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Teenage Pregnancies

Posted Sep 13 2008 4:39am

As the pediatrician for many teenage girls, I have had considerable experience in counseling and helping girls make decisions about what to do when they became pregnant. None of the girls elected to keep the fetus. Many years later, I have had thank-you notes from girls saying what a difference it had made in their lives. They had gone to college, had careers, were happily married and had children.

I have also spoken to many girls in high school sex education classes about the risk of having a baby as an unwed, teenage mother. The risk of birth anomalies is higher in teenagers, I suspect partly because of their frequently poor diet and inadequate pre-natal care.

An interesting article in the 9/4/08 New York Times by Sarah Kershaw points out the higher incidence of divorce when teens marry. She notes that "Studies show that today teenage marriages are two to three times more likely to end in divorce than are marriages between people of 25 years of age and older". It is a tragic situation when a teenager is forced to keep a pregnancy and then marry the father. This in so many cases means no college, no career, a greater possibility of divorce and a life-time of hard work and raising children.

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