15 Consequences of Teenage Pregnancy on The Parents

How teenage pregnancy affects a teen mother’s life?

Pregnant adolescent are at higher risk to get mental health problems such as depression, intense stress and pressure to become parents. They are faced with a lack of support from family and community that will lead to depression, making wrong decisions and abusing drugs.

Pregnant adolescent are at higher risk to get mental health problems such as depression, intense stress and pressure to become parents. They are faced with a lack of support from family and community that will lead to depression, making wrong decisions and abusing drugs.

Teenage pregnancy is a big challenge for both parents, especially the mother. They are faced with increased risk of depression and mental health problems, lack of support and other social problems that can lead to drug abuse.

Teenage pregnancy has devastating consequences for both the teen and the child. The teen mother is faced with problems like lack of maturity, financial responsibility and conflict with parents. These all lead to low self-esteem and depression, which in turn lead to substance abuse and worse scenarios like dropping out of school and getting involved in crime and violence.

One of the most profound negative consequences of teen pregnancy on teens is the emotional and mental stress that they face. The teen mothers need to go through emotional ups and downs while they are coping with the physical changes, hormonal changes, limitations on their education and jobs plus have to deal with caring for a baby all alone.

Consequences of Teenage Pregnancy on the Parents and Individual

  • Approximately 12 million girls aged 15–19 years and at least 777,000 girls under 15 years give birth each year in developing regions. (1) (2)
  • At least 10 million unintended pregnancies occur each year among adolescent girls aged 15–19 years in the developing world. (1)
  • Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15–19-year-old girls globally. (3)
  • Of the estimated 5.6 million abortions that occur each year among adolescent girls aged 15–19 years, 3.9 million are unsafe, contributing to maternal mortality, morbidity and lasting health problems.(1)
  • Adolescent mothers (ages 10–19 years) face higher risks of eclampsia, puerperal endometritis, and systemic infections than women aged 20 to 24 years, and babies of adolescent mothers face higher risks of low birth weight, preterm delivery and severe neonatal conditions. (4)

Scope of the problem

Every year, an estimated 21 million girls aged 15–19 years in developing regions become pregnant and approximately 12 million of them give birth.1 At least 777,000 births occur to adolescent girls younger than 15 years in developing countries. 2

The estimated global adolescent-specific fertility rate has declined by 11.6% over the past 20 years.5 There are, however, big differences in rates across the regions. The adolescent fertility rate in East Asia, for example, is 7.1 whereas the corresponding rate in Central Africa is 129.5.5

There are also enormous variations within regions. In 2018, the overall adolescent fertility rate in South-East Asia was 33.6 Rates, however, ranged from 0.3 in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to 83 in Bangladesh.5

And even within countries there are enormous variations. In Ethiopia, for example the total fertility rate ranges from 1.8 in Addis Ababa to 7.2 in the Somali region with the percentage of women aged 15-19 who have begun childbearing ranging from 3% in Addis Ababa to 23% in the Affar region.7

While the estimated global adolescent fertility rate has declined, the actual number of child births to adolescents has not, due to the large – and in some parts of the world, growing – population of young women in the 15–19 age group.8 The largest number of births occur in Eastern Asia (95,153) and Western Africa (70,423).9


Adolescent pregnancies are a global problem occurring in high-, middle-, and low-income countries. Around the world, however, adolescent pregnancies are more likely to occur in marginalized communities, commonly driven by poverty and lack of education and employment opportunities.10

Several factors contribute to adolescent pregnancies and births. In many societies, girls are under pressure to marry and bear children early.11,12,13 In least developed countries, at least 39% of girls marry before they are 18 years of age and 12% before the age of 15.14 In many places girls choose to become pregnant because they have limited educational and employment prospects. Often, in such societies, motherhood is valued and marriage or union and childbearing may be the best of the limited options available.12

Adolescents who may want to avoid pregnancies may not be able to do so due to knowledge gaps and misconceptions on where to obtain contraceptive methods and how to use them.15 Adolescents face barriers to accessing contraception including restrictive laws and policies regarding provision of contraceptive based on age or marital status, health worker bias and/or lack of willingness to acknowledge adolescents’ sexual health needs, and adolescents’ own inability to access contraceptives because of knowledge, transportation, and financial constraints. Additionally, adolescents may lack the agency or autonomy to ensure the correct and consistent use of a contraceptive method.  At least 10 million unintended pregnancies occur each year among adolescent girls aged 15-19 years in developing regions.1

An additional cause of unintended pregnancy is sexual violence, which is widespread with more than a third of girls in some countries reporting that their first sexual encounter was coerced.16

