Previous studies proved a link between cardiovascular disease and the number of times a woman had given birth. New study published by a world-class journal shows that teens as first-time mothers were at a greater risk for heart and blood vessel disease later in life. Postmenopausal women who had their first child before the age of 20 were at an increased risk compared to women who gave birth later in life or had no children at all (these women have the least risk). This study was conducted on women who were between the ages of 65 and 74.
Sadly, WHO statistics show that 11 percent of children living in the world are born to teens aged 15-19 years. When we look at the study closely, we find that women who delivered a child before their 20th birthday mostly have grown up in lower-income families, under adverse social conditions and minimal education. On top of all these, bearing a child denies a woman of her education and career growth resulting in stress and financial crunches as well. Stress can have a toll on a person's overall well-being and needs to be controlled before it devastates the individual. Read more on ways to curb stress at www.firsteatright.com.
Apart from age, there might be other factors that invoke higher risk of heart disease in adolescent mother, such as cigarette smoking, poor diet, psychosocial stressors and lack of physical exercise. Further research is needed to understand if it is hundred percent physiological or if social circumstances play a major role.
Do not assume that motherhood at any age is unhealthy! What we must understand here is that, motherhood at an adolescent age is undesirable and incorrect. Unavailability of easy contraception access is another reason for prevailing adolescent pregnancies. Providing societal support to women who bear their first child at an early age is necessary. Be it through government-aided programs, social support or family-extended support, some support for the adolescent woman is exceedingly important to help the woman and the baby live as healthy individuals.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.