Photo: One in Four New Mothers are a Teen in Mexico
Mothers aged 14-19 account for roughly 480,000, or 24 percent, of Mexico’s 2 million annual births, the Health Secretariat said Saturday.
The figures were provided by Alejandro Rosas Solis, deputy director of sexual and reproductive health at the secretariat’s National Center for Equity, Gender and Reproductive Health.
“A teen pregnancy is considered high risk due to the immaturity of the (adolescent’s) body, which puts them at risk of preeclampsia or hemorrhages, conditions that are among the main causes of maternal mortality,” the expert said.
He said teen pregnancies also have negative repercussions for the health of the newborn, including low birth weight and immature lungs and temperature regulation systems, which can endanger the child’s life.
Over the long term, teen mothers often find their life ambitions stymied because they must abandon their studies to raise the child and later have limited employment prospects.
“More than 60 percent of teen pregnancies are unplanned” by the couples, many of whom do not use condoms or other forms of birth control.
“The lack of use of some method of contraception in the first sexual relationship increases the risk of having unplanned pregnancies and contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS,” the secretariat said.
Rosas Solis therefore called for greater funding for programs that provide information and attention to young people.
“We need to talk with our children about sexuality because it’s an essential aspect of human beings. It’s important to tell teenagers that all sexual behavior has repercussions so they make informed decisions,” the expert said.