Teenage pregnancy in Australia has decreased significantly although the rate of births is still at five per cent for women aged 19 years and under. Approximately eighty-five percent of sexually active adolescent women may become pregnant by mistake. Teenagers have a higher rate of complication during pregnancy and childbirth than older women, making their choices of termination, adoption and parenting much easier. Roughly, fifty percent of teenagers with unwanted pregnancies seek abortion, making sixteen percent of Australian women looking for abortion teenagers.  In 2004 the total amount of abortions were 11270 compared to 10779 live births. Following New South Wales, Queensland was the second highest state for teenage pregnancies with 2283 abortions and 2860 live births. 1 in 6 women aged 20-19, who are asked about pregnancy will have experienced a pregnancy as a teenager. Unfortunately, 25 percent of teenage women decide not to tell their partner about the pregnancy.

Health Risks

Teenagers often take risks because they believe that they will not be harmed and tend to think of themselves as immortal or invincible, making their health the most concerning issue. Young women need to realise that sexually transmitted diseases are a reality, Chlamydia infections seeming increasingly common in teenagers. Most infections with chlamydia do not cause symptoms, but the infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women, and go on to cause infertility, chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy.

Premature delivery is also a significant problem in teenage pregnancy. If in the thirty-seventh week, the teenager goes into labour, it is considered a premature labour. Many mothers and premature born children can experience a variety of health problems in the future.

Another common problem is insufficient diet of the teenager. Teenagers also commonly expose their unborn babies to alcohol, drugs and tobacco smoke. These factors lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, having a baby of low birth weight (intestinal problems and undeveloped organs), birth defects and other complications.

Social and Emotional Risks

Teenage pregnancy and childbirth is an important adolescent health issue in Australia due to its association with detrimental physical consequences and long-term negative psychosocial outcomes for both mother and child. Other unforseen ramifications for teenagers include reduced education and employment opportunities, alienation from family and friends, financial difficulties, emotional distress and increased risk of mental health issues e.g. post natal depression. Most adolescents can face stress in revealing the pregnancy to their parents and in the pregnancy itself. Also an increased risk of abuse, neglect and poor opportunities and lifestyle for the child is common.