Young Moms Not At Risk For Health Problems, New Study Finds

Apparently, there has been some misconception that having a baby early in life causes health problems down the road.

Honestly, I hadn't really heard this myth before, but overall, I know there is a lot of misunderstanding about young motherhood. And it's a tough line to walk, because on one hand, you want women and their babies to have the best possible start in life and sometimes, teen motherhood brings obstacles and challenges that wouldn't exist later in life. But on the other hand, just because she is young does not mean a mother is not going to be a terrible mother or ruin her life and sometimes I worry about all of the push backs against teen motherhood hurting current young mothers, because teen and young motherhood will always exist. 

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I'm passionate about advocating for taking a balanced and realistic approach to young motherhood and also acknowledging that sometimes, it's not “just” the fact that a woman is a teenager that causes all the changes of teen parenthood — there are also many other issues present in the situations that teens are at risk for pregnancy that complicate life, regardless of whether or not that teen becomes pregnant. 

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Image via Flickr/ David Amsler

And for women who become pregnant at a young age, there is good news and bad news, according to a new study from the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. The bad news is that there is still some health risk for women who have babies as teenagers. On the flip side, however, those health risks weren't any more than women who have babies in their early twenties.

The researchers noted that historically, it's been understood in the scientific community that women who have children before the age of 20 would have higher health risks, especially for black women. But the new study found that just wasn't true. So, in other words, health wise speaking, there really weren't any differences between teen moms and moms who had their first babies between the ages of 20 and 24. 

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The only part of the study that I wasn't too sure could be trustworthy is that the “health” part of it was only based on women's self-reporting. Like, the researchers just asked the women to rate their own health, which isn't exactly 100 accurate, you know what I'm saying? 

But interestingly enough, the study also found that “marriage following a nonmarital adolescent or young adult first birth is associated with modestly worse self-assessed health compared to remaining unmarried.” This is bad news bears for me personally, since I got pregnant and subsequently married at age 21. 

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Anyone else in the same boat? Make me feel better, please–how's your health? 

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Young Moms Not At Risk For Health Problems, New Study Finds

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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