Depression Due to Pregnancy in Adolescence
The teenage years can be fraught with angst: peer pressure, academic pressures and often familial problems. When pregnancy occurs in adolescents, sometimes it is the result of these problems and sometimes it facilitates them. The result is frequently depression.
Pregnancies among adolescents are rarely planned. Teenagers may instinctively reject the fetus and its interruption in their lives, or they may want it for reasons that are immaturely emotional. Both during pregnancy and postpartum, depression is a common factor in teens. Dr. Beth Barnet of the University of Maryland School of Medicine says that teenagers are twice as prone to depression as adult mothers. African-American adolescent mothers are twice as likely to suffer from depression as Caucasian teenagers.
Adolescence is a time of development, both cognitively and emotionally. It’s a state of transition and pregnancy is another significant change for the youth to cope with.
After the Birth
Depression is not always alleviated by giving birth because problems then tend to mushroom. It is not uncommon for teenagers to drop out of school after giving birth. According to Barnet, fatigue and a sense of helplessness resulting from the first unplanned pregnancy may derail a teen from considering birth control the next time around.
According to a study performed by Barnet, 46 percent of pregnant girls in her control group were depressed at the onset. The potential for a second pregnancy was 40 percent higher among teens who showed symptoms of depression.
Counseling centered upon coping skills is a must. Options and information must be offered regarding abortion versus adoption versus teenage parenthood.