According to the Guttmacher Institute, 750,000 women under the age of 20 became pregnant in 2006. Teen mothers face challenges beyond the normal pressures of the teenage years. A higher risk of poverty and domestic abuse is associated with teen pregnancy, according to MayoClinic.com. Teen pregnancy also increases the risks of premature labor, anemia, high blood pressure and a low baby birth weight.
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Create a Plan
An unexpected teen pregnancy creates confusion and changes many of your future plans. Take charge of the situation by facing the reality and considering all your options. Teen moms can raise the baby, put him up for adoption or terminate the pregnancy. Research all your options thoroughly before rushing into a decision. Don't allow others to force you into an option that you don't want. Decide how you will carry out your desired plan. If you are going to rear the child, make plans to continue your education for a more stable future.
Many organizations help pregnant teenagers with everything from education to prenatal care. The It's Up to You website recommends starting with your local Department of Health or Department of Human Services for assistance. Many local churches also offer services to teenagers who become pregnant.
If you plan to give up the baby for adoption or terminate the pregnancy, counseling services help you deal with the process. Both decisions come with emotional side effects. A therapist can help you process the emotions you feel.
Get Proper Prenatal Care
The increased risk for complications makes prenatal care a priority for pregnant teens. Routine prenatal appointments allow the health care provider to monitor the baby's progress. Potential problems in the pregnancy are diagnosed earlier when they are easier to manage. Taking care of your body through proper nutrition, prenatal vitamins and exercise increases your chances of a healthy baby.
Childbirth and parenting classes prepare teen mothers for the challenges they will face. Childbirth classes teach teen moms what to expect during the process. The classes teach basic baby care, which is essential to help the baby grow properly. Parenting classes provide strategies for handling the baby at various stages. Classes are often offered free at hospitals and other birthing facilities.
Accepting help from parents, family members and friends eases the struggles of being a teenage parent. A break from caring for your baby gives you a chance to rest or spend a little time by yourself. The break is often refreshing and allows you to be a better parent for your baby.