There are pros and cons to having children at every age, but if you are considering having a child around the same time you are filling out your voter registration card for the very first time, there are a few things you might want to consider.
While your chances of conceiving a healthy baby may be higher at 18 than decades later, becoming a young parent can seriously impact your life in a variety of ways — and not all of them are good. Here is everything science says about getting pregnant and becoming a parent at 18:
Your children will have you — and their grandparents — around longer
It doesn't take a scientist to determine that the younger you become a mom, the longer you will probably be around to see them grow up. You might even get the chance to become a great-grandmother! If you are very family-oriented, this is a definite plus, because your children will likely have you in their lives until they are a ripe old age.
Your baby is more likely to have a lower birth weight
Studies have found that a young maternal age has been associated with a low birth weight risk, mostly as a result of the social disadvantage or unfavorable health conditions younger mothers face. A lower birth weight is often associated with unfavorable outcomes, including developmental delays and compromised outcomes later on in life.
Being a young mom may keep you out of trouble
Becoming a mother is life-changing, to say the least, and according to science that can be a very good thing for some troubled young women. One study found that having a child at a young age can seriously benefit the mother, especially when she is from a financially unstable background. The responsibility of parenting can pull her off the path of drugs and delinquency, even preventing her from committing crimes.
You are probably single — or will end up that way
According to one study, 90 percent of teen moms under the age of 19 are unmarried. Even if you do decide to get married at a young age, the chances you will remain that way aren’t too good. According to the CDC, 60 percent of marriages for couples between the ages of 20 and 25 end in divorce and 59% of marriages to women who were younger than 18 at the time of marriage will end in divorce within 15 years.
You are less likely to be educated — or get educated
According to studies conducted by the government, there is a definite link between having a child at a younger age and education. First of all, individuals who are doing well and are super active in school are less likely to have a baby at a younger age. And once you become a young mother, it makes it a lot harder to pursue an education. Many young mothers have to get a job to support their family, making it seriously difficult to find the time or the finances needed to make education a priority.
Your mother probably had children at a younger age
If you are a young mom, the chances are your child is going to have a young grandmother too. The same studies found that you are more likely to have a child before the age of 20 if your mother did.
You are more likely to become depressed
According to a recent study published in British Journal of Psychiatry Open, the majority of pregnant women under-25 – a staggering two-thirds — show signs of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. This compares to just one in five women over the age of 25 suffering from the same issues.
Contrary to popular belief, you won’t need less sleep or have more energy
There is a false assumption that one benefit to having children at a younger age is that you won’t need as much sleep and will generally have more energy to devote to parenting, but science says that is not the case. In fact, onestudyfound people in their 30s to have the most energy. And, according to SleepFoundation.org, the recommended amount of sleep, seven to nine hours, remains the same for younger adults aged 18-25 and adults 26-64.