When a girl below the age of 20 gets pregnant it is referred to as teenage pregnancy. Sometimes, if the girl is 10 years of age and has got pregnant, she is also included under the category of teenage pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy was very rampant in the ’90s, especially in America. However, the incidence of teen pregnancy has dropped drastically nowadays, thanks to sex education policies and the usage of contraceptives amongst youngsters. Teenage pregnancy could pose serious difficulty to the girl concerned. This is because most girls neither have the physical maturity or mental stability to deal with pregnancy and its after-effects. It takes immense responsibility to bring a new life into this world. It could become difficult for a teenage girl to deal with pregnancy.
Causes of teenage pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy mostly happens due to a lack of knowledge. Not being exposed to proper sex education at the right time leads to risky behavior from teen boys and girls. This in turn leads to teen pregnancy. Not having proper information on reproductive health, forced marriage at a young age, and being subjected to sexual exploitation can cause teenage pregnancy. Furthermore, trying to explore one’s sexuality without much guidance or education can also lead to unexpected teen pregnancy.
Effects of teenage pregnancy
Effects of teenage pregnancy are many and risky at the same time. Teen girls are neither physically ready nor mentally mature enough to carry on with the pregnancy. They are at a higher risk for high blood pressure, anemia, preterm birth, and low birth-weight in babies. Teen mothers are susceptible to depression and isolation. Additionally, teen mothers find it difficult to continue with school or work during and after pregnancy. This affects them financially too.
7 Tips For A Healthy Teen Pregnancy
Right and confidential obstetrical care
Right, and confidential obstetrical care is extremely vital to have a healthy teen pregnancy. Having proper guidance from the obstetrician on what diet to take, what medicines to pop in, and what kind of exercises to do, etc can help immensely. Going for regular visits, and screening your baby’s growth are some important steps in obstetrical care.
Consuming healthy and wholesome food
During pregnancy, the expecting mother’s need for essential nutrients increases manifolds, more so when the mother is a teen. It is vital to consume healthy food that is rich in iron, calcium, and folic acid. Teen mothers are at a higher risk of pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia, anemia, low birth weight, and pre-term birth in babies. Hence, they have to follow a strictly healthy and wholesome diet.
Eliminate bad habits
Eliminate the bad habits if you have any. If you have the habit of smoking, drinking, or taking drugs get rid of them immediately. Smoke and alcohol can cause congenital deformities in the unborn fetus making your pregnancy further complicated. Hence, steer clear of them out and out. Getting a good amount of sleep, limiting caffeine intake, and drinking plenty of water are some other habits that should be definitely inculcated.
Have protective sex
If you are sexually active never forget to use condoms. Try to have protective sex always to protect yourself and your baby from any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). STDs can be very serious and life-threatening to the unborn child. STDs like gonorrhea can cause miscarriage, pre-term birth, and sometimes premature rupture of membranes.
Be regular with your doctors’ appointments
Never miss and be regular with all your doctors’ appointments. This is important to ensure your and your baby’s health all through your pregnancy. Your obstetrician can help clear all your doubts and apprehensions. You will have a better knowledge of dealing with pregnancy blues, stress, and fear. Regular visits to your doctor will also help you prepare for labor and delivery.
Go for prenatal counseling
Go for prenatal counseling sessions, it is important. Teen girls who are pregnant already face a lot of stigma, exclusion, and judgments from people around them. The pregnancy hormones when added to these can prove devastating to their mental well-being. Hence it is highly advisable to go for counseling. Counselors can help the girls accept their situation and tackle their challenges confidently. Many hospitals have this facility included in their package which you should make use of.
Go for pregnancy classes
Pregnancy classes will teach you many things that include handling labor, delivery, and other things that follow up. They give information on feeding, bathing, putting the baby to sleep, and much more. Attending these classes could build confidence in you and ward off fear.
Becoming pregnant and going through the challenges that it throws could be difficult in your teen years when you yourself are not mature enough. Coupled with the pregnancy challenges, the stigmas surrounding it can make things tougher for a young girl. Teen mothers need support, understanding, and acceptance from their near and dear ones. Following the above-mentioned tips could also be of great help when dealing with teenage pregnancy.