Early Teenage Pregnancy

For any underage girl, pregnancy in adolescence turns into a strong stress. Not only her physical health suffers, a serious restructuring takes place on a psychological level. The body of an 11-17 year old teenager has not yet fully developed to withstand the additional stress without consequences.  

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Causes of early teenage pregnancy 

Society supports the opinion that young girls become pregnant early due to their promiscuity, lack of sober thinking. This is an erroneous assumption. Showing aggression in such a situation, showing a dismissive attitude toward teenagers who face the problem, is not worth it. Pregnancy at an early age can be a consequence of a number of situations.  

Sex education. A formal approach is not tolerated in matters of parenting. When it comes to issues of sexual maturity, you need to be especially careful here. Often parents are embarrassed to touch on this topic, they cannot allocate enough time to talk to their daughter about sexual relations, talk about dangerous sexually transmitted diseases, explain how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy. If parents do decide to talk to their child, it usually ends up being one conversation. In fact, sex education should be continuous. An important role is played here by trust between parents and their daughter, adults should be available, without pressure to explain the physiological and psychological problems of early pregnancy, without embarrassment and reproaches to answer the child’s questions, even if they seem uncomfortable. Sometimes girls engage in sexual intercourse too early precisely because they feel a lack of parental attention, want to feel their own need, to feel the love and care they do not receive from their parents. 

Sexual liberation of society. Today, 18+ content is available to almost every teenager. The society does not prohibit the demonstration of sexuality, it is constantly fueled by advertising, the topic of sex is discussed in the film industry, bloggers write about it, there are programs on television, etc. Attempts by parents to limit access to such information by installing specialized computer programs are ineffective, because intrusive advertising messages and links to content of dubious content penetrate everywhere. 

Disregard for safety rules. Contraception is not a topic that teenagers are primarily interested in when they start their sexual lives. Yes, young people know about the need to protect themselves, but due to their age they are embarrassed to use basic contraception, lack sufficient skills in this matter, and sometimes even forget to take care of their own and their partner’s safety. 

Immaturity in relationships. One of the frequent reasons for early sexual activity is a girl’s desire to hold onto the man she loves. This kind of relationship is unhealthy, but it is the only way a girl can feel loved, feel wanted. Often teenagers are embarrassed to offer their partner contraception, which can end up in an unplanned pregnancy. 

There are also more terrible reasons for early sexual activity, related to violence, coercion to sexual intercourse. There are also many examples of girls who have sex because they are in love with their partner, and the couple is genuinely happy about the event after learning that they are pregnant. 

In any case, no matter what becomes the cause of the pregnancy, the girl needs to feel the support of her relatives. It is important that she can talk openly about her situation, without hearing from adults reproaches, insults. Parents should understand that emotions have no place in this issue, and that a girl who finds herself in such a situation is much scarier than an adult, already established in life.  

Signs of pregnancy in minors 

The first experience of intimate relations or unprotected sexual intercourse – this is one of the important reasons to go to the gynecologist. But girls due to circumstances do not take this step, they are afraid of condemnation by adults, do not want to listen to lectures from doctors, who sometimes speak rudely to young patients. When a girl trusts her mother and maintains close contact with her, in such a situation, it’s much easier to tell everything to a loved one, to go with him to the doctor, being sure that no one will give you offense. 

If a trip to the doctor is delayed, to establish the fact of pregnancy will help special medical tests. They are sold at any pharmacy, in large supermarkets they can be found in the intimate care departments. 

There are also objective signs that can determine the presence of pregnancy: 
 
   *Absence of menstruation (in certain cases, the method is not informative, since many adolescents are characterized by menstrual irregularities); 

   * Aggravation of the sense of taste and smell (because of this nausea often occurs); 

   *Increased sensitivity, thickening of the mammary glands; 

   * An increase in the abdomen’s volume;  

   * Vomiting, usually first thing in the morning;  

   * Excessive fatigue, weakness, sleepiness; 

   *Frequent urge to urinate; 

   * Mood swings, states close to hysteria. 

Peculiarities of the course of an adolescent pregnancy 

In an adult woman, the course of pregnancy is different from that of a teenager, whose body has not fully formed. 

The peculiarities of pregnancy at an early age include:  

* A high probability of complications in the process of carrying a fetus, due to which the girl should be monitored by several specialists at once. 

* A more careful management of pregnancy, as the gynecologist should not just monitor the patient, but plan her diet, select specialized medications for the healthy development of the baby. 

* Possible problems with breastfeeding, which arise due to the immaturity of the girl’s body. 

* High probability of premature birth, due to which teenage mothers are sent to the maternity hospital much earlier than usual – no later than 36 weeks of pregnancy. 

* In the case of a continuing pregnancy, the teenager is additionally recommended to see a psychologist. The task of the specialist is to help the girl adapt, accept her new role as a mother, to prevent her from panic and nervous breakdowns. 

Diagnosis of early teenage pregnancy 

Usually, teenage pregnancy is diagnosed at a late stage. This is due to the fact that up to 55% of girls do not even suspect their delicate position, or deliberately hide this fact. As a result, adolescents come for a consultation with an obstetrician-gynecologist at a late stage, and up to 11% of pregnant women do not register at all. 

