Unwanted Teenage Pregnancy And Its Complications: A Narrative Review


The impact of teenage pregnancy on the health of mothers and their children can be devastating. Younger women face more serious perinatal issues than the adult primigravida. They are more susceptible to premature births or stillbirths. India’s teenage pregnancy remains a major public health issue. Pregnancy and delivery issues are the leading causes of female mortality between 15 and 19. Adolescent pregnancies threaten the health and well-being of Indian girls. A teenage pregnancy can lead to maternal and neonatal problems. Specialist antenatal treatment (ANC), as well as health education, are vital to make positive changes, reduce maternal mortality, and avoid future problems. Teenage pregnancy in India is extremely high. This is why it is so important to provide safe and healthy sexual practices for teenage girls.

Introduction and Background

Teenage pregnancy affects all walks of society. It can have major consequences on mother-child health, especially in low-income countries that lack the best health care. Teenage pregnancies are a major problem in India’s public health, even though most Indians favor raising the legal age for female marital status to 18. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) data shows that 16% Indian teenage mothers had had children by the age of 19 according to the National Family Health Survey. Jharkhand (28%), West Bengal (35%), and Bihar (25%), are the two states with the highest proportion of teenage pregnancies. Nearly 47% of the young women in India have a lower body mass than 18.5 and anemia is found in more than half of them. A combination of poor nutrition and early childbearing can lead to low birth weights (LBW), cephalopelvic diproportion (CPD), and anemia. This raises many human rights issues. A girl in her twenties who is pregnant is not allowed to attend school and is thus denied her right at education. Because she cannot access any information about reproductive health or contraception, she also denied her rights to health. Teenagers often have problems with their mental and physical health, including the possibility of having to give birth. Their ability to earn money is affected by early school abandonment and other health problems.

Teenage pregnancy: Causes

Teenage pregnancies are a prevalent problem. They are more likely than other factors, such as poverty, joblessness, and illiteracy. It is still a major cause of infant and maternal deaths, and intergenerational cycles as well. Lack of education, insufficient access to contraception and information about health, as well as a lack or autonomy to make decisions, are the main reasons for teenage pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy can be greatly affected by unmarried or early marriages, rape, and sexual abuse. Unwanted births are facilitated by partners refusing or resisting to use contraception.

Teenage pregnancy: What are the effects?

Young mothers and their children may face difficult times. Teenage mothers are less likely to go to childcare than other women. Teen mother’s lack of schooling may make it difficult to find and keep a job, as well as establish an income source. Young mothers may be financially dependent upon their children or the government if they have children. These factors increase the likelihood of teenage mothers becoming poor. No matter what the situation, getting pregnant can be a difficult task for any woman. For teenagers, however, this is a more difficult situation because it adds to the already complex and stressful period. Young mothers may experience depression, anxiety, and stress due to financial strain. They may experience loneliness, despair, guilt, stress, and low self-esteem. There are also few career options and no support system.

Teenage pregnancy can have serious medical consequences
Pregnant teenagers have a lower chance of getting prenatal healthcare. Teenagers may not be informed about their pregnancy or don’t have enough knowledge to make an informed decision. Because of poor prenatal care, teenage moms are more likely to have preterm babies and LBW. Undeveloped pelvises can make it more difficult for girls under 14 to have a baby. Young women less than 20 years of age are more likely have obstructed labor. If a cesarean is not performed, it can cause an obstetric Fistula. This refers to a rupture of the birth canal which allows urine and/or other excrement from to escape. Pregnancy-related complications and childbirth are the main causes of mortality in countries that are less developed.

Many pregnant teens are at risk of nutritional deficiencies due to inadequacies in their eating habits. Poor diet and poor prenatal care are the main causes of anemia. Preterm births in young mothers are more common than those in LBW infants.

Preterm birth can also lead to life-threatening complications and mortalities. These include intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR), necrotizing Enterocolitis, hyaline Membran disease, hyaline membrane disorder, hyaline proteinosis, respiratory distress syndromes, bronchopulmonary Dysplasia and retinopathy. An insufficient intake of Folic acid can cause neural tube defects and other congenital problems. Instrumental delivery can also cause birth injuries. Contrary to the 6.97% incidence in the general population’s spontaneous abortions, the combined number of stillbirths and spontaneous abortions is 9.84%. This ratio is significantly higher in teenage pregnancies. Preeclampsia, low nutrition, and anemia are all factors that contribute to teen pregnancies. The same study found that teenage girls experience a 9.15% medical terminator rate (MTP), as opposed to 5.07% in overall population. Teenage girls carry out 14%, or 20 million, of the approximately 68,000 abortions that are unsafe each year.

A poor pelvis or obstructed delivery can happen in teenage pregnancy. CPD, which is the inability to develop and deliver a healthy pelvic structure, is common during teenage pregnancies. This can cause prolonged labor, obstructed delivery, and hypotonic contractions.

