My Baby is Having a Baby
It may seem hard to believe that someone can have a child when you still consider them to be a child, but teen pregnancy does happen.
It can be emotionally draining and very upsetting to find out that your teenager is pregnant. Most parents feel the urge to punish their teenager as they would punish a child. If you've already tried this, you may realize it doesn't help the situation much. Your teenager has some very important decisions to make, and it is best to set a mature example for them to follow.
While it is normal to be upset and express anger at your teenager, try to keep things in perspective. Your child is probably terrified and is in need of some grown-up help. You can't turn back the clock and prevent the pregnancy from happening, so help your teen deal with the situation by providing support. Assist them in getting the information they need to make the right decision and offer emotional comfort.
The Emergency Contraceptive Pill
If your daughter comes to you within a day or two of having unprotected sex or if her birth control failed and she would like to prevent a potential pregnancy, one option is the emergency contraceptive pill (ECP). This is a pill that can be taken up to 120 hours after having unprotected intercourse. ECP is about 75% effective at preventing pregnancy and is more effective the sooner it is taken. The pill can prevent pregancy at three different stages. First, it can prevent an egg from being released from the ovaries. If the egg has already been released, then ECP can stop fertilization from taking place. Lastly, ECP can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine lining.
However, ECP cannot help your daughter if she is already pregnant; ECP will not cause a miscarriage or an abortion. Many people often get ECP mixed up with RU-486. RU-486 is a pill that is used to induce an abortion and is prescribed by a doctor only when a woman has decided to end a confirmed pregnancy during the first nine weeks.
If your daughter would like to take ECP, she will need to get a prescription for the pill from her health care provider or you can take her to a sexual health clinic or walk-in clinic.
A Missed Period
Perhaps your daughter has waited a bit longer to approach you. She has now missed her period and is wondering if she is pregnant. Resist the urge to panic. Buy her a pregnancy test or take her to her health care provider to get tested (click here for more information on pregnancy tests).
Remember that it is important to wait until she has actually missed her period before she performs a pregnancy test. If she gets tested too early, she may get an inaccurate result.
Her Pregnancy Test is Negative
If the test is negative, don't just sigh a breath of relief and pretend like the incident never occurred. Take the time to talk with your daughter about what happened. If she had unprotected sex, encourage her to be more responsible in her future sexual relations by using birth control. Explain that condoms should be used every time, not only to help prevent pregnancies, but also to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs or sexually transmitted diseases). Ideally, condoms should be used along with some other form of birth control, like a spermicide, diaphragm, or the birth control pill.
If your daughter (or niece or son's girlfriend or granddaughter or neighbor's daughter…) comes to you for help, talk with her about her options. Remember that she has chosen you as someone she trusts and can turn to for support in a difficult time, so do your best to be level headed.
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