Health consequences

Early pregnancies among adolescents have major health consequences for adolescent mothers and their babies. Pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15–19 years globally, with low- and middle-income countries accounting for 99% of global maternal deaths of women aged 15–49 years.3 Adolescent mothers aged 10–19 years face higher risks of eclampsia, puerperal endometritis and systemic infections than women aged 20–24 years. 4 Additionally, some 3.9 million unsafe abortions among girls aged 15–19 years occur each year, contributing to maternal mortality, morbidity and lasting health problems.1

Early childbearing can increase risks for newborns as well as young mothers. Babies born to mothers under 20 years of age face higher risks of low birth weight, preterm delivery and severe neonatal conditions.4 In some settings, rapid repeat pregnancy is a concern for young mothers, as it presents further health risks for both the mother and the child.17

Social and economic consequences

Social consequences for unmarried pregnant adolescents may include stigma, rejection or violence by partners, parents and peers. Girls who become pregnant before the age of 18 years are more likely to experience violence within a marriage or partnership.16 Adolescent pregnancy and childbearing often leads girls to drop out of school, although efforts are underway is some place to enable them to return to school after child birth, this may well jeopardize girls’ future education and employment opportunities.19

WHO response

During the early part of the Millennium Development Goals era, prevention of adolescent pregnancy and related mortality and morbidity and prevention of HIV and HIV related mortality in adolescents and young people were not given sufficient attention due to competing priorities.20 During this period, WHO worked with partners to advocate for attention to adolescents, to build the evidence and epidemiologic base for action such as “WHO’s Guidelines for preventing early pregnancy and poor reproductive outcomes in adolescents in developing countries”,21 to develop and test programme support tools, to build capacity, and to pilot initiatives in the small but growing number of countries that recognised the need to address adolescent health. As the world has transitioned to the Sustainable Development Goals era, adolescents have moved to the centre of the global health and development agenda.21

While WHO continues its work on advocacy, evidence generation, tool development and capacity building, the focus has shifted to strengthening country-level action. WHO works closely with partners within and outside the United Nations system to contribute to the global effort to prevent children becoming wives and mothers. WHO works to strengthen the evidence base for action, and to support the application of the evidence through well-designed and well-executed national and subnational programmes. For example, WHO works closely with the UNICEF, UNFPA and UNWomen on a global programme to accelerate action to end child marriage.22 It also collaborates with Family Planning 2020 ─ a global partnership working to enable 120 million more women and girls access contraceptives by 2020.

Nongovernmental organizations have been at forefront of efforts to prevent adolescent pregnancy in many countries through bold and innovative projects. There is now a small but growing number of successful government-led national programmes e.g. in Chile, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom.23 These countries show what can been achieved with the application of good science combined with strong leadership, management, and perseverance. They challenge and inspire other countries to do what is doable and what urgently needs to be done – now.


(1) Darroch J, Woog V, Bankole A, Ashford LS. Adding it up: Costs and benefits of meeting the contraceptive needs of adolescents. New York: Guttmacher Institute; 2016.

(2) UNFPA. Girlhood, not motherhood: Preventing adolescent pregnancy. New York: UNFPA; 2015.

(3) Neal S, Matthews Z, Frost M, et al. Childbearing in adolescents aged 12–15 years in low resource countries: a neglected issue. New estimates from demographic and household surveys in 42 countries. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2012;91: 1114–18. Every Woman Every Child. The Global Strategy for Women`s, Children`s and Adolescents` Health (2016-2030). Geneva: Every Woman Every Child, 2015.

(4) WHO. Global health estimates 2015: deaths by cause, age, sex, by country and by region, 2000–2015. Geneva: WHO; 2016.

(5) Ganchimeg T, et al. Pregnancy and childbirth outcomes among adolescent mothers: a World Health Organization multicountry study. Bjog. 2014;121(S Suppl 1):40-8.

(6) UN DESA, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, DVD Edition. New York: UN DESA; 2017.UNDESA, Population Division. World Population Prospects, the 2015 Revision (DVD edition). New York: UNDESA, Population Division, 2015.

(7) UNFPA. Adolescent pregnancy: A review of the evidence. New York: UNFPA, 2013.

(8) UN DESA, Statistics Division. SDG Indicators: Global Database. New York: UN DESA: 2017.

(9) Every Woman Every Child. The Global Strategy for Women`s, Children`s and Adolescents` Health (2016-2030). Geneva: Every Woman Every Child; 2015.

(10) UNICEF. Ending child marriage: Progress and prospects. New York: UNICEF, 2013

(11) WHO. Global and regional estimates on violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. Geneva: WHO; 2013.

(12) WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division. Trends in maternal mortality: 1990 to 2015: Estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division. Geneva: WHO; 2015. Filippi V, Chou D, Ronsmans C, et al. Levels and Causes of Maternal Mortality and Morbidity. In: Black RE, Laxminarayan R, Temmerman M, et al., editors. Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health: Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition (Volume 2). Washington (DC): The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank; 2016 Apr 5. Chapter 3.

