Teenagers who are pregnant often face a stressful situation. They may want to keep the pregnancy a secret from everyone, even their parents and the father of the child. If you are a teenager and pregnant, you must tell at least one person: your doctor.
Though teen pregnancy is at a historic low in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of teen pregnancies are still unplanned, putting mom and baby at a higher risk for health problems.
Pregnant teens have a greater chance of dangerously high blood pressure or labor and delivery complications. Their babies are more likely to be born prematurely or at a lower birth weight, leading to complications like infections, breathing problems or neurological problems.
With proper prenatal care and support from a trusted doctor, you can increase your chances of having a healthy baby as a teenager. To have a safer, healthier pregnancy, you should follow these steps:
Seek confidential pregnancy care
As soon as you find out you are pregnant, you should try to find an OB/GYN to help you. In the state of Florida, you can seek pregnancy care without consent from your parents. Your OB/GYN does not have to tell your parents that you received care, so you can trust that your care is confidential.
At Women’s Care Florida, we encourage you to speak with a parent, legal guardian or trusted adult about your pregnancy if you feel it’s safe to do so. You may feel overwhelmed by your pregnancy and need the extra support for better health.
Begin taking prenatal vitamins
Prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid, iron and calcium help you stay healthy and support your baby’s growth. You should begin taking these vitamins every day as soon as possible if recommended by your doctor.
Start healthy habits—and get rid of bad habits
When you are pregnant, whatever enters your body affects your baby’s body, too. It’s important to develop good habits like going on walks every day and eating plenty of healthy foods. You’ll also want to drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine and get a full eight hours of sleep each night.
If you smoke or drink, you should stop immediately to help protect your baby from birth defects. If you have sex while pregnant, you should always use a condom to protect yourself and your child from sexually transmitted infections.
Attend all your doctors’ appointments
Your doctor will want to see you regularly to ensure you and your baby are healthy. Your doctor can also help you adopt healthy habits during pregnancy, deal with pregnancy side effects and help you prepare for labor and delivery. You may find it helpful to bring someone with you to these appointments so you feel supported.
Take childbirth and parenting classes
Many hospitals offer free or low-cost childbirth and parenting classes. These classes don’t just teach you how to breathe during labor. They teach you about feeding and bathing your baby, getting a baby to sleep and dealing with crying. You can keep taking parenting classes as your baby gets older, which can help you handle behavior problems and learn how to help your child grow up healthy and strong.
At Women’s Care Florida, our only goal is to keep you and your baby healthy. We provide a confidential, understanding environment for your care. If you are pregnant and have not met with an obstetrician, please schedule an appointment with one of our trusted OB/GYNs.