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How to Support Your Child through a Teenage Pregnancy


Teenage pregnancy happens every day in the United States; nearly a million teenage girls and teenage boys get involved in pregnancy. As a parent, you may be feeling a wide range of emotions--shock and worry to disappointment and grief. Other parents feel guilty for not protecting their child enough while others get embarrassed. Whatever your feelings are, once you find out that your teen's carrying another child, recognize that it's a difficult phase not only for your child, but for the entire family. This is one of those moments when your teen needs you the most. Find out below how you can show your support.

Medical Visits

Right after learning that your child's pregnant, take her to a health care provider for a full physical exam and assessment. She will be screened for sexually transmitted diseases and exposure to mumps, measles and rubella. The health care provider will also tell her physical and emotional changes to expect and how to deal with them. Your teen may be advised to take some supplements such as calcium, iron and folic acid. If it's your teenage son who's involved in teenage pregnancy, ask him if his partner has visited a health care provider recently.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes

Pointing out diet and lifestyle changes is also important. This includes putting a stop to smoking habits, not using drugs, no alcoholic drinks and avoiding excessive caffeine. Unsafe sex practices should also be avoided as well as poor hygiene. Getting enough nutrients for your teen and the child she carries should be one of your priorities. Aside from a balanced diet, ask the health care provider about proper nutrition and prenatal vitamins.

Offer Acceptance

Do not let your child feel rejected or unwanted. As a parent, you have to understand that mistakes happen and your child has made a mistake. Being hostile will only make matters worse. Although animosity may be your initial reaction, unconditional love for your child and your soon-to-be grandchild will definitely follow through.

Talk about Options

One of the questions that you and your teenage child need to tackle once she knows that she is pregnant is whether she'll keep the baby or not. Is she willing to give up the child for adoption? Does the partner have a say on what she should do? Will she continue with school? Will the partner be involved throughout her pregnancy? Who will financially support the baby?

You also need to set your teen's expectations. Tell her about the level of commitment and involvement you can offer. You can fully support your teen or let her do her part by working part-time right after she gives birth. Some teens raise their child alone or with some involvement from their partners.

Whatever arrangements that you and your teen have agreed upon, it is important to talk about what her options are as early as possible. It is also important to let your teen understand that parenthood requires lifelong commitment, patience and responsibility. 

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