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Ask the experts: Is 13 years old too young to get pregnant?

Dear Experts,

I want to know if it’s too young for a 13-year-old girl to get pregnant?


Dear Huney_pie,
A woman is physically able to become pregnant when she ovulates for the first time — around the time of her first menstrual period. This may be as early as when she is eight years, or even earlier. On average, it happens when a girl is between 12 and 13. But however old she is when she first ovulates, it doesn’t mean that she is ready emotionally or financially to become a parent.

There isn’t a specific age that is the right time for a woman to get pregnant and raise a child. However, in general, teenage mothers don’t do as well in life as people who wait and have children as adults. Their family incomes are lower — they are more likely to be poor and receive welfare. They are less educated and are less likely to be married. Their children may also have a harder time growing up.

Some teens have the desire to become pregnant. This desire is often a sign of another need that may not be as simple to understand, as the need to be loved unconditionally by someone else, to become independent, or to escape from an unpleasant family situation.

There are many things to think about before deciding to have and raise a child. Once a person becomes a parent, she or he is responsible for another person for at least the next 18 years. A woman who is considering getting pregnant and raising a child should think about her answers to these questions:

  • Am I ready to help a child feel wanted and loved 24 hours a day for at least the next 18 years?
  • Can I talk about my feelings and other important things with the father of the child, my partner, family, and friends? Will I have their support?
  • Am I ready to accept full responsibility for parenting and do it alone, if it becomes necessary? Will I have enough money to support myself and a child?
  • Am I mature enough to not harm the child physically or emotionally? (I won’t tease, humiliate, slap, hit, or threaten my child no matter what happens, no matter how frustrated I get.)
  • Am I ready to seek whatever counseling I need to become a better parent?
  • Am I ready to give up my social life with my friends to take care of my baby?
  • Am I ready to put my school or career plans on hold?

Talking to someone — like a trained counselor — may help a young person determine if she is ready to have a child.

Call 1-800-230-PLAN to be connected to your nearest Planned Parenthood health center or use the clinic connections at www.teenwire.com.

Hope this information helps!

Take care,

teenwire® Editors

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