What should you do if you’re only 12 and pregnant? How to explain everything to your parents? And what are the risks of such an early pregnancy?
12-year-old girls are usually still playing with dolls and braiding pigtails. It seems that there is nothing to worry about when they are so young. But some girls start playing adults too soon and don’t take the necessary precautions due to their inexperience. As a result, parents may suddenly be asked a question: “I’m 12 and pregnant: what should I do?”
Is It Even Possible To Get Pregnant At The Age Of 12?
Some of the adults will be confused: is it even possible for a 12-year-old girl to get pregnant? Experts say that as soon as a girl has her first menstruation her body is physiologically ready for pregnancy.
What Is The Best Age For Giving Birth To Your First Child?
Experts’ opinions on this point differ. Psychologists admit that the best age for giving birth to the first child is 28-35. By this time a woman has started a family, got a place to live and an education, accomplished some of her career ambitions. She’s getting tired of loud parties and wants peace and quiet, and all the comforts of home. This is the right time for carrying a baby.
But from gynecologists’ point of view, the best reproductive age is 20-25 when puberty has completely ended, the hormonal background has stabilized, and there are no chronic diseases.
Signs And Symptoms Of Teenage Pregnancy
- A missed period;
- Morning sickness, strange taste preferences;
- Mammary gland changes, starting from the 8th-12th week of pregnancy. The breasts are swollen and tender. The nipples may change color;
- Frequent urination;
- Increased basal temperature (basal temperature is measured rectally with the help of an ordinary thermometer);
- Gradually growing belly;
- Copious vaginal excreta;
- Exhaustion, fatigability, sleepiness;
- Raised body temperature due to the hormonal background changes and accelerated metabolism.
Delivery or Abortion: How To Choose?
In order to answer this question, consider the following points first:
- Is the father of the child ready to take full responsibility? Is he ready to start a family and provide for it?
- The term of pregnancy. During the first 12 weeks, an abortion can be performed. From the 12th till the 20th week there should be medical indications to use abortion.
- The pregnant girl’s state of health and age. First of all, there is a possibility that the girl’s organism can’t go through pregnancy: doctors should find out if the childbearing and delivery of the baby will be dangerous for her life. Secondly, an abortion may lead to future infertility. The doctors should estimate this risk as well.
- The girl’s mental health. Is she ready to give birth and become a mother at such a young age and bid farewell to her childhood?
If a girl is younger than 14, and the pregnancy term is less than 12 weeks medical experts usually come to a decision in favor of abortion. Though performing an abortion, in this case, presents some undeniable technical difficulties, doing so spares the girl a lot of serious health problems in the future (a full-term pregnancy, delivery, lactation) which may also entail risk.
In other teenage pregnancy cases, it’s better to make a decision in favor of a full-term pregnancy and delivery because the risk for the young pregnant girl’s health in case of abortion in the middle of the term is too great.
It’s important to remember the provision made in the 1930s: “Young age itself is not an indication for abortion”.
“How Should I Tell My Parents That I Am Pregnant?”
If you have found out you’re pregnant at an early age you must tell adults about it (preferably your parents). It doesn’t make any sense to discuss the matter with someone your own age – they don’t have the necessary knowledge and experience as well as the means to help you.
At first, bring the news to an adult person you have built a relationship of trust with. It can be your mother, aunt or granny, your teacher, your mother’s friend. Explain everything to them and consider all the options. Discuss what you can do right now, how you should confess to your parents, and if there is a way out of this situation.
Don’t be scared to bring this problem to an adult’s attention no matter what! And don’t postpone it – time is of major importance for you right now. First of all, pregnancy or miscarriage at an early age may become a health-threatening condition, so you should be under medical observation. Secondly, if you don’t want the baby an abortion may be safely performed only before the 12th week of pregnancy.
12 and Pregnant: Psychologists’ Advice
Most of the young girls aged 10-14 years are not ready for a full-term pregnancy, giving birth and caring for a newborn baby either physically or psychologically. At this age, a girl should go to school, choose her future profession, meet with her friends, and learn to keep the house. That’s why if the term of pregnancy and the girl’s health allow it’s better to perform an abortion.
If for some reason a girl has decided to give birth she’d better stop going to school, for the time being, have a lot of rest, and prepare for the upcoming maternity. She needs to regularly attend an antenatal clinic for constant medical supervision.
Parents and relatives should support any choice the pregnant girl has made. Keep calm and don’t abuse your child verbally or physically! Children’s behavior and mistakes depend largely on how their parents treat them. Your daughter needs your help right now.
Why is it Dangerous To Give Birth?
When a girl is 12 and pregnant she may face the following complications during the delivery:
- Cephalopelvic disproportion when a baby’s head is too large to fit through its mother’s pelvis;
- Weak contractions leading to prolonged labor;
- Birth canal trauma;
- Hypotonic bleeding.
12 And Pregnant: The Aftermath
Pregnancy at a very young age has its peculiarities. A 12-year-old girl’s body is growing and developing actively. But when a girl is pregnant all the resources and strength of her body are spent on fetal development. Apart from that, pregnancy requires a lot from all the young girl’s organs and systems which have already been under pressure due to age specificities. Such pregnancies take a difficult course and are very hard for teenage girls because of their immature bodies. It’s always a true test for a girl who herself is still a child.
There is no doubt that pregnancy at an early age speeds up puberty. The estrogens and progesterone secretion is in no way inferior to that of adult pregnant women.
Teenage pregnancy is, as a rule, unplanned and unwanted. The length of gestation is 1-2 weeks less than that of adult women (about 38-39 weeks). A lot of young fathers are not ready to care for a family at such an age and thus run away from responsibility. As a result, a 12-year-old girl becomes a single mother.
Even if the baby’s dad does feel responsible for his child and its mother, the relationships between young people are usually not very stable, such marriages are often unhappy.
Some of the young mothers don’t have time to complete their education and that leads to doing low-paid work for the rest of their lives.
So, if you consider yourself an adult, don’t be afraid to take full responsibility for your actions. A well-timed conversation with your parents will help you to make the right decision and spare your health.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.