Teen Pregnancy

Teen pregnancy can be like arriving at a destination without knowing how you got there. Interestingly enough, how you got there doesn’t matter. You’re pregnant and there’s no turning back. Teen pregnancy may seem like a dead end but in reality is a shortcut into parental responsibilities. 750,000 teens between the ages of 15-19 get pregnant each year. 82% of teen pregnancies are not planned and of all unplanned pregnancies, 20% are teens. Teenage mothers make up 11% of births in the United States. These statistics show that teen pregnancy is not uncommon. It can be hard for a pregnant teen to face the realty of becoming a mother on such a lonely road ahead that once seemed so far away. Once the warning signs have been ignored and a teen is faced with teen pregnancy, important choices need to be made. Talking things through and confiding in a friend or parent is a necessity for making rational decisions.

Teen Pregnancy Reality

One of the first things a teen should do when she finds out she’s pregnant is practice good nutrition. There is a higher risk for babies born to teenage mothers. Eating healthy and avoiding alcohol, drugs, and tobacco can increase the chance of a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal care is vital for all pregnancies but especially important for teens. The realization for a teen when they discover they are pregnant can cause unprecedented stress and embarrassment, which in turn may cause problems with a pregnancy. Reducing this stress as much as possible can lead to a healthier pregnancy. Dwelling on the unplanned pregnancy is wasted time that could be better spent on receiving counseling and love from interested parties. Whether the teen chooses to raise the baby or place in adoptive care, good prenatal care allows the baby to live a healthy, normal life. There are many options and one "exit" on the path of teen pregnancy. Terminating the pregnancy would allow the teen to “exit” the responsibility of parenthood but could create emotional problems down the road if decided upon too quickly. On the other hand, choosing to continue with the pregnancy can allow more options for the teen making it easier to choose the best route to take.

Teen Pregnancy And Options

Continuing the pregnancy allows the teen to raise the child as a single parent, include the father and raise the child together, raise the child with money support from the baby’s father, raise the child with help from parents, or place the baby for adoption. There are many questions the teen should ponder when making this important decision.

  • Am I ready to be a parent?
  • What are my skills for supporting this child?
  • What will my family think of my decision?
  • Will the father help support my decision?
  • Will I be bringing up this child alone?
  • Am I ready to give up my freedoms as a teenager to parent a child?
  • Do I feel prepared to take care of a child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
  • How will raising a child affect my relationship with my friends?
  • How do I feel about adoption?
  • Would I want to have contact with the adoptive family in the future?

Seeking counsel and guidance from persons they trust, can be of great help for the pregnant teen but ultimately it is their decision. Learning all they can about the different options or "maps" for a healthy destination for the baby can prove to be worth all the travel time in the world.

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