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Although the converse may not be true, the earlier a pregnancy is achieved, the greater is the risk of problems during pregnancy. Thus, the usual finding is that teenagers who delay marriage are more likely to bear a child who is less developed at birth. These are called "late maturing fetuses." Problems are experienced more often with late maturing fetuses: major congenital malformations, low birth weight, premature birth, and low Apgar scores are more prevalent. The impact of fetal age on birth outcomes may be greater in teenagers who are already pregnant. Thus, late maturing fetuses may be due to an accessory reproductive organ, an excessive menstrual period, or excessive contractions.
Teenagers who eventually begin childbearing may initially enjoy good health, but older pregnancies have significantly worse birth outcomes, most notably increased risks of miscarriage and increased maternal mortality and morbidity. Adolescent pregnancy is not a healthy and safe alternative to prevention of infertility. The fact that babies of adolescent mothers have poorer outcomes was not clear from earlier statistics because, in those days, older mothers were also different from present-day teenagers. Teen pregnancy has increased in the United States in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. In the 1970's, teens of all ages were more likely to experience a premarital pregnancy than their late 1970's counterparts. By 1980, the premarital pregnancy rate was 32 percent. Of those aged 14 to 19, 10 percent had at least one premarital birth by the time they were 21. d2c66b5586