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Mental Illness Puts Young Females at Greater Risk of Pregnancy

Jeffrey Hamilton/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Adolescent girls who suffer mental illness are much more prone to getting pregnant than their peers without emotional problems.

That's according to a new study from the Women's College Hospital in Toronto, which examined live birth rates in 4.5 million females ages 15 to 19 over a 10-year span.

Lead author Dr. Simone Vigod says the group with mental illness was three times as likely to have a child than those girls who don't display such symptoms as depression, bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders.

What makes the situation even more frightening for young mothers is that they are at higher risk for pregnancy complications, including preterm birth, poor fetal growth and postpartum depression, Vigod said in her research.

She went on to conclude, "Although we do know some of the risk factors behind why girls with mental health illness may be at increased risk of becoming pregnant, pregnancy prevention programs in most developed countries have not traditionally considered mental health issues."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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