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Pregnancy in adolescence: its psychological repercussions

Pregnancy in adolescence: its psychological repercussions

April 20, 2024

Bringing a life to the world is for many people one of the most beautiful experiences of their life. Now, this is true for those who have wanted to have a child and are ready for it, people who have matured and planned the conception of a son or daughter.

Other people are in a situation where they get pregnant by accident, or even if they want to have children in the future are not ready for it. This is the case of teenage pregnancies , which can have great repercussions for the person who stays in state. It is about this state that we are going to talk about throughout this article.

  • Related article: "Psychology of pregnancy: this changes the mind of the pregnant woman"

Pregnancy in adolescence

We consider that a pregnancy is adolescent when it occurs between 10 and 19 years of chronological age , without however importing the level of physical development of the adolescent in question. This life stage is in itself a time of great changes at all levels: the body grows and changes to pass from child to adult, our mind and cognitive skills are developing more and more. However, the emotional environment and mental maturity usually take much longer to develop.

The teenager is in an identity search process , to know who he is and what his role is in the world. Little by little he will face new demands and social experiences. Among them we find the first loves and relationships of couple, and often also the first sexual relations. In fact, it is known that a high proportion of citizens started in sex before the age of fifteen.

However, in some cases, these first experiences are highly impulsive and do not involve experimentation that takes into account the risks of their actions, something that in terms of sex can lead to early pregnancy. This happens all over the world, although it is more visible in developing countries or countries with a low level of education.

Pregnancy is the biological process through which an egg fertilized by a sperm develops and grows in the mother's womb for approximately nine months until the moment of delivery. This process triggers a series of physical, organic and even psychic and behavioral changes in the progenitor, aimed at promoting this growth and the subsequent arrival in the world of the new creature.

It is also a risky process, since it implies a heavy investment of resources by the mother's organism, and in a body still in formation it can have serious risks. Even if a child is successfully completed, it also implies a high level of responsibility and capacity, at a level that a teenager could hardly hold it without any help .

Why at such an early age? Risk factor's

The young adolescent has a functional reproductive system and capable of entering into a state of gestation, something that generates that if some kind of sexual relationship occurs at this age there is a risk of getting pregnant.

Although some teenagers become pregnant consciously and planned most teenage pregnancies occur in the context of an involuntary incident , either because it has not used any type of protection or because it has been used ineffectively or has been broken / failed. Thus, in most cases we are facing an unwanted pregnancy.

In this sense, although finding a single cause of why they occur is not viable (since it is a multi-causal phenomenon), it is necessary to take into account that there are multiple risk factors that can influence the occurrence of a pregnancy in the adolescence.

The first one is the age of onset of the first sexual intercourse . In this sense it has been observed that adolescents with a sexual initiation at twelve or thirteen have a probability that can exceed 90% of being pregnant during adolescence.

Another risk factor closely related to the previous one is the presence of a non-existent or poorly integrated sexual education, in which sex is a taboo of which nothing is known or the risks and possible consequences are unknown. Also, it is usually a risk factor to ignore the existence or how to use prophylactic methods, the limited availability or high price of these or the underestimation of their importance.

Other common risk factors are the educational and economic level , in which it has been observed that there is a greater tendency to teenage pregnancies in populations with fewer resources and access to education.

In addition, the consumption of alcohol and / or other psychoactive substances favor maintaining unprotected relationships.Social exclusion, lack of life goals or hopes to improve one's situation or the suffering of some disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder also facilitate.

Another element to keep in mind is that exposure to a parental model in which children have been born as teenagers also facilitates the replication of this model, as well as cultural or religious beliefs in which the role of women is to give birth since youth As well the absence of support from the family , that this is dysfunctional, that there is negligence, abandonment or lack of affection are risk factors. The same happens if the woman is immersed in a context in which violence or contradiction abounds with regard to sex.

Finally, it should be taken into account that some adolescents become pregnant after having suffered some type of sexual abuse or rape. In addition, in some cases people who have suffered in childhood may have come to normalize sexual contact at a young age, having these cases increased risk of teenage pregnancy. Also, child marriages also often lead to this type of pregnancy.

