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Teen Girls with Mental Health Issues are 3X More Likely to Get Pregnant



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[caption id="attachment_77531" align="aligncenter" width="460"]Teen Girls with Mental Health Issues are 3X More Likely to Get Pregnant Teen Girls with Mental Health Issues are 3X More Likely to Get Pregnant
[/caption]Toronto, Ontario - Researchers into teen pregnancies have published the results of a study that examined data collected over ten years from 1999 to 2009 which examined pregnancy rates among teenage girls in the age range of 15 to 19. The study found that girls with a history of mental disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, were 300% more likely to get pregnant that girls without a mental disorder.

Dr. Simone Vigod, a psychiatrist at Women's College Hospital and an adjunct scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, and colleagues examined live birth rates from 1999 to 2009 in 4.5 million girls, ages 15 to 19 in Ontario, with and without a major mental health illness.

"Research tells us that young girls are at high risk of pregnancy complications, including preterm birth, poor fetal growth and postpartum depression," Vigod said in a statement. "Add to this a pre-existing mental illness, and these young women are forced to manage significant additional challenges."

In addition, while the pregnancy rates of girls without mental illness has been steadily declining as a result of social programs designed to educate teens against unwanted pregnancies, the effectiveness of such programs has been more limited with girls having mental disorders. Over the ten years period analyzed, pregnancy rates declines by 22% in girls with no mental illnesses and 14% for those with mental illnesses.

One significant find in the report, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, is that western society has not factored in the effects of mental illness in teen pregnancy rates. Thus far, emphasis has been placed on socioeconomic factors and geographical locations. It is known that children from lower income families and rural areas are more prone to get pregnant.

"Although we do know some of the risk factors behind why girls with mental health illness may be at increased risk of becoming pregnant, pregnancy prevention programs in most developed countries have not traditionally considered mental health issues," Vigod said.

Now, the study opens up the possibility that impact of mental illness might be considered given the clear link the research has determined.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

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Teenage girls with mental illness more likely to get pregnant

Karen is a Toronto based writer, and has been writing full-time for eCanadaNow since May of 2011, covering many topics including politics and world issues. Prior to her work writing and editing for eCanadaNow, she worked as a freelance journalist. You can email Karen at [Karene at]


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