It is natural to experience a variety of emotions after learning your teenage daughter is pregnant. You will likely experience anger, upset, and disappointment, and you may even feel overwhelmed by the journey that lies ahead.
Despite your intense emotions, your child might also feel afraid and embarrassed. As her parent, you must try to help your teen navigate this overwhelming time in her life. Read the below tips on how to support your daughter during teenage pregnancy.
Attend the First Prenatal Appointment
Your daughter will need to attend her first prenatal visit at the start of pregnancy. Attend each appointment with her for support, as she may feel scared at the prospect of a full physical exam, as well as blood and urine tests. Plus, you could provide information regarding her medical history, family medical history, and more.
Also, a healthcare provider will discuss how many prenatal visits she must attend, the physical and emotional effects of pregnancy, and the bodily changes she can expect. Your attendance will ensure your daughter never misses an important appointment and has an in-depth understanding of what to expect over the next nine months.
Encourage a Well-Balanced Diet
As with any pregnancy, your daughter will need to adopt a well-balanced diet during pregnancy, which must include many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Your daughter can receive the nutrients she needs by consuming:
- Proteins (e.g., lean meat, fish, beans, and tofu)
- Folic acid (e.g., leafy green vegetables, peas, fortified cereals)
- Calcium (e.g., milk and other dairy items)
- Iron (e.g., spinach and red meats)
Also, you must ensure your teen regularly eats, as some may want to counter pregnancy weight gain by cutting calories, which is harmful to their unborn baby.
Monitor Her Mental Health
As your daughter might feel unprepared for parenthood and its responsibilities, she might experience various negative emotions, such as stress, frustration, and even anger. For this reason, you must monitor your teenager’s mental health during and after pregnancy.
Look for ways to help your teen manage her stress levels during pregnancy, such as encouraging relaxation exercises, walking outdoors, or embracing a hobby. Once your grandchild arrives in the world, pay close attention to your daughter’s mood and behavior, as she will have an increased risk of post-partum depression.
If she does develop a mental health disorder, consider rehab for teenage depression to help your daughter make a full recovery and enjoy a happier future.
Don’t Force Your Opinions onto Your Daughter
You mustn’t force opinions onto your daughter regarding her baby, her relationship with the father, or the public perception of her pregnancy. Despite being a teenager, your daughter is responsible for any parenting decisions she makes, which is why you must aim to provide guidance and support when possible.
Talk to your daughter about the different options available, and express you’ll stand by her side every step of the way. Your love and help could provide her with the freedom to make the right decisions for her needs.
Teenage pregnancies are a serious issue. Not only do they have a large emotional and physical toll on the mother and child, but they also have a significant impact on society.
In the United States, teenage pregnancies are the leading cause of pregnancy-related death among young women. Additionally, teenage mothers are more likely to experience poverty, abuse, and other negative outcomes.