Teenage pregnancy is when a girl below 20 years of age becomes pregnant. This happens when they indulge in sexual intercourse willingly or not, for the first time or just on a frequent basis.

If you are a victim of rape, it is important to report the crime and take birth control pills immediately in order to avoid any unwanted pregnancy. In some countries birth control pills can be bought over the counter or given at the hospital. Do not put off these measures as it could affect you in the future.

Many teenagers do not plan to be pregnant but it does happen as many are indulging in premature sex. As teenage pregnancy is usually unplanned for, many teenagers do not know much about it. So what are the risks of teenage pregnancy? Teenage pregnancy:

  • The girls body may not be ready to carry the child.
  • Increases the chance of dropping out of school.
  • Teen mothers are more likely to end up as single parents than older mothers.
  • Makes teen mothers more likely to get depressed.
  • Increase in the risk of pregnancy related high blood pressure and other complications.
  • Risky for babies health with chances of premature birth and/or low birth weight.
  • Baby is at risk of birth defects if proper care is not taken by teen mother.
  • May lead to a lower standard of living for mother and child.
  • Is associated with higher alcoholism, drug abuse, lower education and reduced earning potential.
  • A lost youth and the beginning of a new lifestyle.
  • In some societies, teenage pregnancy can lead to alienation of the teen mother.
  • Loss of family and friends in that they may regard the teen mother to be a bad influence or just too embarrassed.
  • Potential lack in skills in managing pregnancy and motherhood.
  • Teen pregnancy can affect younger siblings in that they may be more likely to engage in premature sex.

Are you a sexually active teenager? Here is how to prevent teen pregnancy. 

  • The most effective way to avoid pregnancy is by abstinence, which means not having sex.
  • Taking contraceptives such as birth control pills and using condoms during sex can help prevent pregnancy and also the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
  • Keep in mind also that contraceptives are not 100% effective. Some work better than others so learn about the different options and use the best one.
  • Do not have sex just because your peers are having sex.
  • Learn effective steps and methods to prevent pregnancy.

Are you a teenage girl and just found out you are pregnant? Here are some tips you should follow:

  1. Start by thinking about your options and the consequences of those options. Will you abort? Keep the baby? Give the baby up for adoption? Joint parenthood? Choose what works best for you and your baby.
  2. Tell the man responsible for the pregnancy and ask his opinion and support towards the baby. If the babies father does not want to take responsibility, tell his parents or friends. You should not go through this alone. If you do not know the child's father, still take the next steps.
  3. Tell your parents about your pregnancy and about the person responsible for it, if necessary.
  4. Find the prenatal clinic near you and getting informed about the medical prices if necessary. Attend your clinic regularly during your pregnancy.
  5. Start to earn money and save it. This money will help you during the pregnancy, after the baby comes and also if need be, to find a new home.
  6. If you cannot earn enough money, seek help from your government on options available for young mothers.
  7. Slowly start to buy the needs for the baby so that you would not have to buy everything at once when the baby is born.
  8. Take extra care of your body by exercising and eating a balanced meal everyday. This will benefit your health and that of the baby.
  9. If you feel neglected, alone or depressed, seek support from either trusted friends, your family or get in a support group online.
  10. Plan for your future and remain hopeful about it, work towards your goals regardless of your choice to abort, keep the baby, give the baby up for adoption or joint parenthood.

Other steps you should take: 

  • Avoid smoking, alcohol or drugs.
  • Use a condom when having sex in order to avoid getting sexually transmitted infections that can harm you and your baby.
  • Get tested for HIV or any other STIs to improve your health and that of your baby.
  • Go to the prenatal clinic for care.
  • Take prenatal health vitamins to avoid birth defects.

Teenage pregnancy is a safety risk not only to the teenage mother but also to the unborn child. It is important for teenagers to avoid pregnancy but if and when a teenager falls pregnant must take extra care in order to protect their health and future as well as that of the unborn child.

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