Teenage pregnancy: Helping your teen cope

Teenage pregnancy can have a profound impact on a teen's life. Help your daughter understand the options, health risks and challenges ahead.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Pregnancy can be one of the most difficult experiences a teenage girl ever faces. Understand how to support your daughter as she deals with teenage pregnancy.

Provide support

Teenage pregnancy is often a crisis for a young girl and her family, as well as the baby's father and his family. Common reactions might include anger, guilt and denial. Your teen might also experience anxiety, fear, shock and depression.

Talk to your daughter about what she's feeling and the choices ahead. She needs your love, guidance and support now more than ever.

Discuss the options

A pregnant teen has a variety of options to consider:

  • Keep the baby. Many pregnant teens keep their babies. Some marry the baby's father and raise the baby together. Others rely on family support to raise the baby. Finishing school and getting a good job can be difficult for a teen parent, however. If your daughter plans to keep the baby, make sure she understands the challenges and responsibilities involved.
  • Give the baby up for adoption. Some pregnant teens give their babies up for adoption. If your daughter is considering adoption, help her explore the different types of adoption available. Also, discuss the emotional impact.
  • End the pregnancy. Some pregnant teens choose to end their pregnancies. If your daughter is considering an elective abortion, discuss the risks and emotional consequences. Be aware that some states require parental notification for a legal abortion.

In addition to talking to you, encourage your daughter to talk about the options with the father of the baby and his parents or guardians, her health care provider, or a specialist in pregnancy counseling. Talking to a psychologist or social worker might be helpful, too.

Also, keep in mind that in some states, a pregnant teen is considered to be an emancipated minor who has the right to make her own decision about her pregnancy.

Jan. 10, 2015 See more In-depth