Diagnosis of teenage pregnancy is no different from the procedures regulated for adult women. To confirm this condition, girls in the absence of menstruation are prescribed: 

* Gynecological examination. On the chair, the doctor palpates the uterus to determine its size, determines the softening of the isthmus, assesses the mobility of the cervix. With the help of mirrors, the gynecologist evaluates the condition of the mucosa, identifies signs of possible infections. 

* Ultrasound examination. It is the most informative and reliable way to determine if a woman is pregnant. During an ultrasound examination, the doctor determines the presence of the fetus in the uterus, assesses the condition of the placenta and membranes. Screening at different terms of pregnancy makes it possible to observe pregnancy in dynamics, and fetometry studies the development of the fetus. 

* Additional tests. To keep the future mother and baby safe, it is important to rule out the possibility of inflammation and infection. For this purpose, vaginal smears and bacterial tests are additionally taken for examination, diagnosis is made by PCR, TORCH, RIF, ELISA methods. 

What to do: keep or terminate the pregnancy? 

The final decision should only be taken after the girl has been examined by a gynecologist. The specialist will evaluate the health of the teenager, analyze the development of the pregnancy, its duration. 

Neither physiologically nor morally young girls are not ready for childbirth and motherhood. And no matter what decision is made, it is rarely possible to avoid the consequences. 

Deciding to terminate a pregnancy, you should remember a few things:  

  * Abortion is a serious psychological trauma; 

  * The probability of difficulties with the subsequent conception, up to infertility; 

  * Hormonal background is disturbed; 

  * Immunity falls, the endocrine system destabilizes; 

  * There is an increased risk of uterine puncture due to the underdevelopment of the uterus; 

  * There is a risk of serious inflammation; 

  * There is a possibility of incomplete removal of the fetal egg; 

  * The menstrual cycle is disrupted. 

If a girl remains pregnant, she may encounter the following problems:  

  * Changing the habitual way and rhythm of life; 

  * The need to take care of the baby, for which the girl is not morally ready; 

  * Psychological discomfort caused by the condemnation of other people; 

  * Lack of money, because not all parents are able to help, some refuse to help at all; 

  * Lack of maternal feelings for the child due to the girl’s emotional immaturity. 

Russian law establishes the right of choice for 15-year-old teenagers, so they can make their own decision about keeping or ending the pregnancy. 
 
Peculiarities of Pregnancy Management for Minors 

After determining whether a baby is pregnant and determining its exact due date, the doctor must advise the patient and her parents on the management of the pregnancy and methods of delivery. Considering various factors and based on the wishes of the expectant mother the following options are possible: 

  * Fetal delivery and natural childbirth. Pregnancy management for teenagers follows the same protocols and recommendations as for adult patients. Almost 90% of girls have a good chance of giving birth naturally. Only 10% of adolescents have severe pelvic narrowing and a mismatch of size with the baby’s head, which can cause preterm birth. 

  * Carrying a fetus and subsequent cesarean section. The young age of the patient should not be taken as an indication for caesarean section, the decision about such an intervention should be based on objective facts and is made individually in each case. As in adult women, adolescents are caesarean section only if they have obstructed labor that cannot be corrected conservatively, if there are signs of fetal hypoxia, or if the pelvis of the woman in labor is too narrow. 

During observation of a pregnant patient, the obstetrician-gynecologist’s task is not only to assess the health of the expectant mother and her baby, but also to influence the overall lifestyle. It is important to tell the teenager about the importance of a proper, balanced diet, to select a suitable diet for the girl and motivate her to follow a diet. The inappropriateness of alcohol, drugs, and smoking in this condition is discussed separately. It is also necessary to touch on intimate hygiene, talk about the need to prevent sexually transmitted infections, and psychologically prepare the young patient for the impending birth. 

To reduce the risk of complications, it is recommended that pregnant teenagers be admitted to an obstetric unit at 37-39 weeks of pregnancy. The prognosis for childbirth in most young girls is favorable. Considering the age and physiological characteristics of the body, the duration of pregnancy in girls averages 37.9 weeks, which is slightly shorter than in adult women.  

Preventing Early Childhood Pregnancy 

Talking to teenagers about contraception, telling them about sexual infections, the possible consequences of unprotected sex is important and necessary. However, because of their age, young people are careless about the topic, they live in the present, they do not think about the future, so they often do not give importance to such issues. 

Much more can be achieved if parents or other adults in the family can build a trusting relationship with the child. A teenager needs to feel supported by others, it is important for him to know that in any situation, he has someone to turn to and with whom to consult. It is understanding, unobtrusive participation in the life of a girl becomes the main factor that can keep her from an unplanned pregnancy.  

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What are the early symptoms of pregnancy? 

The very first sign is the absence of a monthly menstrual period. If it did not start on time, the delay is more than a week and the teen has had unprotected intercourse, it can be assumed that the pregnancy has occurred. 

2. Does an underage girl’s lack of menstruation always indicate pregnancy? 

No. The failure of the cycle can occur for various reasons, including gestation, stress, unhealthy diet, hormonal failure and various pathologies of the genital system. Only a doctor can make an accurate diagnosis. 

3. I think I am pregnant. How can I check it ?

The easiest way is to buy a few express tests at the drugstore and do them. If the result is 2 lines everywhere, you should take a blood test and be sure of a positive result

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