In our grandparents' day, couples tended to marry young and start families young. These days the trend is for women to have babies later in life. Conception rates in women aged after 30 and over 40 have been rising, while rates have been falling for under 20s.
Meanwhile, government campaigns have tried to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies. Teenage pregnancy and early motherhood has been shown to be linked with poor educational achievement, poor physical and mental health, social isolation and poverty.
Becoming a parent at any age can have its challenges. For young parents, there are extra factors to consider, from financial concerns and parenting while in full time education to being the youngest people attending antenatal classes.
Practical issues for young parents
Practical issues for young parents include:
Housing: Finding somewhere to live with a new baby can be hard, as can living with parents, with a new baby. The housing charity Shelter can offer advice on accommodation.
Education: Juggling the demands of full-time education and bringing up a new baby can be challenging. Issues include childcare and financial ones. Special grants and benefits may be available for young parents in full-time education.
Benefits: Benefits advisers can help with financial and other help available to young parents. These include Healthy Start food vouchers, Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), Sure Start Maternity Grants and some young working parents can get help with childcare costs through Tax Credits. Organisations like Citizen's Advice can help with practical advice about benefits and other practical advice. Charities like Family Lives offers support to young parents. In the case of single young parents, Gingerbread may be able to help.
Emotional support: The teenage pregnancy charity Straight Talking offers emotional support in some parts of the UK. Your local council may also run young parents groups. Meeting other young mums or dads and to share experiences can help. Other organisations may be available which organise trips and events.