Teen Pregnancy Linked to Risk of Earlier Death in Adulthood, Study Finds

Teen pregnancy increases the chances that a young woman will drop out of school and struggle with poverty, research has shown. Teenagers are also more likely to develop serious medical complications during pregnancy.

Now a large study in Canada reports another disturbing finding: Women who were pregnant as teenagers are more likely to die before their 31st birthday. The trend was observed among women who had carried teen pregnancies to term, as well as among those who had miscarried.

“The younger the person was when they became pregnant, the greater their risk was of premature death,” said Dr. Joel G. Ray, an obstetric medicine specialist and epidemiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and the first author of the study. It was published in JAMA Network Open on Thursday.

“Some people will argue that we shouldn’t be judgmental about this, but I think we’ve always known intuitively that there’s an age that is too young for pregnancy,” he added.

The study made use of a provincial health insurance registry to analyze pregnancy outcomes among some 2.2 million teenagers in Ontario, Canada, including all girls who were 12 years old between April 1991 and March 2021.

Even after the researchers accounted for pre-existing health problems the girls may have had, and for income and education disparities, teenagers who carried pregnancies to term were more than twice as likely to suffer premature death later in life.

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