(13) Kozuki N, Lee A, Silveira M, et al. The associations of birth intervals with small-for-gestational-age, preterm, and neonatal and infant mortality: A meta-analysis. BMC Public Health 2013;13(Suppl. 3):S3.

(14) World Bank. Economic impacts of child marriage: Global synthesis report. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2017.

(15) WHO. Preventing early pregnancy and poor reproductive outcomes among adolescents in developing countries. Geneva: WHO; 2011.

(16) Raj A, Boehmer U. Girl child marriage and its association with national rates of HIV, maternal health, and infant mortality across 97 countries. Violence Against Women 2013;19(4).

(17) WHO. Making health services adolescent friendly: Developing national quality standards for adolescent friendly health services. Geneva: WHO; 2012.

(18) WHO. Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!): Guidance to support country implementation. Geneva: WHO; 2017.

(19) WHO. Global standards for quality health care services for adolescents. Geneva: WHO; 2015.

(20) WHO. Core competencies in adolescent health and development for primary care providers: including a tool to assess the adolescent health and development component in pre-service education of health-care providers. Geneva: WHO; 2015.

(21) UNESCO. International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education: An evidence-informed approach for schools, teachers and health educators. Paris: UNESCO; 2009.

(22) UNESCO. Early and Unintended Pregnancy & the Education Sector: Evidence Review and Recommendations. Paris: UNESCO; 2017.

(23) United Nations General Assembly. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015: Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. New York: United Nations; 2015.

What are The Causes and Consequences of Teenage Pregnancy

While conceiving at an early age affects an adolescent’s physical and mental health, the effects of teenage pregnancy on society are also dire. An unmarried, pregnant teenager can face social discrimination, and they may often not get the support they need to complete their studies, get a job, and resettle in society.

Social isolation and poverty make them vulnerable to risky behaviors, which in turn can affect society by laying a financial burden on the government that needs to invest in the rehabilitation and welfare of teenage mothers and their babies.

Read on to know more about how teenage pregnancy affects society and some teenage pregnancy facts that parents and teenagers should know.

Effects Of Teenage Pregnancy On Society:

Our society relies on moral beliefs, ethics, and human etiquettes. And unfortunately, teenage pregnancy is viewed as taboo. Society, as progressive as it wants to be, cannot embrace the concept of a pregnant teen mother.

And, here we look at some of the negative effects of teenage pregnancy on society:

1. Illiteracy:

  • Teenagers getting pregnant at an early age cannot pursue their higher education due to extra responsibility, which increases the rate of literacy in society.
  • The education of the teen mother remains on hold during pregnancy, and some teens even decide to drop out of their high school and find a job to supplement themselves.
  • Teens who plan to attend college have to bear taunts, acidic remarks, and arrogant discourses from their peers about their pregnancy and baby. In such circumstances, teen moms decide to focus on the baby or plan to get married rather than pursuing a higher education.
  • Researchers conclude that most teenage pregnancies end with education dropouts because of the fear of embarrassment, humiliation, and harassment from the fellow friends and college mates.
  • Teenage pregnancy statistics states that only one-third of teen moms can even acquire the high school diploma, and a few also get a college degree.

2. Loss Of Government Revenue:

  • In most developing nations, governments plan welfare schemes to take adequate care of teen mothers and their dependent children. As the low-qualified mother cannot get a good job, she completely depends on such welfare schemes to overcome the impending financial distress.
  • In the United States, the annual expenses to fund the teenage pregnancies cost around $7 billion. The government has to spend money on public assistance, child health care, and foster care, to facilitate proper upbringing of the child.
  • Teen mothers do not have to pay the taxes, and the government has to face a huge loss of revenue.

3. Social Obligations:

  • A teenage mother has to face several social obligations like not getting a good job, not getting respect from friends and family members.
  • The entire social life of the teen mother gets ruined due to her early and unexpected pregnancy, and she has to spend her life in emotional trauma.

4. Lack Of Financial Support:

  • A teen mother who does not get proper financial support from her parents or friends has to face a severe financial crunch.
  • She has to face extreme difficulty to buy basic items for her newborn baby like, clothing and baby care products.

5. Increased Risk Of Destitution:

  • As teenage pregnancy hinders the mom from pursuing higher education and acquiring basic qualifications, she lands up in a poorly paid job.
  • In most cases, the biological father abandons the teen mom, and the baby becomes her sole responsibility. Hence, the mother ends up living in poverty and running the risk of imminent destitution.
  • Teenage pregnancy increases the risk of spending the entire life in poverty for both the teen parents and the baby. As fewer teen mom attain proper educational degrees and qualifications, they cannot find suitable and well-paid jobs to improve their financial position.
  • Teenage pregnancy is most of the time linked to the lower annual income of the mother. As a result, 80% of teen mothers have to rely on social welfare schemes planned by the nation.

