Teen Pregnancy

Parenting at any age can be challenging, but it can be particularly difficult for adolescent parents. Teenage pregnancy can be a crisis for your teen and your family. Common reactions might include anger, guilt and denial. Your teen might also experience anxiety, fear, shock and depression. Ask what your teen is feeling and talk about what's ahead. Your teen needs your love, guidance and support now more than ever.

 

Childbearing during adolescence negatively affects the parents, their children, and society. Compared with their peers who delay childbearing, teen girls who have babies are:

  • Less likely to finish high school;

  • More likely to rely on public assistance;

  • More likely to be poor as adults; and

  • More likely to have children who have poorer educational, behavioral, and health outcomes over the course of their lives than do kids born to older parents.

 

A pregnant teen has a variety of options to consider:

  • Keep the baby. Many pregnant teens keep their babies. Some choose to marry their partners and raise the baby together. Others rely on family support to raise the baby. Although completing school and getting a good job can be challenging, it can be accomplished with hard work and help. If your teen plans to keep the baby, discuss the challenges and responsibilities involved.

  • Give the baby up for adoption. Some pregnant teens give their babies up for adoption. If your teen is considering adoption, explore the different types available. Also, discuss the emotional impact on everyone involved.

  • End the pregnancy. Some pregnant teens choose to end their pregnancies. If your teen is considering an elective abortion, discuss the risks and emotional impact. Be aware that some states require parental notification for an elective abortion.

 

In addition to talking to you, encourage your teen to discuss the options with your teen's partner, health care provider or a specialist in pregnancy counseling. Talking to a psychologist or social worker also might be helpful.

 

Teens during pregnancy appear to be at increased risk of high blood pressure, anemia, premature birth, having low birth weight babies and experiencing postpartum depression. Encourage your teen to:

  • Seek prenatal care. During pregnancy, regular prenatal visits can help your teen's health care provider monitor your teen's health and the baby's health. Teens might need specialized prenatal care.

  • Get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If your teen has an STI, treatment is essential.

  • Eat a healthy diet. During pregnancy, your teen will need more folic acid, calcium, iron and other essential nutrients. A daily prenatal vitamin can help fill any gaps.

  • Stay physically active. Regular physical activity can help ease discomfort and boost your teen's energy level. Encourage your teen to get a health care provider's OK before starting or continuing an exercise program, especially if your teen has an underlying medical condition.

  • Gain weight wisely. Gaining the right amount of weight can support the baby's health — and make it easier for your teen to lose weight after delivery.

  • Avoid risky substances. Alcohol, tobacco and any illegal drugs are off-limits during pregnancy. Even use of supplements and prescription and over-the-counter medications deserve caution.

  • Take childbirth classes. These classes can help prepare your teen for pregnancy, childbirth, breast-feeding and being a parent.

 

If your teen lacks the money or transportation to obtain prenatal care — or needs help finishing school — a counselor or social worker might be able to help.

Pregnancy Options

©2018 by Counseling / Guidance Department