With the recent announcement that vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter, Bristol is five months pregnant, there has been a lot of media attention and speculation about her condition.
Politics aside, I am deeply concerned about the potential effects that this unwarranted publicity will have on this young girl. We must remember that there are many high-risk aspects associated with teen pregnancy. Statistically, we know that pregnant teens have high rates of low-birth weight infants, as well as premature deliveries.
One factor that concerns me particularly is the level of unnecessary stress that this young woman is facing due to her mother's campaign for vice president. It has been clearly documented that stress has been linked to fatigue in pregnant women, as well as anxiety, loss of appetite and sleeplessness.
Another factor that has been identified as a result of stress during pregnancy is the potential for an increased amount of corticotropin-releasing hormone, or CRH, which has been directly linked with premature labor and increased blood pressure.
It is important for all of us to remember that pregnancy is a special time for a mother-to-be - no matter what her age or circumstances may be - and it involves the lives of two people, one of whom is in the most vulnerable stage of life and deserves our respect and support.