Teen Pregnancy

If you are a teen and pregnant, you already know that this is one of the most traumatic experiences that can occur in your life. You probably have already begun the emotional roller coaster ride that contains the ups and downs of fear and shame, and the pressure is enough to make you hurl. The daunting task of telling your parents and/or seeking help may seem overwhelming at this time, but once you get over that emotional hurdle, you will begin to calm down.

If you are embarrassed, you don't want anyone to know that is fine, but just don't deny the fact that you are pregnant and don't deny your baby the health care that he or she needs. You can't wish your pregnancy away, if you push it out of your mind and try not to think about it, you are still going to be pregnant. You will still need to see a doctor and start prenatal care. You have a few decisions that will need to be made as well about what you are going to do with the baby.

Some options

• To be a parent-do you want to be a parent? There are a lot of responsibilities involved in parenting that you will need to understand and accept if you choose to become a parent. Becoming a parent is a commitment that will last the rest of your life and entails the care of your child, loving your child, supporting your child in all his or her endeavors, being there for your child during the good and the bad times, and there is a significant financial responsibility as well. Raising a child takes more than just you; do you have family and friends who can assist you in this undertaking?

• You may also choose to place your baby up for adoption. If you choose adoption, you still have to go through the pregnancy. The world of adoption isn't as scary as it once used to be, you can actually meet the prospective adoptive parents and they have what is called an 'open adoption' where you can monitor the progress of your child and even meet your child as he or she grows up. It helps to eliminate some of the emotional stress that accompanies the loss of your child when adoption occurs.

Another thing to remember is that when you are pregnant it is very important that you eat right. Your eating habits will affect both you and your unborn baby. If at all possible you should discuss your diet with your doctor. You are going to gain weight and that's okay, you're supposed to. You are eating for two and need to adjust your diet to meet the needs of both of you. You can still exercise, but discuss that with your doctor as well.

You will need to avoid caffeine, smoking, alcohol and drugs; these can affect the development of your baby as well as risking your health and that of your baby's. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor questions, get lots of rest and don't skip any of your doctor appointments. And if you haven't talked to your parents yet, now is a good time, you need to get it out and they can't help you if they don't know what is going on. So go, talk!

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