May is teen pregnancy awareness month in the U.S., but regardless of what month it is, it's always important for people to be aware of teen pregnancy issues, and for teens to have access to information on how to both prevent pregnancy and what to do if they discover they are expecting.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011, more than 329,000 babies were born to women between the ages of 15 and 19. While the numbers of teens giving birth have declined in the past few years, there are still many teens having children, and it's important for them to have the information they need to give birth to a healthy baby. If you're a teen and you've recently discovered you're pregnant - don't panic. Take a deep breath, and follow these tips.
Know your options - The Paolo Alto Medical Foundation states that pregnant teens need to understand their options. They can choose to become parents, give the baby up for adoption or have an abortion. If you haven't made your decision yet, then you may want to seek out the help of your parents, the person who got you pregnant or a school counselor who you trust. This can be a very difficult choice to make, but the sooner you decide which path you want to go, then the sooner you'll be able to plan for the future.
Talk to your parents - One prospect that is probably the most frightening to you right now is talking to your parents. According to the Nemours Foundation, your parents' personalities play a large role in how they will react. Some parents may be angry at first and then understanding and supportive. You probably know your parents well enough to have a vague idea of how they will react. If you're concerned that your parents may react with extreme anger, then have a friend or trusted adult from school with you when announce the news. Start the conversation by letting them know you have something difficult to tell them, then explain that you're pregnant and give them some time to react. Listen to what they have to say, and then acknowledge their feelings and their right to be concerned and upset. Then, tell them everything about how you're feeling, so you can all deal with this as a family.
Take care of yourself - If you've decided to keep the baby or give it up for adoption, you need to keep yourself and your baby healthy. This means making an appointment with a doctor so that he or she can educate you on how to keep yourself healthy during your pregnancy calendar. You'll need to eat right, take prenatal vitamins and stay away from drugs and alcohol to make sure that your baby is safe and healthy.
Stay strong - The choice of what to do about your pregnancy is a personal one, and you shouldn't let anyone make you feel bad about it. You need to stay strong during this time and confident that you and your parents know what's best for your future. It's important for you to stay strong and only listen to people who are supportive and positive influences in your life. Being a pregnant teen can be difficult, but you can make things easier on yourself by ignoring those around you who are judgmental or critical of the choices that only you have the right to make.
Were you a pregnant teen? Do you have any tips you can share with others in this situation?