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Why is a young person's pregnancy considered 'high risk'?

(25 Posts)
Moomin0 Wed 08-Jul-15 12:12:02

My friend is a Midwife and she didn't offer much explanation, but says that a young persons pregnancy (13 to 19), is 'high risk'. I understand the U15 category's, however, at 16+ a woman has no reason to have any more 'high risk' assumed complications than a mother of 22.

At 16+, your body would have no issue doing what it's suppose to, so why is it categorized as high risk? If anything, younger mothers seem to labour much easier and quickly than those a little older.

Yes, I am aware that U21's are at risk of preeclampsia.

museumum Wed 08-Jul-15 12:14:06

Is everybody finished growing at 16? I thought some teenagers were still achieving their adult size up to 18?

Mulligrubs Wed 08-Jul-15 12:15:30

They haven't finished growing, more chance of intervention due to this, mental health reasons as they are so young etc.

Moomin0 Wed 08-Jul-15 12:16:12

Actually, there's no evidence to prove that pregnancy stunts growth, as it's more to do with cervical growth and so on so forth.

Furthermore, we actually don't stop completely growing until 21. However, some people stop growing completely at 14, especially women.

I just think it's unfair to tire everyone with the same brush, that's all.

Moomin0 Wed 08-Jul-15 12:18:54

Might I add that I meant a high risk situation during labour, not the actual pregnancy/postnatal situation. I'm only intrigued because my friend says young women are actually advised against home births in her hospital (Basildon).

Surely that isn't right as home births are best in a lot of situations?

Mulligrubs Wed 08-Jul-15 12:19:21

It isn't to do with it stunting growth it is the fact their pelvises may not be fully developed. There is higher risk of death during pregnancy and birth of a mother age under 20. Also a higher risk of premature birth.

www.nhs.uk/news/2012/06june/Pages/teenage-pregnancy-death-rate-concern.aspx

Moomin0 Wed 08-Jul-15 12:21:39

I find it quite humorous that as soon as you reach the 'magical 20', you're no longer high risk.

Yes, I'd understand if you were a teenager who hit puberty quite later on, but my own mother had her first period at 9.

Mulligrubs Wed 08-Jul-15 12:25:18

It isn't a magic number, research has shown the risk of death to the child and mother decreases once the mother reaches 20 - obviously for all individuals this age will be different, but in general this is when pregnancy and birth becomes safer.

Moomin0 Wed 08-Jul-15 12:25:29

Mulligrubs, those statistics and article is not only focused on the U15's, but also, stems from concentration on poorly parts of the globe, not the UK.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 08-Jul-15 12:26:40

Any age range based advice or policy is going to be a bit of a blunt stick, and there will of course be people within the range who will have no problems/have finished growing etc. But there are clearly enough people under 21 having worse outcomes than those over 21, so that is the range they are going for.

I find the fact you think that's somehow 'tarring people with the same brush' a bit odd though. Surely it's more looking after people who may have higher risks?

Mulligrubs Wed 08-Jul-15 12:27:12

OK you haven't read the whole article and aren't actually interested in reasons a younger person's pregnancy is high risk, so why are you posting?

museumum Wed 08-Jul-15 12:27:14

It's just statistics though. There has to be a cut off. Same with bmi. We all get that very overweight people are at higher risk but around the threshold there will be people who fall into "high risk" by one lb who could weigh in dehydrated the next day and be "not high risk".

Moomin0 Wed 08-Jul-15 12:29:28

Thanks for clearing that up museumum smile

GlitzAndGigglesx Wed 08-Jul-15 12:29:36

I was pregnant at 17-18 and wasn't aware I was classed as high risk confused. Lucky for me I had a straightforward delivery

Moomin0 Wed 08-Jul-15 12:31:45

GlitzandGigglesx, most people I've known/heard of seem to have a very straightforward delivery with no complications what so ever. Even watching One Born Every Minute, I remember lots of remarks from health professionals praising young pregnancies for their 'straight forward' positioning.

SurlyCue Wed 08-Jul-15 12:33:20

Im guessing OP has been told her pregnancy is high risk due to her age and is sulking about it.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 08-Jul-15 12:37:11

Oh, well if it says so on One Born Every Minute hmm

Srsly, 'high risk' isn't an insult. It's just a statement that there is more likelihood for poor outcomes in a particular situation.

ReallyTired Wed 08-Jul-15 12:41:38

I have read the article and I think that teenage pregancy in the UK is different to teenage pregnancy in a society where girls are expected to get married young and have babies.

Most parents in the UK frown on their daughter getting pregnant before they have completed their education. A girl in such a situation is likely to have a pretty tense homelife to put it mildly. Maybe there is a view that teenage mother is more likely to be defiant and not follow medical advice. Maybe teenager mothers are deemed to be stupid for getting pregnant in the first place bu health professionals. (Highly nasty and judgemental I know... but generalisations might be why a 17 to 19 year old is deemed UNFAIRLY to be high risk.)

I think that there is a difference in culture. In the third world its not unusual for a seventeen year old to be married and have her first baby. Even if she lacks medical care, her whole community will support her pychologically. She will not be considered immature or irresponsible. It is likely she will live with her inlaws who will support her in the early days.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 08-Jul-15 12:56:49

Honestly Really, it won't be based on value judgements.

There will be a graph showing the risk of something going wrong with pg/delivery and that level of risk will start very high with a child of 13, obviously, and it will tail down as the age drops. At 22 it will be the same level of risk as in the general population so no need for extra intervention. It's stats, not opinion.

LashesandLipstick Wed 08-Jul-15 13:01:24

Well this has terrified me, I've just turned 21 but have been 20 for the majority of my pregnancy...not sure if I'm an U21 or safely in the "non high risk" zone. No ones ever mentioned my age though.

I'd imagine it's down to younger women having more complications - WHY they have more complications I don't know.

MewlingQuim Wed 08-Jul-15 13:15:35

Yes it is just statistics, nothing personal.

It's the same for older mothers, I was not high risk due to my age because I conceived at 39 but would have been high risk if I had conceived after my 40th birthday just a few weeks later. I was, however, classified as high risk because i conceived by IVF. IVF is 'high risk' because it has a higher incidence of multples but I only had a single child, MW said the classification was very old fashioned and needed updating.

It is silly but the line has to be drawn somewhere.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 08-Jul-15 13:55:39

Don't be scared Lashes, it's just stats! I'm sure your MW would have raised anything if they had concerns.

Moomin0 Wed 08-Jul-15 14:42:39

Ha, how funny. Not that I care much of any harsh opinions, but I'm not a teen and I'm certainly not pregnant, just TTC. It was purely out of interest that I asked envy

Shootingstar2289 Fri 10-Jul-15 21:22:02

Hmm.. I was pregnant with my now 4 year old at 18 and wasn't considered high risk due to my age?

I was considered high risk towards the end, due to bp problems but not my age.

WinterOfOurDiscountTents15 Sat 11-Jul-15 18:29:00

purely out of interest yet very dismissive of answers? hmm

Guidelines are in place because experience and evidence tell us that some things are statistically more dangerous than others. Babies born to mothers under 20 have significantly higher mortality rates, higher rates of health problems, higher rates of low birth weight, and more. Maternal mortality is also higher in the under 20 age range compared to the 20-29 range.

So in answer to your question, a young persons pregnancy is considered higher risk because a young persons pregnancy IS higher risk.

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