The consequences of an unplanned pregnancy go beyond just the effects on the pregnant teen. This article offers information on the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy on the pregnant teen, the father, the family, and the baby. Consider the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy before you are faced with a teen pregnancy.
It’s important to distinguish between an unplanned pregnancy and an unwanted pregnancy. Even an unplanned pregnancy can come to be accepted or even welcomed.
An unplanned pregnancy that is continued can have a variety of consequences for the pregnant teen and the father of her baby, including immediate physical, emotional, psychological, and practical consequences, as well as long-term effects that have impact on both parents and their families for the rest of their lives. Some types of consequence come into play for all unplanned pregnancies, while others may or may not be felt in a particular case. The rest of this article discusses some of the many possible consequences of unplanned pregnancy for a teen mother.
When an unplanned pregnancy is unwanted by either the mother or the father or both, this can lead to a variety of consequences, including abortion. Besides ending the fetus’s life, this can have serious psychological and emotional consequences, even when everyone is in agreement about the course of action. When the mother and father—or the parents of the unborn child and their families—are not in agreement about whether or not the pregnancy should be continued, then there are likely to be serious psychological and emotional consequences whether or not the pregnancy is continued or an abortion is obtained. Giving up a child for adoption and the decision-making process leading up to this choice can also cause dramatic and long-term consequences, certainly for the child, and also for the parents and their families.
Pregnancy results in more or less dramatic physical changes to the mother’s body in order that the developing baby can be nourished as well as changes that result from the presence of the growing fetus. Pregnant women may experience morning sickness, weight gain, changes in appetite, an increased need for certain vitamins and minerals, and tiredness. As the baby grows, back pain and a need to urinate frequently may be noticed. These changes can be particularly challenging to a young mother whose own body is still developing and who is trying to attend school and participate in a normal teen social life. For these reasons, an unplanned pregnancy can provide a greater challenge than unplanned pregnancy in adulthood, when there are mechanisms providing for absence from work and staying at home may be economically feasible.
Beyond the physical changes, teens who become pregnant are likely to experience some emotional and psychological challenges. They may be teased or disdained by their peers, have worries about supporting a child, and wonder what education options are available for pregnant teens, where they will live, whether their relationship with the other parent of the child will continue, and more. These are weighty issues, and often involve family members beyond the teen parents.
Statistically, mothers of babies born of unplanned pregnancies are more likely to not have had preconception care, which is known to reduce certain issues, such as spina bifida. They are more likely to delay seeking prenatal care and less likely to breastfeed—both of which choices have health consequences for mother and child.