Every parent dreads the day that their teenager comes home with the devastating news that their pregnant. So as parents we do everything in our power to prevent it.

The teen pregnancy numbers have declined over the years. Unfortunately it still happens. Not only are there long-term risks to the mother, but there are risks for the baby as well.

Babies born to teen moms tend to have a lower birth weight. Weight gain is a concern for teen moms, they generally don’t gain enough. With poor weight gain comes low birth weight. Other factors can attribute to this as well, including; being 16 and under, smoking, drinking and receiving no prenatal care.

A low birth weight is considered 5.5 lbs and under. There are numerous complications that can follow a low birth weight, one being underdeveloped organs. With undeveloped organs such as the lungs, the baby may not be able to breathe on their own. If placed on a ventilator they could receive too much oxygen. Causing permanent damage.

This could ultimately result in respiratory distress syndrome. Damage from this could last a lifetime.

Low birth weight babies are susceptible to an underdeveloped immune system. Leaving them vulnerable to sickness and infection. They are at risk for cerebral palsy and mental retardation.

Teen moms are accused of not attending regular prenatal check ups. It is imperative that not only teen moms, but every mother receive proper prenatal care. During these sessions the growing baby is monitored and issues like nutrition and diet can be addressed, as teenagers tend to have relatively poor eating habits.

The general consensus, teenagers just aren’t mature enough to have a baby. Eating habits aside. Teenagers are known for high levels of drug and alcohol use. Which in turn offers more complications to the baby.

Knowledge is key to prevention. Even if the devastating happens, for the sake of both children involved, make sure they understand the importance of prenatal care and they're getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients.

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