Realizing that you are pregnant in your teenage years, especially if the pregnancy is unplanned, it can put a great deal of stress on a young woman. However, what we have to realize is that if the pregnancy is confirmed, it is our duty to support the young woman and enable her to choose the best possible option at this time.
Teenage pregnancy refers to pregnancy in a woman who is 19 years or younger. As you are aware, a woman can get pregnant if she has undergone vaginal sex with a man after menarche (after menstruation). While the number of teenage mothers is on a decline, it still is a concerning problem for the larger society. Though it is a global problem, it is generally prevalent in poor and malnourished communities. Girls may face considerable pressure to get into wedlock quite early in life and become mothers when they themselves are still a child. Teenage pregnancy to a certain extent happens due to denial of right to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and general well-being.
Let’s have a look at the causes of teenage pregnancy:
Finding out that you are pregnant in teenage years can bring about varied emotions. Some girls may feel confused and scared. These feelings are normal and justifiable. When you think about your options going forward, these feelings will probably change. Parents of the child too may have their own feelings, but remember it is the young girl’s life and it is best if parents provide moral support and offer ways with which she can deal with it. Parents should not try to force their views on her to follow.
It is very important that the girl is given necessary information about all her options that she can choose to deal with the issue in an effective manner. Sadly, many girls do not seek opinion regarding pregnancy hoping that it may not be true. Wishing it away does not solve the problem. Teenagers should consult a gynecologist and get informed opinion as they have higher rate of complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Another potential problem to be dealt with teenage pregnancy is the chances of the girl slipping into the depths of depression.
For those who seek an abortion, delay in confirming the signs and symptoms of pregnancy can end up impacting on the type of abortion available. For instance, medical termination or termination via taking a pill is carried out only for pregnancies of less than nine weeks.
Just like pregnancy in adulthood, missing one or more menstrual periods is the classic sign of teenage pregnancy. However, this can be tricky for teenage girls as their periods may not have got regular yet. It becomes even more tricky for girls whose periods are off due to excessive exercise, dieting and if they suffer from anorexia. Having said that, as a rule of thumb, the following pregnancy signs can be looked into for teenage pregnancy.
Doing an at-home pregnancy test is another sensible way of getting to know about the pregnancy. Today’s home pregnancy tests are generally considered accurate. Moreover, these pregnancy-testing kits can be bought over the counter at pharmacy.
Pregnant teenagers have higher chances of having high blood pressure called pregnancy-induced hypertension. Moreover, they are at a high risk of preeclampsia, a serious medical condition that combines high blood pressure with excess protein in the urine. These medical conditions affect the pregnant teenager and she may be required to take medications to control the symptoms. It can also harm the unborn baby, leading to further complications like premature birth.
Seek proper prenatal care: As soon as you are confirmed to be pregnancy, consult a gynecologist without fail. If need be, seek the help of a counselor to help you locate the doctor.
As being pregnant at this tender age is quite traumatic, one should not resort to using intoxicants like alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. These harm the growth of the fetus more than the teenage mother. If you are not able to stop on your own, seek the help of a counselor.
In order to prevent birth defect, taking folic acid at the prescribed dosage is very important. Ideally, it should be started before getting pregnant.
Being pregnant at this age brings untold emotional and practical difficulties, especially if the girl is in school. Reach out to your parents, friends and family members who can be a pillar of support during these trying times.
The chances of delivering a good and healthy baby are high, if the teenager is healthy, especially if there is proper prenatal care and adoption of a healthy lifestyle. Having said that, it should be understood that we can eradicate this malaise from the face of earth only if girls are able to make their own decisions about their bodies and have access to healthcare services and education.
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