6. Medical Complications:

  • Teenage pregnancy increases the risks of medical complications in both the mother and her baby.
  • A lack of proper prenatal care often induces medical complications like high blood pressure, anemia, and premature birth of the baby.
  • Although advisable, it isn’t always possible for the teen mother to go for regular prenatal checkups, which increase the risk of medical conditions.
  • Moreover, teen pregnancy increases the likelihood of medical complications in the baby, and he may suffer from low birth-weight, blindness, deafness and respiratory problems.

7. Emotional Crisis:

  • After getting pregnancy at an early age, the teen mother may suffer from huge emotional crisis due to lack of social support from family.
  • Severe emotional and mental breakdown triggers the onset of evil behavior like suicide attempts or attempting to self-abort the baby.
  • The teen mother experiences severe depression while facing the negative feedback about the pregnancy from the society.

8. Substance Abuse:

  • Substances are a good way to adjust reality and soften the blow. Society can be cruel, and it often drives teen moms over the edge. It is not surprising that such women turn to substances to quell the ongoing negativity.
  • Studies conclude that teenage pregnancy directly affects teenage drug addiction rates.

9. Work Harder Than Others:

  • For those of you who think parenting is a task, imagine having to do it all alone, with no support and no one to talk with! Teen moms face several consequences.
  • However, the reality is that they have to work harder than others. The poor literacy rates and a lack of education make it harder to support the child.

10. Bad Reputation In Society:

  • Society usually considers teenage pregnancy a social dilemma and young parents have to face huge humiliation and negative remarks from people.
  • Teenage pregnancy is a viewed as social stigma and teen parents have to bear bad reputation as the society treats them as outcasts and strangers.

11. Higher Suicide Rates:

  • Teenage moms are more prone to committing suicides, as the humiliations and embarrassment, and the lack of social support can trigger depression.
  • Emotional stress, financial crisis, and societal alienation are some of the main contributing factors that trigger suicide among teen mothers.
  • A good support system is extremely crucial for the young mother, to help rid her of suicidal thoughts (1).

Shocking Facts About Teenage Pregnancy:

Here are some of the most alarming facts about teenage pregnancy:

  • Most teens get pregnant due to unprotected sexual intercourse, a lack of maturity and a lack of personal responsibility.
  • A lack of proper sex education, the stigmatizing of sex, and many other societal rules contribute directly or indirectly to teen pregnancy. It is important to garner information from a reliable source, and not blindly follow the internet or Reddit. Teens should speak to their physicians about sex and pregnancy.
  • 40% of teen mothers are unable to pursue higher education and cannot offer their child a strong financial ground.
  • For a teenage mother, it may take a relatively longer time span to attain a stable living, and the child has to suffer the negative consequences.
  • Most young fathers hesitate to commit to the teen mother and moms have to raise the child alone.
  • Taking responsibility for the child is a huge burden itself, and the teen mother has to face several negative consequences like financial distress, no committed partner, lack of education or good job and no permanent house. All these consequences of teenage pregnancy on society make life more difficult for the mother and her baby.
  • Teenage parents often have to face negative judgment from their family and friends and have to face discrimination from society. It makes life more miserable for the teen, as she cannot handle society.
  • Having a child at a young age, does not stop either of the young parents from fulfilling their dreams or attaining success in life. However, the things become more difficult because of the extra responsibility of taking care of the baby.
  • Almost all teen pregnancies, around 80%, are unplanned and unexpected. A lack of sex education and contraception is the main reason for it.
  • Over a quarter of pregnant teens choose abortion to get rid of their hardships and social implications of teenage pregnancy on society.
  • As compared to other developed nations, the United States has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy, parenthood, and abortion.
  • Teenage pregnancy imposes several pregnancy complexities like anemia, hypertension, toxemia, premature delivery and placenta Previa (2).

Teenage pregnancy is linked to several apprehensions and objections. One of the reasons is that there are some adverse effects of teen pregnancy on society, including increasing the burden on various family members of the teen to raise the teen and their child. Hence, you should aim to follow practical measures to prevent teenage pregnancy by promoting proper sex education and abstinence in the young generation.

Prompt guidance is essential to aid your teen in leading a successful life and not being prone to commit mistakes in their impressionable years. Also, parents must instill the right set of values and morals in their children to help them make appropriate life decisions.

Altogether, it is the equal responsibility of the parents and the society to teach and guide teenagers towards the right paths, rather than merely passing negative comments and demotivating them.

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