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Pregnancy Crisis Centre
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For Teens

Causes and Effects of Teen Pregnancy

You may be wondering about the causes and effects of teenage pregnancy. A teenage girl may become pregnant as a result of many different situations. Some teenage girls become pregnant while involved in long-term dating relationships. Other girls become pregnant after 'hooking up'. And, some girls may become pregnant as a result of a rape situation.
All teenage pregnancies are the result of sexual activity, whether voluntary or involuntary. No matter what measures are taken for birth control, the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy is abstinence from all sexual activity. Only abstinence is guaranteed to prevent teen pregnancy.

Common methods of birth control include:

  • the birth control pill or patch
  • condoms
  • intrauterine devices (IUD)
  • diaphragms
  • spermicides
  • cervical caps

    Each of these birth control methods can fail even when used correctly. However, studies show that teens are more likely to use birth control methods improperly, leading to a higher likelihood that they may fail and cause a teen pregnancy to occur.

    Effects of Pregnancy on Teens

    Facing an unplanned teen pregnancy can be hard. The effects of teenage pregnancy are not limited to having to decide whether or not to keep the baby, how to cope with motherhood or whether to make an adoption plan. One of the most immediate effects of teen pregnancy is how the growing baby changes a teenager's body as well as their lifestyle.

    Because a teen's body immediately begins the process of carrying a child and preparing for childbirth, a teenager needs to consider the effects that her physical activities may have on her developing baby. A variety of activities common to teens may have a negative effect on a developing baby:
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Smoking cigarettes or marijuana
  • Lack of sleep
  • Unhealthy eating patterns

    Other physical changes that take place as her uterus expands may impact things as simple as clothing choices or her ability to safely participate in sports. This means that an average teenage girl will need to speak with her doctor about what activities need to be limited during her pregnancy as well as what changes she might need to make to her diet.

    Emotional Effects of Teen Pregnancy

    Dealing with an unplanned pregnancy can be scary and confusing. Some of the emotions that you may encounter when facing an unplanned pregnancy are:
  • Initial excitement
  • Confusion
  • Fear
  • Resentment
  • Frustration

    It's a natural response for you to think about and want to protect the baby that is growing inside you. It is also natural for you to be scared and confused about how to deal with this unplanned pregnancy.

    Pregnancy Signs for Teens

    If you are a teenage girl engaged in sexual activities, there is a chance you may be pregnant. The pregnancy signs for teens do not differ much 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 99% accurate.
    If you think you may be pregnant, you may talk to us on 011 394 8560 or 083 56 26 106.

    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:
  • a missed period
  • nausea or vomiting
  • frequent urination
  • tenderness and fullness of breasts
  • fatigue
  • 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:
  • an enlargement of the abdomen
  • weight gain or loss
  • aches such as backaches or headaches
  • quickening (feeling of foetal movement)
  • pregnancy mask (discoloration of the facial skin caused by hormonal changes)
  • 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 and changes in the cervix.

    If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these pregnancy signs, you can get free, confidential help by calling us on 011 394 8560 or 083 56 26 106.