Young Women and Pregnancy
Being a young and finding out you are pregnant, especially if the pregnancy is unexpected and not wanted, can put enormous stress on a young woman and her family. However, once the pregnancy is confirmed the important thing is to support the young woman and to help her make the wisest choice for her. Support is available to help her decision regarding her teenage pregnancy.
Finding out you are pregnant can bring up many emotions. Every woman will feel different. Some women feel confused and scared, whereas others may feel happy and excited. All these feelings are normal and OK. Your feelings will probably also change while you are thinking about your options.
Parents, too, will have their own feelings and wishes, but it is the young woman’s life and things usually work out best if parents offer information and support but do not force her to follow their wishes. It is important that it gives young women adequate information about all their pregnancy options before they decide.
Unfortunately, many teenagers delay seeking advice when they are pregnant, perhaps hoping that it is not true. For those who continue with the pregnancy, these delays can mean missing out on important antenatal care. But it is important that you get medical attention. Teenagers have higher rates of complications in pregnancy and childbirth and are at higher risk of postnatal depression. It is also important that you eat properly and stop drinking and smoking during your pregnancy.
For those who choose termination, a delay in confirming the pregnancy can impact on the termination available.
If you are pregnant, there are four options for you to consider:
- Continue the pregnancy and raise your child with a partner
- Continue the pregnancy and raise your child on your own
- Continue the pregnancy followed by the adoption
- End the pregnancy (termination). The law is different in each state around how you go about getting an abortion and the age at which it allows you to make your own decision, without your parents. Speak to your doctor about this.
Different issues will influence every woman and affect the time needed to make their decision. The following questions may help you work out what is the best decision at this time in your life:
- Do you have support from the family or a partner?
- Can you work things out through the tough times?
- What does being a parent mean to you?
- Who can you call on to offer you support emotionally and financially?
- How will this decision affect your plans for the future?
- Where do you see yourself in one, two and five years’ time?
If you are considering having a termination, it is best to have this as early as possible but it is important to take the time to make the best decision for you.
It is your right to have:
- confidential care
- safe, non-judgmental care
- respect, whichever choice you make