BEWARE FOR TEEN PREGNANCY PROBLEM
If you are a teenage girl and have sexual activities, there is a chance to
be pregnant. The pregnancy signs for teens is not very different from the signs
and symptoms of pregnancy in adult women. While the following signs and symptoms
may help a teenager determine if she may be pregnant, the only way to know for
certain is to have your pregnancy diagnosed by a doctor. However, before seeing
a doctor, you may also take a pregnancy test. These tests are usually up to
Early Signs of Teen Pregnancy
There are many pregnancy signs for teens. In some cases these early signs of
teen pregnancy may occur for reasons other than pregnancy. For example, if a
teen is unusually stressed or active, she may experience one or more pregnancy
signs common in teens. Early signs and symptoms of teen pregnancy include:
- Missed period
- Nausea or vomiting
- Frequent urination
- Tenderness and fullness of breasts
- Changes in appetite
Although taking a pregnancy test is the most common way a woman tells she is
pregnant before seeking a medical diagnosis, these early signs are worth noting.
Things like stress or activity levels can create many of these signs, including
delaying a menstrual period or causing fatigue or changes in appetite.
Later Signs of Teen Pregnancy
As a pregnancy progresses, the signs and symptoms become more pronounced and
harder for teens to miss. Some of these pregnancy signs include:
- Enlargement of the abdomen
- Weight gain or loss
- Aches such as backaches or headaches
- Quickening (feeling of fetal movement)
- Pregnancy mask
- Food cravings
Trained medical personnel can also detect additional signs and symptoms of
pregnancy with a physical exam and other procedures such as an ultrasound. These
signs and symptoms include changes in the size and shape of the uterus, changes
in the cervix, or fetal heart signs or movements.
Risks For Pregnant Teens
As a pregnant teen-ager, you have a higher risk of:
- Premature labor and/or delivery (going into labor before the baby is fully
- Anemia (low iron levels in your blood)
- Preeclampsia (swelling, high blood pressure and protein in your urine)
- Having a baby with a low birth weight (less than five and a half pounds)
To help prevent these problems for you and your baby, be sure to eat right,
get enough calories in your diet, and gain the right amount of weight for your
body type. This is not the time to worry about gaining weight. Do not smoke
during pregnancy. Also, be sure to avoid alcohol and illegal drugs, and don't
take over-the-counter medications unless you have discussed them first with
your health care provider. Keep all of the regular checkups with your doctor,
so he or she can make sure things are progressing well for you and the baby.
It is important to know that you and your baby are growing normally.
Labor that starts before your 37th week of pregnancy (three weeks before your
due date) is called premature or early labor. It's important to know the signs
of premature labor. Most babies born prematurely do well, but sometimes they
have problems that can last for life, such as cerebral palsy or learning problems.
Getting regular checkups, not smoking while you're pregnant, and letting your
health care provider know if any of the following signs of labor are happening
are the most important things you can do to help prevent having a premature
baby. Call your doctor or health clinic right away if you have any of the following
during your pregnancy:
- Contractions: four or more in one hour, with or without pain
- Low, dull backache, pressure or pain
- Period-like cramps
- Pressure in your pelvis that feels like the baby is pushing down
- Cramps in your intestines, with or without diarrhea
- Discharge from your vagina: any change from your usual discharge, especially
if thick, watery or bloody
- Decreased movements of the baby; if the baby seems to be moving less and
you feel less than 10 movements in a 12-hour period
Preeclampsia (also called toxemia or pregnancy-related hypertension) is the
development of swelling, high blood pressure and protein in your urine during
pregnancy. Pregnant teens have a greater chance of developing preeclampsia during
their pregnancy. Symptoms include:
- Swelling of the hands or face when you get up in the morning
- Quick weight gain (more than two pounds per week)
- Having less urine when you go to the bathroom
- Feeling sick and/or throwing up
- High blood pressure
- Changes in your eyesight (flashing lights in your eyes)
- Pain in your lower belly
Though some swelling of the feet and ankles is normal during pregnancy, call
your doctor if you notice swelling in your face or hands.
Low Birth Weight Babies
Teen mothers are much more likely to have low birth weight babies, which can
result in serious medical problems, including underdeveloped organs leading
to lung, vision, intestinal and other problems.
Smoking during pregnancy is the most common reason for a low birth weight baby
and is one one of several habits that you need to control. Not eating right,
not gaining enough weight and not taking regular multivitamins are some other
reasons teen mothers have low birth weight babies. Drinking alcohol and taking
certain drugs during pregnancy can also result in a low birth weight baby.
Health Risks to the Baby
Teenage births create health risks for the baby including the following:
- Teenage mothers are less likely to gain adequate weight during their pregancy,
leading to low birthweight, which is associated with infant and childhood
disorders and a high rate of infant mortality. Low-birthweight babies are
more likely to have organs that are not fully developed, which can result
in complications such as bleeding in the brain, respiratory distress syndrome,
and intestinal problems.
- Teenage mothers tend to have poor eating habits and are less likely to take
recommended daily multivitamins to maintain adequate nutrition during pregnancy.
They are also more likely to smoke, drink, or take drugs during pregnancy,
which can cause health problems for the baby.
- Teenage mothers are less likely to seek regular prenatal care. Prenatal
care is essential for monitoring the growth of the fetus; keeping the mother
weight in check; and advising the mother on nutrition and how she should take
care of herself to ensure a healthy pregnancy. According to the American Medical
Association, babies born to women who do not have regular prenatal care are
4 times more likely to die before the age of 1 year.
Children Born to Teenage Mothers
In addition to increased health risks, children born to teenage mothers are
more likely to experience social, emotional, and other problems:
- Children born to teenage mothers are less likely to receive proper nutrition,
health care, and cognitive and social stimulation. As a result, they may have
an underdeveloped intellect and attain lower academic achievement.
- Children born to teenage mothers are at greater risk for abuse and neglect.
- Boys born to teenage mothers are 13% more likely to be incarcerated.
- Girls born to teenage mothers are 22% more likely to become teenage mothers.