Teen Mom 2: drama turns to baby's health

'Teen Mom' Leah and her twin girls (Courtesy of MTV)'Teen Mom' Leah and her twin girls (Courtesy of MTV)Last night on "Teen Mom 2," we saw a fair share of drama: Jenelle's mom took her to court for custody of her son. Chelsea might get back with her baby's jerk father. And Kailyn may have to find a new place to live with her baby. But all that drama paled in comparison to what Leah faced. The young mother of twins discovered one of her babies may never be able to walk again. It's every mother's worst nightmare, but for a teen mom with no career prospects and a fractured partnership with her children's father, the road ahead seems incomprehensible.

Of all the couples on the show, Leah and Corey, the father of her twins, seem the most mature. They're trying to work on their relationship and they're figuring out how to financially and physically provide for their two children. Despite their history of high school era break-ups, they seem to genuinely love each other and their babies. But dealing with a child whose health is jeopardy is something even the most adept parents have difficulty facing.

Baby Alleeah's leg curves in. She also isn't baring any weight on it or closing her fists like her twin sister Alianna. Mom Leah fears taking her to the doctor, knowing instinctively something is very wrong. At the end of the episode doctors suggest that her baby's motor abilities are in question. She tells Corey she was too afraid to even ask if her daughter will ever be able to walk.

In the world of youth-oriented TV, it's rare to see this kind of heartbreaking outcome. But it's not uncommon for teenage mothers. "Although developmental delay is not an inevitable consequence for adolescent mothers, data suggests this special class of children when compared to children born to adult mothers, is at a greater risk of developmental problems," according to a report by the FSU Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy.

One study by University of Ottawa found women aged 13-19 were more likely to have children at risk of central nervous system, garstro-intestinal and musculoskeletal anomalies. One major factor is that teen moms are more likely than mothers over age 20 to give birth prematurely.

There is a lot of information online about the increase in health risks for babies of teen moms, but resources for those babies once they're born is more limited. What do young mothers like Leah do once they've identified a developmental problem in their child? How can they afford the best care when they're still trying to find a job, and in Leah's case, take care of another child? The road ahead is too daunting to imagine. A strong support network is essential. In the final few minutes of last night's episode, it seemed Leah and Corey were going to put their relationship issues aside for the sake of their child's health. Despite their age, they're on a track to becoming great parents-if only that were enough.


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