Teen pregnancy presents a unique set of health risks for mothers and their children alike, and trying to navigate the confusing sea of medical terms can be tricky for the uninformed. Here’s a look at five terms that are likely to come up during discussions surrounding teen mothers.
Anemia is a condition in which a person’s red blood cell count falls below a healthy level. During pregnancy, anemia can cause minor symptoms such as fatigue and weakness, but it may also be responsible for premature birth. Anemia is common in teen pregnancies, because many teen moms don’t receive nutritional guidance from their doctors, who normally recommend iron or folic acid supplements to counteract this condition.
- Low Birth Weight
A child’s birth weight is considered low if it falls below five pounds eight ounces, regardless of whether or not the child was born prematurely. This is a frequent problem among teen mothers, and the primary cause is a lack of medical care during the pregnancy.
Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition experienced during pregnancy that includes symptoms like high blood pressure, nausea, abdominal pain, and high levels of protein in the urine (which is often an indicator of kidney problems). This condition is more common during a woman’s first pregnancy, which is why it can pose problems for teen moms. If pre-eclampsia is diagnosed during the late stages of pregnancy, most doctors will recommend inducing labor immediately to prevent any further complications.
- Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension
Hypertension refers to high blood pressure, and this is a particularly common problem during teen pregnancy. If a mother’s body has not fully developed before the pregnancy, the fetus may place additional strain on the circulatory system. This strain can lead to symptoms such as swelling and rapid weight gain. Fortunately, pregnancy-induced hypertension can be managed with the help of a doctor, and screenings for this are a normal part of exams for pregnant women.
- Prenatal Care
Prenatal care is designed to promote health during pregnancy for both the mother and baby. It normally involves regular checkups, nutritional advice, and medications, if necessary. Unfortunately, many teen mothers do not receive the prenatal care they need during pregnancy, which can lead to a number of completely preventable complications such as low birth weight, birth defects, or in severe cases, death.