Impact of teenage pregnnancy on mothers

Current research indicates that adolescent mothers experience higher rates of depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period. As compared to older mothers and their non-pregnant peers, rates of depression are estimated to be between 16% and 44% in adolescent mothers. In addition to its other effects, teen parenting will likely hinder a child’s social and emotional well-being. When a baby is born to a teenage mother, he is likely to have more difficulty acquiring cognitive and language skills as well as social and emotional skills like self-control and self-confidence.


Teenage pregnancy is when a woman under 20 gets pregnant.  Also referred to as adolescent pregnancy, it usually refers to teens between the ages of 15-19. But it can include girls as young as 10. The mother’s age is determined by the easily verified date when the pregnancy ends, not by the estimated date of conception.

 Social determinants of health, such as low education and low-income levels of the teen’s family, may contribute to a high birthrate. Teens in certain settings are at higher risk of getting pregnant in their teenage years and giving birth than other groups.  For example, young women living in foster care are more than twice as likely to become pregnant than young women not in foster care, according to the results of the studies. Teen mothers face many physical, psychological, social and spiritual challenges like a constant need for support and training; an inability to plan and make decisions; a lack of maternal skills, and encountering unknown situations and major changes. Poverty, malnutrition, complimentary pregnancy, and emotional problems such as depression, drugs, and alcohol use are all risks for the mother. Children are also at greater risk of physical, cognitive and emotional problems because of such indulgence. 

Several factors contribute to adolescent pregnancies and births.

First, in many societies girls are under pressure to marry and bear children.  As of 2021, the estimated global number of child brides was 650 million. In many places, girls choose to become pregnant because they have limited educational and employment prospects. Often in such societies, motherhood within or outside marriage/union is valued and marriage or union and childbearing may be the best of the limited options available to adolescent girls. 

 A teenage pregnancy can have a huge impact on the mental health of the expectant mother. Every year, there are millions of babies born to teen mothers and most of them are unplanned pregnancies because of a lack of awareness and sex education in schools. Teenage pregnancy can change the life of a young mother putting her in a state to look after herself and also another life who is solely dependent on her. 

The effects of teenage pregnancy on mental health are listed below:

  1. Baby blues: Baby blues are usually experienced in the early stage after delivery. Sadness, mood swings, feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, trouble eating, difficulty concentrating on something, trouble sleeping and much more are the signs of the baby blues. 
  2. Denial: Denial is the first mental issue that you face when you see positive pregnancy test results.
  3. Guilt: a feeling of guilt starts developing in the pregnant teenager.
  4. Narcissism: Not paying attention to the world around such as education, family or friends.
  5. Losing bonding with baby: Post-delivery, the new mother might find it difficult to bond with the baby, as it changes her entire life and future. 

So, teen pregnancy remains a critical problem in multiple countries globally, and it is particularly acute in developing nations. Overall, it is the responsibility of society to make sure that young individuals have access to necessary information, and an education on this topic is provided to save the lives of both the mother and child seeing as how getting pregnant at a young age can harm the physiological as well as mental health of the women. 

Written by Nandita Kinalkar | Edited by Nirjara Poptani