For the pregnant girl and her family, teenage pregnancy can be a crisis. Common reactions are hatred, sorrow, and rejection. If the father is young and involved, there may be similar reactions within his family.
In many significant areas of life, babies born to adolescent mothers are at risk for long-term problems, which include dropping out of school, health problems, and becoming teenage parents themselves. The adolescent mothers themselves may also experience these problems.
How can she navigate through whatever lies ahead? At this time of fear and uncertainties, there is support available to help them make the wisest choice. If you’re a parent or guardian, then read on to learn some teenage pregnancy advice to guide your daughter.
Tackling the Options
Ask how your teen is feeling and discuss what’s ahead. A pregnant teen has these options to consider.
Keeping the Baby
Many pregnant teens are keeping their babies. Some choose to marry and raise the baby together with their partner. Others rely on support from family to raise the baby.
Though it can be challenging to complete school and get a good job, it can be accomplished with hard work and help. If your teen plans to keep the baby, identify the challenges involved and responsibilities.
Some pregnant adolescents give away their babies for adoption. If your teen is contemplating adoption, examine the different available types. Discuss also the emotional impact on all involved.
Some pregnant teens decide to terminate their pregnancy. Discuss the risks and the emotional effect if your teen thinks about elective abortion. Be aware that for elective abortion, some states require parental notification.
Encouraging Proper Prenatal Care
Teens seem to be at increased risk of high blood pressure, anemia, premature birth, low birth weight babies, and postpartum depression during pregnancy. Encourage your teen to do the following.
Seek Prenatal Care
Teenage pregnancies carry additional health risks for both mom and baby. Teenagers often don’t get prenatal care soon enough, which can cause problems later on.
Regular prenatal visits during pregnancy can help your teenager’s healthcare provider monitor the health of your teen and her baby. Teenagers may need specialized prenatal care.
Get Tested for STIs
If your teen is suffering from a sexually transmitted disease (STI), treatment is vital. Even if they have been tested for an STI in the past, it is important to try again during pregnancy.
Be sure to tell their doctor if they have symptoms or have sexual activity at high risk. An STI can be present without symptoms.
Eat a Healthy Diet and Avoid Risky Substances
Your teen will need more folic acid, calcium, iron, and other essential nutrients during pregnancy. A prenatal vitamin daily may help fill any gaps. Gaining the right amount of weight can support the baby’s health.
During pregnancy, alcohol, tobacco, and any illegal drugs are off-limit. Even the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements deserve caution.
Stay Physically Active
Regular physical activity helps ease discomfort and increase energy levels for your teen.
Before starting or continuing an exercise program, encourage your teen to get a healthcare provider’s approval, especially if your teen has a medical condition.
Take Childbirth Classes
These classes can help prepare your teen for pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and parenting. It’s a good time to take a childbirth education class before they go to labor.
Facing the Future
Teenage pregnancy often adversely affects a teen’s future. Teen mothers are less likely to earn a high school diploma and attend college, more likely to be in poverty, and are at risk of domestic violence.
If your teen intends to continue her pregnancy, tackle these challenges directly. Discuss goals and how your teen could achieve them as a parent. Search for programs that will help pregnant teens stay in school or complete home-based coursework.
Encourage your teen to take parenting classes, and help prepare your teen to support and raise a child. Understand that your encouragement and care can help your teen to cope with pregnancy and future challenges.
Parents can help prevent teenage pregnancy or future pregnancy through open communication and guidance on sexuality, contraception, and the risks and responsibilities of sexual relationships and pregnancy.
If pregnancy occurs, teenagers and their families really need honest and sensitive advice about options, including abortion and adoption, that are available.