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date: 22 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The United States has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the developed world. Pregnancy and parenting prior to age 20 are associated with compromised biopsychosocial outcomes for the mother, the fetus, and the future child—though the strong coupling of poverty and early pregnancy indicate that these outcomes may not be uniquely attributable to maternal age. This chapter reviews psychological as well as biological factors associated with risk for adolescent pregnancy, such as the potential correlation between conduct disorder and pregnancy, as well as data suggesting that environmental factors as varied as exposure to endocrine disrupters and psychosocial stress may contribute to the earlier onset of puberty, sexual activity, and, ultimately, conception. Pregnancy outcomes for both the mother and the child are reviewed, as well as what is known about mental health status in pregnant and parenting teenagers. This chapter covers the importance of social support for this population and the treatment of perinatal psychopathology in childbearing adolescents.

Keywords: adolescents, pregnancy, parenting, puberty, maturation, neonatal outcomes, depression, conduct disorder, intervention

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