Learning About Pregnancy Options for Teens
What happens now?
Finding out that you're pregnant can be confusing and scary. You might feel angry and overwhelmed. Maybe you're wondering what your choices are and how to decide what to do. Take a little time to think about your options. It's okay if you don't know what to do right now.
Your doctor may be able to help you think through your next steps. Or he or she may recommend a clinic that specializes in pregnancy counselling for teens. Be sure to follow up with your doctor or the clinic to get the help you need to make a decision.
What are your choices?
You have three choices. Your doctor may have examined you and estimated how long you've been pregnant. This may make a difference in which option you choose.
- You can choose to have the baby and raise your child.
- You can decide to have the baby and place the child for adoption.
- You can choose to end the pregnancy by having an abortion.
Are you ready to be a parent? Think about your life and your values. Being a parent can be wonderful, but being a teen parent can also be very hard. Raising a child means making a lifetime commitment that starts today. Think about these questions:
- Will you have money to pay for diapers, clothing, and food?
- Will you have help from your family or the father of your baby?
- Can you manage to still go to school or work while raising a baby?
- Do you feel okay about spending less time with friends-at the movies, parties, or hanging out?
- Do you think you can put your baby's needs before your own?
What about adoption? Many teens who make this choice are relieved to know that their child is being cared for in a good home. Others feel a sense of loss that lasts longer than they thought it would. Everyone is different, and your feelings about this decision may be different too.
If you decide on adoption, a pregnancy counsellor can guide you through the steps and the laws in your area. You may need to get the birth father's consent to plan an adoption.
Ending the pregnancy. Making the decision to end a pregnancy is never easy. And even after you do decide, it's normal to feel relief, sadness, or guilt. These feelings change from woman to woman.
If this is your choice, it's important to know that abortion is a safe and legal procedure. Talk to your doctor about what abortion options are available to you.
How do you talk to your parents about your pregnancy?
You're probably dealing with a lot of different feelings right now. Worrying about how your parents are going to react to your pregnancy might be one of them. But many teens find that parents can provide valuable advice and support as they decide what to do next.
Try to plan how you'd like to break the news. Maybe you'd like to talk with one parent first, rather than both at the same time. If you can, find a quiet time and place where you can talk in private, without being interrupted. It's okay to feel nervous or scared. Your parents might feel the same way.
If talking with your parents just isn't an option, think about talking with a teacher, a school counsellor, or another adult you trust. Or make an appointment to talk with someone at your doctor's office or local sexual health clinic.
When do you need to decide?
If you decide to continue the pregnancy, talk with your doctor as soon as possible. It's important to start taking good care of yourself. Your health in the early weeks of pregnancy is especially important for your baby's health. Anything you do that harms your body can also harm the baby.
Your doctor or midwife will give you more information on how to have a healthy pregnancy and what to expect in the coming months. Regular checkups will help keep you and the baby healthy.
If you're thinking about abortion, you will need to decide soon. Abortion is safe, but risks increase the longer a pregnancy lasts. The type of abortion you have will also depend on how many weeks pregnant you are. Your doctor can talk with you about what options are best.
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