If you’ve decided to have a baby, the most important thing is that you care a lot, so that both you and the baby are healthy in the future. Girls who receive proper care and take the right decisions are highly likely to have healthy babies.
If you discover you are pregnant, see a doctor as soon as possible to begin receiving prenatal care (care during pregnancy). The sooner you begin receiving medical care, the better the chances that both you and your baby are healthy in the future.
If you can not afford to visit a doctor or pay for the consultation in a clinic for prenatal care, social service organizations exist that can help. Ask your parents, school counselor or another trusted adult to help you find resources in your community.
During the first consultation, the doctor will make a lot of questions, such as date of your last period. In this way, you can calculate how long have you been pregnant and what date you expect your baby.
Doctors estimate the duration of pregnancy in weeks. The due date is estimated, but the majority of babies born between 38 and 42 weeks after the first day of last menstrual period of women, or between 36 and 38 weeks after conception (when the sperm fertilizes the egg). Only a small percentage of women giving birth at the estimated delivery date.
The pregnancy is divided into three phases, or quarters. The first quarter runs from conception to end of week 13. The second is from week 14 to 26. The third, from week 27 until the end of pregnancy.
The doctor will examine you and perform a pelvic exam. The doctor will also order blood tests, urine tests and tests to check for sexually transmitted diseases (STD by its acronym in English), including an HIV test, an increasingly common condition in adolescents. (Because some STDs can cause serious health problems in newborns, it is important to get appropriate treatment to protect the baby.)
The doctor will explain what are the physical and emotional changes that are likely to experience during pregnancy. We also learn to recognize the symptoms of possible problems (complications) during pregnancy. This is essential, because teenagers are at greater risk of crossing certain complications such as anemia or hypertension, and give birth before the expected date (premature labor).
Your doctor will want to start taking prenatal vitamins containing folic acid, calcium and iron away. Your doctor may prescribe vitamins or can recommend a brand you can buy without a prescription. These minerals and vitamins help to ensure the good health of baby and mother, and avoid certain birth defects.
Ideally, you should visit your doctor once a month during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. Then you should visit every 2 weeks until week 36 and weekly thereafter until delivery. If you have a disease like diabetes, which requires careful monitoring during pregnancy, it is likely that your doctor wants to see you more often.
During consultations, your doctor will monitor your weight, blood pressure and urine, in addition to measuring your belly to go record the baby’s growth. When the baby’s heartbeat can be heard with a special device, the doctor will listen to every time you visit. It is likely that your doctor will also indicate other tests during pregnancy, such as an ultrasound to make sure the baby is in perfect condition.
Also part of prenatal care to attend classes where women who are expecting a baby learning how to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery, as well as what are the basic care for the newborn. It is likely that these classes are conducted in hospitals, medical centers, schools and universities in your area.
If adults can be difficult to talk to your doctor about your own body, this is even more difficult for adolescents. The role of your doctor is to help you enjoy a healthy pregnancy and have a healthy baby… and it is likely that there is nothing that a pregnant woman has not told. So do not be afraid to ask about everything you need to know.
Always be honest when your doctor will ask questions, even if they are embarrassing. Many of the issues that your doctor wants you to cover could affect the health of your baby. Think of your doctor as someone who is not only a resource but also a friend you can trust to talk about what is happening to you.
What changes can you expect in your body
Pregnancy creates many physical changes. Here are some of the most common:
Growth of breasts
The increase in breast size is one of the first signs of pregnancy and the breasts may continue to grow throughout pregnancy. It is possible to increase several sizes of support during the course of pregnancy.
Do not be surprised if people’s comments that your skin looks “glowing” when you’re pregnant: pregnancy produces an increased blood volume, which can make your cheeks are a little more pink than usual. In addition, hormonal changes increase the secretion of the sebaceous glands, so that your skin may look brighter. For the same reason, acne is also common during pregnancy.
Among other changes that pregnancy hormones generated in the skin are yellowish or brownish spots that appear on the face, which are called melasma, and a dark stripe running from the navel to the pubis, which known as linea nigra.
Also, moles or freckles that you had before pregnancy may increase in size or become darker. Even the areola, the area around the nipple becomes darker. Stretch marks may also occur (thin lines of pink or purple) in the abdomen, breasts or thighs.
Except for the darkening of the areola, which is usually permanent, these skin changes will disappear after delivery.
It is very common to experience mood swings during pregnancy. Some girls may suffer from depression during pregnancy or after childbirth. If you have symptoms of depression such as sadness, changes in sleep patterns, desires to hurt yourself or negative feelings about yourself or your life, ask your doctor for advice about starting your treatment.
Pregnancy can cause some unpleasant side effects. Among such disorders, include the following:
- nausea and vomiting, especially during the first months of pregnancy;
- leg swelling;
- varicose veins in the legs and the area around the vaginal opening;
- heartburn and constipation;
- back pain;
- fatigue and
- sleeping problems.
