Teenage mums get a bum deal don’t they? If you listen to The Daily Mail, teenage pregnancy is the root of all evil, costing the economy millions in benefits and bringing about the downfall of society. Generally, teenage pregnancy is felt to be a Bad Thing.
But is it?
Being a teenage mum is subject to a massive amount of stereotyping, but is it really the young mums who are costing us all the cash?
Having children when you’re young is perfectly natural. You body is better equipped generally to cope with pregnancy at a younger age, and recovers more quickly too. Postponing childbirth into your thirties and even forties is a very modern phenomena, and one, it could be argued, that has more serious implications health wise, for both mother and baby, than teenage pregnancy will ever have.
Studies have shown than pregnant women under 18:
- Are more likely to have a normal vaginal delivery
- Have lower rates of maternal and perinatal morbidity
Pregnant mums over 35 however have an increased risk of:
- Gestational diabetes and hypertension
- Placenta previa
- Low birth weight
If you are having a baby and you are over 35, your risk of miscarriage doubles, and your baby has a 1 in 400 chance of Downs Syndrome.
All of these complications have a cost, both financial and physical. Keeping a premature baby in special care for example costs over £1,000 a day, and that’s a lot of housing benefit…
Is it really OK for older mums to pass judgement on teenagers, when their pregnancies are not only risking the health of their babies, but also costing us thousands of pounds in additional health care?
Dr Susan Bewley, of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London, agrees that middle-aged mums are putting a huge strain on the NHS as they are more likely to face problems conceiving, suffer pregnancy complications and have premature babies.
Dr Bewley told the Sunday Times: “Middle-age pregnancy is a public health problem because women en masse are moving out of childbearing and that brings preventable disease and stress with it. Middle-age pregnancy has complications in the same way as teenage pregnancy. We have policies to address teenage pregnancy but not middle-age pregnancy.”
Suddenly teenage pregnancy doesn’t look like such a bad option.