By Lauren Mann of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
As Catelynn and Tyler happily prepared to welcome baby Novalee into the world during this week's "Teen Mom OG" episode, their biggest worries should have included whether they'd bought enough diapers and if the nursery was finished. But Catelynn had a much more serious concern: She was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during her final trimester.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels from diabetes can cause complications for the baby such as early birth, respiratory distress syndrome, hypoglycemia and excessive birth rate, leading to obesity and the potential to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. The mother could also experience health risks such as increased likelihood of needing a C-section, high blood pressure, preeclampsia and an increased chance of developing diabetes in the future.
Unlike certain pregnancy complications that are more common among teen mothers, gestational diabetes is a pregnancy risk that can affect women of any age. But imagine what it would have been like if Catelynn had to worry about her blood sugar AND all of the turmoil going on in her house back when she was pregnant with Carly in 2009. Being older and in a more stable place allowed the cast member to be in control of all aspects of her health -- and enabled her to bring Novalee home to a healthy environment. No matter your age, pregnancy is a big deal, and it should be carefully planned for because you never know what surprises could pop up along the way.
For more resources on teen pregnancy and prevention, check out the new and improved Stayteen.org. And be sure to tune in to new episodes of "Teen Mom OG" Monday nights at 10/9c!