Premature Birth

Although premature birth can occur in healthy adult pregnancies, the chances of a teenager experiencing a premature birth is much higher.  Read this article for more on teen pregnancy and premature birth rates.

Teens can be faced with so many temptations like smoking, alcohol, drug use and sexual pressures. It is important for teens to realize such behaviors can result in unplanned pregnancy, and with unhealthy lifestyle choices could result in premature birth.  

Because the majority of teen pregnancies are unplanned, the teen mother may not have the best nutrition or may not be partaking in good lifestyle choices during the course of her pregnancy, which can result in premature delivery and other problems for the baby. 

Potential Causes of Premature Birth in Teen Pregnancy:

These factors are often the causes during the course of a pregnancy resulting in severe problems for the baby like premature birth. This is a problem found often in many pregnancies, but is found more often in teen pregnancies because the teen may not understand the risks of participating in such harmful activities throughout the course of their pregnancy. 

The likelihood of a premature baby surviving it’s first few days of life are largely dependent on it’s weight at birth. Smoking is the cause behind 14 percent of premature births, according to the American Lung Association.

Even if the baby does survive being born prematurely, there is a high chance of lifelong illness.

Risks of Premature Birth: 

  • Lung development and breathing issues for the infant
  • The baby’s other internal organs may not be fully developed
  • Heart disease may be a lifelong issue for the child

According to an article ran by BBC News, an Irish research team discovered that pregnant teens are more likely to give birth prematurely and to have babies with a low-birth weight. Of teens under age 17, 21 percent were likely to deliver prematurely, according to the study. Researcher Ali Khashan, from University College Cork, in the Republic of Ireland, said these cases of premature birth in teen pregnancies were most likely the result of biological immaturity, meaning the teen mother is not ready physically or emotionally to deliver a healthy baby.

Underweight teens have a higher chance of delivering prematurely as well due to poor nutrition and a lack of prenatal care. Poor nutrition during or right before pregnancy is a largely contributing factor in increasing the chances of premature births in teen pregnancy. It is important for teens to understand that poor lifestyle choices are best to avoid during pregnancy, but eating right during their pregnancy is also an extremely important part of delivering a healthy baby.

Often teens are scared to discuss their pregnancy right away with parents, doctors or other trusted adults resulting in the first few months of pregnancy, which are the most crucial to fetus development, without much care.

It is important for both teens and their parents to maintain an open communication in matters such as teen pregnancy. If the pregnant teen feels they cannot discuss such issues with a parent, it is still a good idea to consult a trusted adult, teacher, adviser or doctor. Teens also need to keep in mind that not drinking, smoking and doing drugs are crucial to delivering a healthy baby. Maintaining proper nutrition can also help ensure a successful delivery. 

Sources: American Lung Association,,