The childbearing years start at the onset of menstruation, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Menstruation can begin anywhere from 8 to 16 years of age The average age of onset is 12. Even though teens aren’t emotionally, mentally or financially capable of caring for a baby in most cases, it’s still possible to get pregnant at this time. Having a baby during the teens years often results in lower school achievement, dropping out of high school and unemployment as a young adult.
There is also a greater chance of having a preterm baby during the teen years, notes the Maryland Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. This may be in part due to a greater level of prenatal stress and lack of prenatal care.