Tween Moms Apparently Not All That Uncommon

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True, Delivery

Please don't let this spark a new MTV reality series. Credit: Getty Images

A 10-year-old gave birth last week in a Spanish hospital, but her mother insists it's not a big deal.

They are from Romania after all, she tells Time magazine. She may have a point. Anyone who has seen a Dracula or Frankenstein movie knows weird things happen in that country.

Still ... eeewww!

Most of us would rather see Dr. Frankenstein sew a creature together from dead body parts than wrap our brains around a sexually active and pregnant 10-year-old.

Yet, Time offers some startling -- if more than slightly icky -- facts about teenage pregnancy. If you can even call it teenage pregnancy. Some of the babies who are having babies have years to go before they're teens.

The magazine reports a 9-year-old girl in northeast China gave birth to a baby boy earlier this year. In 2008, the magazine recalls, a 9-year-old girl in Idaho got pregnant and carried the baby to term.

The youngest mother on record comes from a Time magazine story in 1939, that reported a Peruvian girl named Lina Medina gave birth at age 6.

According to the World Health Organization, 10 percent of girls in low- and middle-income countries (and no, that does not include Idaho) become mothers by the age of 16. Some 11 percent of all births worldwide are to mothers ages 10 to 19.

That's risky for both the child and the child's child.

Time magazine reports tween and teen mothers account for 23 percent of the diseases related to childbirth worldwide. They are four times more likely to die during child birth and face an increased risk of anemia, postpartum hemorrhage, depression, mental illness and missing the prom.

At least 65 percent of the expectant mothers who develop obstetric fistula -- in which a hole occurs in the perineum or between the vagina and bladder due to difficulties during labor -- do so during adolescence.

The babies themselves also face an increased risk of death because of low birth weight, respiratory problems and so forth.

The moral of the story? If you want to start a family, wait until you graduate from elementary school.

And maybe -- at least -- a good 12 years after that.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.