Teenage pregnancy is rarely part of anyone’s life plan. While a young mother may still welcome the pregnancy when it does occur, they are almost always caught off guard by it. Teenage pregnancy can come with a plethora of complications, one of which is an increased risk of cerebral palsy.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of permanent movement disorders. People become afflicted with cerebral palsy at a young age, ranging from while they are still in the womb to shortly after birth. The condition can range from mild with a single arm having mild movement difficulties to severe with a child having muscle issues throughout their body, as well as cognitive problems.
There are exercises that those who have cerebral palsy can do to improve their physical abilities. There are also adaptive technologies that can help a person with cerebral palsy function more easily. However, there is no real treatment for the condition at this time and no cure.
Why Are Teen Moms More At Risk?
Teen moms, as well as moms over 35, face a lot more risks when it comes to having children than mothers between the ages of 18 and 35. When it comes to teen moms, the problems are largely due to the fact that their bodies are still developing. The younger the mother, the higher the risk of complication. There are many different issues that teen moms can face, and many of those issues can lead to birth injuries.
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common birth injuries, and conditions that teen moms often suffer that can lead to cerebral palsy include:
- Preterm birth
- Anemic babies
- Babies with low birth weight
What Other Challenges Do Teen Moms Face?
There are many other challenges that teen moms are more prone to facing than older mothers. They are more likely to have limited healthcare access. They are also more likely to live in poverty and to disregard prenatal care standards. Teen mothers often face fallout with their families and don’t have the support system they need to help them have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Teen mothers are less likely to take care of their own health during pregnancy, which is likely to result in poor health for their children. Even if a teen mother’s body is up to the task of having a healthy child, if the mother does not have access to proper medical care and does not actively work to ensure the health of their child, they are probably heading for a high likelihood of a birth complication.
In addition to being more likely to have a child that suffers from cerebral palsy, teen moms are likely to be less equipped to deal with a child with special needs after childbirth. Children with cerebral palsy, especially in its more severe forms, require levels of care far beyond that of children who are born healthy.
Considering that healthy children can be plenty of work all on their own for older parents who are prepared and were trying for a child, it is no surprise at all that teen moms with children who have cerebral palsy are often in way over their heads.
A Support System Is Vital
When teenagers get pregnant and elect to go through with the pregnancy, it is vital to have a proper support system around them. A good support system can help to ensure the best health for mother and child. Since many teen moms do not have this support system at home, they will need to look externally. There are more resources available to teen moms than ever before.
One of the best places to start is with a school counselor. Most high school counselors are accustomed to dealing with pregnant teenagers as most high schools have at least one or two at all times. Your school counselor should be able to guide you to resources, both medical and emotional.
If you are not receiving support from your home, they can help you build an external support system made up of your friends, doctors, counselors, and other teen moms. The teen moms in your support system should have a combination of other teens that are currently pregnant, as well as older moms who got pregnant when they were in their teens.
This support system can help teen moms to have as healthy of a pregnancy as possible and feel like they are not alone. Even if something does go wrong and your child does suffer a birth injury like cerebral palsy, they can help you to overcome that next set of challenges.