enjoy all of the rights and dignity that everyone else deserves, there are some medical facts that make teen pregnancy a bad thing.

Here are some basic facts about teenage motherhood and teen pregnancy that you need to know:

  • Teenage pregnancy rates had been falling up until 2007. Between the years of 1990 and 2005, teen pregnancy rates fell by around 40%.
  • In 2006 and 2007, teen pregnancy increased. The rate rose by about 5 percent, marking the first increase since 1990.
  • Today, about 30% of teenage girls will get pregnant at least once before they turn 20.
  • 25% of teen moms under the age of 18 will have another baby within the first two years of giving birth to their first one.
  • Teenage moms are more likely that moms that are over 20 to give birth to a baby prematurely. Preterm birth rates for teenage mothers are about 14.5%, while preterm birth rates for women over the age of 20 are 11.9%.
  • Babies that are born prematurely face a number of potential problems over the course of their lives.
  • Teen moms are more likely to smoke during pregnancy than other moms. 17% of teen moms in one recent study smoked, while only 10% of moms between the age of 25 and 34 smoked.
  • Smoking during pregnancy creates a number of health risks for the baby, and a number of potential problems with the pregnancy.
  • Teen moms are less likely to seek early and regularly scheduled prenatal care. An average of 7.1% receive no prenatal care or late prenatal care, whereas the average for all women is 3.7%.
  • Teen moms have greater risks of pregnancy complications, high blood pressure, and more. The risks are especially high for teen moms under the age of 15.

Education is the key. Helping our teenagers to understand the risks posed by becoming a mother this early is essential to fixing some of these potential problems.


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