When Your Teen Is Having a Baby

People feel all sorts of things when they hear their child is going to become a parent at a young age. You could feel shocked, disappointment, anger, and concern about your child’s future.

On the other hand, you might think it is wonderful and feel excited about becoming a grandparent. You are also likely to have mixed feelings, which is normal, but your feelings might change over time, especially as the time of birth comes closer.

If your teenage daughter is having a baby or your teenage son is going to be a father, your family life will go through lots of changes. The pregnancy might not be what you had expected, but you can play a big role in supporting a healthy teenage pregnancy and helping your child get ready to be a parent.

Your child is probably going through some intense and mixed feelings about the pregnancy and becoming a parent. If the pregnancy is planned, your child might be looking forward to parenthood, but if the pregnancy is not planned, your teenager might be pretty stressed about telling you and finding out how you feel.

All pregnant women need proper and timely antenatal care, but pregnant women under 19 years need extra care in pregnancy and during parenting. The earlier your daughter gets antenatal care, the more likely she is to have a healthy pregnancy.

The health professionals involved in your daughter’s antenatal care will talk with her about choosing healthy food, keeping active, managing stress, quitting smoking and alcohol, and stopping any other risky activities.

What your daughter eats is more important than how much she eats. Healthy eating is especially important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Your daughter needs energy from good food to support her baby’s health and growth as well as her own.

Your daughter might be uncomfortable with the way her body looks and feels while she is pregnant. But pregnancy is not the time to try to lose weight through dieting or intense exercise because this can be harmful to her baby. Your daughter might feel better about her changing body if she gets some new clothes that she feels good in.

Staying active can help your daughter feel better during pregnancy. It can improve mood, fitness, and sleep, boost energy and ease back pain. Healthy eating and physical activity during pregnancy might also reduce weight gain and diabetes.

Most things that your daughter eats and drinks in pregnancy will pass through to her placenta and then to her baby. She needs to avoid too many caffeinated drinks, like coffee, tea, and energy drinks and quit alcohol, smoking, other non-prescribed drugs, or prescribed drugs that are not approved by her health professionals as safe in pregnancy.

Some of the risks that pregnant teenagers and young mothers face are:

• emotional and mental health problems
• high blood pressure
• low iron levels, or anemia during pregnancy
• premature births
• babies born with a lower birth weight
• problems with breastfeeding
• substance misuse.

Healthy lifestyle choices and your support can help your pregnant daughter avoid or minimize these risks.