More Mothers having multiple babies before 20 yrs of age

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POSTED: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 4:49pm

UPDATED: Saturday, April 6, 2013 - 9:12am

"This is my second baby...I have a four year old and it's a girl, and yeah this is my second baby," said 19 year old Jacqueline Gabriel.

She’s hoping for a boy this go round, even though she wasn't really planning on welcoming a new bundle of joy into the world this soon.

“I wanted to wait, but oh well. I have no other choice now," said Jacqueline.

But she is not alone. While there's been a drop in teen pregnancy across the nation, there's been an increase in repeat teen births.

"It's a big issue here, it can be a big issue in the Latino community," said OBGYN Magdelena Flores.

The center for disease control defines a repeat teen birth as the second or more pregnancy by a mother before age twenty. Nearly one in five births to teen mothers is a repeat birth.

So what's behind it? Factors differ among cultures and individuals.

"In the Latino community, one of the biggest issues could be the misconception that birth control is bad for the body, that birth control will have a long term effect on the health. So they go ahead and they stop, they stop, there comes another unplanned pregnancy," said Dr. Flores.

Jacqueline was on the pill for this baby she's now carrying, but admits she could have done a better job with taking them

While she looks forward to the baby growing in her belly, she's nervous for what's ahead.

"It's hard especially when you're a single mom. It'll be hard, my daughter keeps me really busy, but i think I can go through it."

Caring for little lives can be stressful for any parent, but there are also risk factors that play into a teen mom having a baby at a young age.

"When you do get pregnancy, early in your life, as a teenager, you have a high risk of preterm birth. They have a high risk of miscarriage, so these are considered high risk."

And what about education? For some, it falls by the wayside...and with two or more kids...it can be even more difficult. Dr. Flores said she sees some of her young patients losing hope in their futures.

"I have two kids… I'm not doing good in school, I'm not going anywhere!” So we're in this vicious cycle that I don't feel good about myself so where am I going in life...so we see it very hard for them," explained Dr. Flores.

Jacqueline on the other hand, who had her first baby at 15, finished high school and has her sights set on college thanks to a strong family support system…but not right away.

“I'm going to have to wait now because I don't think it's going to be easy being pregnant and going to school. My suggestion is to wait to have kids.“ said Jacqueline.
 

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