Teenagers who get pregnant may be in shock about their pregnancy and unsure how to proceed. Many delay seeking prenatal care, or do not attend prenatal appointments at all during their pregnancy. But, prenatal care is an important part of maintaining a healthy pregnancy, as well as staying generally healthy as a woman. What do expectant teen moms need to know about prenatal care?
Statistically, pregnant teens are the most unlikely group of all pregnant women to receive regular prenatal care. This is ironic, because pregnant teenagers are also at the most risk of complications during pregnancy that would require the assistance and interventions of medical professionals. Complications that are particularly likely to strike teen moms include pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, pre-term labor, and iron deficiency anemia. It is best to seek prenatal care as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. This is true even if you are not yet sure what you want to do with your pregnancy and whether you want to parent, place your baby for adoption, or terminate the pregnancy.
In fact, prenatal care providers are often able to refer you to sources that can help you making these difficult decisions. And it is not just the baby's health that can suffer if you do not seek prenatal care, it is you, as well. Some pregnancy complications are life-threatening for mothers, or can leave long term consequences. These complications may have no immediate symptoms and need a medical professional to diagnose them. No matter what you are planning in the future, we recommend you make a prenatal appointment as soon as possible, eat healthily, quit smoking if you need to, and of course to not drink alcohol. You can also start taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid, which encourage a healthy pregnancy.