Promote proper prenatal care
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.
Prepare for the future
Teenage pregnancy often has a negative impact on a teen's future. Teen mothers are less likely to graduate from high school and to attend college, are more likely to live in poverty, and are at risk of domestic violence.
Children of teen parents also are more likely to have health and learning impairment conditions and are more likely to be neglected or abused. Girls born to teen parents are more likely to experience teenage pregnancy themselves.
If your teen decides to continue the pregnancy, address these challenges head-on. Discuss goals and how your teen might go about achieving them as a parent. Look for programs to help pregnant teens remain in school or complete coursework from home. Encourage your teen to take parenting classes and help your teen prepare to financially support and raise a child.
Remember, your love and support can help your teen deal with pregnancy and the challenges ahead.
Nov. 14, 2017
See more In-depth
- Chacko MR. Pregnancy in adolescents. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Oct. 17, 2017.
- Frequently asked questions. Especially for teens FAQ103. Having a baby. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Having-a-Baby-Especially-for-Teens. Accessed Oct. 17, 2017.
- Committee to Reexamine IOM Pregnancy Weight Guidelines, Food and Nutrition Board, and Board on Children, Youth and Families. Weight gain during pregnancy: Reexamining the guidelines. Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. http://www.nap.edu. Accessed Oct. 17, 2017.