On Child Well-Being

Teen Pregnancy and Child Well-Being

Children born as a result of an unplanned pregnancy are more likely to experience adverse health and developmental consequences. Teen mothers are more likely to deliver pre-term and low birth weight babies, two factors which raise the probability of health problems for a child. In addition, one-third of teens do not see a healthcare provider during the first trimester of pregnancy, increasing the odds of a baby born with complications. In addition, children of teen parents suffer higher rates of abuse and neglect than children of mothers that delayed childbearing.

Making the Connection: Teen Pregnancy and Healthy Children & Families


In South Carolina:

  • 13% of babies born to 15-17 year olds and 11% of babies born to 18-19 year olds are low birth weight.
  • 15% of pregnant 18-19 year olds on Medicaid in 2006 were abused as children.
  • 13% of pregnant 18-19 year olds on Medicaid in 2006 had high risk pregnancies.

Most of the public sector costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers.  For example, in South Carolina in 2008, taxpayer costs associated with children born to teen mothers included: $34 million for public health care (Medicaid and CHIP) and $23 million for child welfare.

Learn more about the public costs of teen childbearing.