If you suffer from one or more of these side effects, remember that you are not alone. Ask your doctor for advice on how to handle these common problems.
If you are pregnant and have bleeding or pain, contact your doctor right away, even if you decided to terminate your pregnancy.
What you should avoid
If you smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs during pregnancy, both you and your baby are at risk for serious problems.
At present, doctors believe it is not advisable to drink a drop of alcohol during pregnancy. If you drink alcoholic beverages can damage the developing fetus and the baby is at risk for birth defects and mental problems.
Smoking during pregnancy carries some of the following risks: the birth of a dead fetus (when a baby dies inside the womb), low birth weight (which increases the possibility that the baby has health problems), infants infants (babies born before 37 weeks) syndrome and sudden infant death (SIDS for its acronym in English). SIDS is the sudden death for no apparent reason, a baby under one year.
Illegal drugs such as cocaine or marijuana during pregnancy may cause abortions, premature births and other health problems. In addition, babies can be born with an addiction to certain drugs.
If you have trouble quitting smoking, drinking alcohol or using drugs, ask your doctor to help you. Consult your doctor before taking any medication during pregnancy. This includes medicines sold over the counter, prepared herbal supplements and vitamins.
Talk to your doctor about sex during pregnancy. If your doctor allows you to have sex during pregnancy, you should use a condom to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD in English). Because some STDs can cause blindness, pneumonia or meningitis in the newborn, it is important for you to protect yourself and protect the baby.
How to take care during pregnancy
Many young people are concerned by the appearance of your body and fear of weight gain during pregnancy. But this is not the time to cut calories or go on a diet because you are feeding two people. Both you and your baby need certain nutrients for the baby to grow properly. If you eat a variety of healthy foods, drink enough water and you reduce the junk food, high fat, help to both you and the baby are healthy and growing.
Doctors generally recommend adding about 300 calories a day to the diet, so as to provide the baby with adequate nutrition growth. According to the weight you had before becoming pregnant, you should gain between 11 and 15 kilos (25 to 35 pounds) during pregnancy, mostly during the last 6 months. Your doctor will advise you about this depending on your particular situation.
Eat more fiber from -25 to 30 grams daily, and drinking enough water can help prevent common problems such as constipation. Fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads, cereals or whole wheat muffins are good sources of fiber.
It is necessary that you avoid some foods and beverages during pregnancy, such as:
- some types of fish such as swordfish, canned tuna and other fish that may have a high content of mercury (your doctor can help you decide which fish to eat);
- foods containing raw eggs, such as mousse or salad type “Caesar”;
- raw meat, fish or just cooked;
- processed meats such as sausages or cold cuts;
- Unpasteurized soft cheeses such as feta, brie, blue or goat, and
- milk, unpasteurized juice or cider.
It is also desirable to limit the consumption of artificial sweeteners and caffeine and artificial sweeteners.
Exercising during pregnancy is good for your health when you have no complications with the pregnancy and choose appropriate activities. Doctors generally recommend low-impact activities such as walking, swimming and yoga. In general, you should avoid contact sports and high impact aerobic activities that pose a higher risk of injury. It is also not recommended to do a job that involves heavy lifting for women during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about what kind of exercises are safe for you and your baby.
It is important to get plenty of rest during pregnancy. During the first months of pregnancy, trying to acquire the habit of sleeping on your side. As pregnancy progresses, lying on your side, knees bent, will be the most comfortable position. It will facilitate the functioning of the heart, since the baby’s weight will not exert any pressure on the vein that carries blood from the feet and legs back to the heart.
Some doctors specifically recommend that pregnant girls should sleep on his left side. Because some of the major blood vessels are in the right side of the abdomen, lying on the left side helps keep the uterus puts pressure on them. Ask your doctor what your recommendation. In most cases, the trick is to lie on either side, to reduce pressure on the back.
Throughout the pregnancy, but particularly in the later stages, it is likely that you wake up frequently at night to go to the bathroom. While it is important to drink plenty of water during pregnancy, try to drink more during the day instead of night. Go to the bathroom before bed. As the pregnancy progresses, you might be hard to find a comfortable position in bed. You can try placing pillows around and under the stomach, back or legs to feel more comfortable.
Stress can also affect sleep. Perhaps you’re concerned about the health of the baby, birth, or how it will play this new role of mother. All these feelings are normal, but can produce insomnia. Talk to your doctor if you have trouble sleeping during pregnancy.
It is common for pregnant adolescents experience a variety of emotions such as fear, anger, guilt, confusion and sadness. Maybe you take some time to adjust to the fact that you are having a baby. It means a huge change and it is natural for pregnant teens wonder if they are ready for the responsibilities involved in becoming mothers.
The feelings of a young often depend on how much support received by the baby’s father, his family (and family of the baby’s father) and his friends. The situation of each youth is different. Depending on your situation, you may need to seek more support for people who are not part of your family. It is important to talk with people who can support you, guide you and help you share and sort out your feelings. Your school counselor or nurse can guide you to find the resources offered to help your community.