Teenage preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition that causes pregnancy to become more difficult. It can cause hypertension in the mother, which can lead to complications for the baby. Preeclampsia can also be caused by irregular menstrual periods, underdeveloped uterus, and low decidualization. Preeclampsia can be treated by delivering the fetus. Prematurity of the fetus can cause serious complications if it develops within the first 37 weeks. Preeclamptic patients must be carefully screened and monitored for any signs or symptoms.

Membrane ruptures too early

Premature membrane rupture refers to premature membrane bursts that occur before 37 weeks of gestation. Race, social status, smoking, malnutrition and vaginal bleeding are just a few of the many factors that can contribute to this pathophysiology. Adolescent girls have a higher risk of developing membrane ruptures by increasing inflammation markers like prostaglandins, interleukins, and prostaglandins. Research has shown that teenage girls are more likely to experience premature membrane failure. It should also be noted that teenage girls were more likely to experience preterm membrane ruptures during term births. By direct speculum examination, the detection of leaking amniotic fluid and crystallography can help to diagnose membrane rupture. The mother can support the use of antibiotics, the gestational age-appropriate dosage of corticosteroid, magnesium sulfate to fetal neuroprotection, and tocolytic medication. It is possible to manage premature membrane rupture effectively.

Teenage pregnancy and anemia

According to WHO, anemia can be defined as a reduction of oxygen-carrying capacity in hemoglobin and red blood cells.
Hemoglobin below 7 g/dL is considered severe anemia. Medium anemia is between 7-9.99 g/dL. Light anemia falls under 11g/dL. Pregnant teenagers are at greater risk of developing anemia, due to the high iron requirement during this stage of rapid growth. Iron deficiency can result, which could be detrimental to both the fetus and teenagers. Every pregnant woman should be taking a preventative supplement of 40 mg of iron starting in pregnancy and continuing for at least three months after giving birth.

Transmitted diseases and teenage sexual activity

Hepatitis B infection, trichomoniasis and syphilis can be spread through teenage sexual contact. These STIs can be transmitted vertically to infected fetuses [19,20]. STIs can be more dangerous for adolescents if they are not taught early in their sexual development. Other factors that contribute towards the spread of disease include drug use, gender and socioeconomic inequalities.

Teenage pregnancy can lead to neonatal complications

Preterm birth is a common problem in young pregnancy. Prematurity contributes to children’s physical, mental, emotional, auditory and visual abnormalities. According to WHO, preterm means that a child is born before 37 weeks gestation.

LBW is another frequently-occurring side effects of teenage pregnancy. LBW refers to a child’s birth weight that is less than 2,500 g at the time of delivery according to WHO. To avoid LBW, it is important to take proper dietary supplements into account. Teenage pregnancies are more likely to result in neonatal deaths [29,30]. Neonatal mortality is the term for infant fatalities that occur in the first 28 days after birth. Neonatal mortality should be reduced by providing extra nutrition and support for mothers and babies.

Preventing and caring for teenage pregnancy

A woman who is pregnant unwantedly at an early stage of her life can be very stressed. The best protection is to find programs that will delay the initiation of sexual activity. Parents, teachers, social workers, medical professionals, and preteens need to have open, honest, and informative conversations with their children. They might offer guidance to teens on how they can avoid unwanted pregnancies. Some therapies focus on education, while others encourage adolescents to abstain from sexual activity. Others emphasize training teens’ cognitive and social skills that can lower the likelihood of an unintended pregnancy [4,30]. It is important that the government mandates sex education in elementary and secondary schools. Local colleges and clinics can help lower the number of pregnancies [4,30]. Preventing pre-adult marriage is crucial. This includes increasing understanding and assistance in limiting conception before age 20.

In summary,

Young women have higher complications rates when it comes to pregnancies. This can hinder their growth, development, education, and overall health. This is a good time to pay attention to this issue. Education, dietary guidance, and family plan will all go a long way in transforming teenage girls into responsible and healthy adults. All parties must do their part, including parents and educators as well social workers, government officials, and individuals. Unmarried couples experiencing unintended pregnancies should be supported by the community in order to solve the problem. Unmarried couples who have unintended children can be prevented by counseling and supervision. If you wait patiently to be marriedable, and work with friends and family to make marriage plans, your child(ren) will undoubtedly grow up happy and healthy.
Schools should have sex education classes that teach students the facts about STIs.


  • ameliaburke

    Amelia Burke is a 27yo educational blogger and volunteer and student. She is currently a student at the University of Utah. She is interested in creative writing, writing for the web, and public speaking.



Amelia Burke is a 27yo educational blogger and volunteer and student. She is currently a student at the University of Utah. She is interested in creative writing, writing for the web, and public speaking.

You may also like...