Consequences and biological complications of pregnancy in this stage

Regardless of how the pregnancy occurred, when it occurs in the adolescence stage the young pregnant woman is in a situation considered high risk for both the baby and her , because although biologically your body is able to conceive you have not yet completed your physical development.

Among the different risks at the biological level we can find the possibility of suffering from anemia that can complicate the health of the mother and the fetus, the occurrence of spontaneous abortions (whose probability is much higher than in an adult) or premature births or infections .

Likewise, and although it may vary depending on the sanitary measures available in the locality in which one lives, a pregnancy before the age of fifteen doubles the risk of dying during childbirth in relation to adult women (in fact, it is a of the most common causes of death of teenagers). Bleeding and postpartum hemorrhage are more likely .

It is also common for them to suffer high blood pressure, as well as a higher probability of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. In addition, the growth of the mother herself can stop or slow down in such a way that short stature and obesity can appear.

Babies born to adolescents are at higher risk of being born with birthweight and prematurely, and it has been observed that compared to those born to fully formed adults these babies have a higher proportion of intellectual disability, malformations, developmental problems or neural tube defects, as well as a higher probability of dying before the first year due to sudden death. Likewise it is more common to have minor infections .

Psychic and social repercussions

In addition to this, becoming pregnant during adolescence also has great repercussions at a psychological and social level. To begin with, a teenage pregnancy usually meets with a reaction from family, friends and social environment in general can become very aversive for the young woman. This can feel or even be really rejected by its closest environment and pressured to make a decision .

It is also in a situation in which it is more likely that academic problems and school failure appear, and it is more difficult for them to access higher education or reach jobs that require this. Their employment tends to be more precarious and they tend to have worse economic and social conditions.

Likewise, a decision must be made about whether to continue with the pregnancy or carry it out , both options having repercussions on the psyche of the adolescent and a social effect on her environment. In many cases, adolescents do not feel qualified to be mothers, and rejection of the baby may occur once the baby is born.

There is also a greater risk of falling into drug use and antisocial acts as well as suffering from depression, anxiety, uncertainty and problems of self-esteem and social adjustment.

In addition to this, the pregnant adolescent of another can find serious partner problems or even be abandoned, since it has been shown that adolescents tend to see this pregnancy as a limitation to their future. Usually according to several studies A majority of adolescents in this situation tend to tend towards the option of aborting .

Prevention and prophylaxis of pregnancy

Pregnancy in adolescence is, as we have said, a considerable risk for both the mother and the future baby. That is why it is necessary to establish different measures in order to prevent it from happening, as well as Protect and prevent pregnant minors from being harmed .

The first step for this is through the establishment of educational policies and plans that integrate sexual education in the classrooms from an early age, in such a way that you can work on what sex is and the risks that can involve doing it without protection (not only pregnancy but also venereal diseases) in addition to explaining what prophylactic measures exist and how to use them. Highlights the importance of condom use.

It is important to make prophylaxis easily accessible to the entire population regardless of their economic capacity. As well the increase in services dedicated to family planning and the care of pregnant women they can be of great help, as well as the facilities to obtain oral contraceptives in case of need.

At the family level it is also very important to work on the topic of sexuality, in such a way that the family allows the adolescent to express their fears and doubts as well as to solve their doubts and questions. It is important that this environment is communicative and open.

Finally, it is relevant to treat pregnant adolescents who have problems arising from their condition, such as depression and loss of self-esteem or lack of social support, both from the environment and from the institutions and from different institutions. professions of the health and social branches.

Bibliographic references:

  • Lohan, M., Cruise, S., O'halloran, P., Alderlice, F., Hyde, A. (2010). Adolescent men's attitudes in relation to pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes: a systematic review of the literature from 1980-2009. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 47: 327-345. [On-line]. Available at: //
  • Mendoza Tascón, L.A. Claros Benítez, D.I., Peñaranda Ospina, C.B. (2016). Early sexual activity and pregnancy in adolescence: state of the art. Chilean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 81 (3): 243-253.
  • Sobeida, M. and Blázquez Morales, L. (2012). Teen pregnancy. Medicine, Health and Society Electronic Magazine.


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