Pregnancy is a really big deal. Whether you plan for it or not, questions and concerns about the future and anxiety about what to do next can feel overwhelming. At myHealth, we support young people and the adults who care about them as they try to figure out how to deal with all the “what ifs” and “how tos” related to pregnancy.

Testing

Wondering if you are pregnant? The tricky thing is some pregnancy symptoms can be confused with stress or illness-related causes, so you never really know for sure unless you have a positive pregnancy test.
 
These tests are very accurate when used correctly. You can also make an appointment to have a pregnancy test done at myHealth.
 
Tip: The best time to take a pregnancy test, whether it’s purchased at a store or done at a clinic, is 2 weeks after a missed period. The best time of day to take a test is first thing in the morning, when urine is more concentrated.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of an early pregnancy are (some women may have just one or all of these):
  • A missed period is the most obvious signal a woman may be pregnant, however, stress and illness can cause a late or skipped period, too. Some women complain of light “spotting”- this usually looks different than a typical period, though
  • Tiredness or fatigue is a common early pregnancy sign. Do you feel like taking a nap any time of day? That could be the increased hormones talking
  • Tender or swollen breasts are frequently noticed when bumped or running up stairs
  • An upset stomach. You could have nausea, be “burpy” or vomit any time of day
  • Increased urination. Do you have to go to the bathroom more than usual
  • Mild cramps (similar to a period) or headaches may be noticed

Most of these symptoms go away after the body gets used to the pregnancy. However, you will probably be going to the bathroom a lot more than you ever did before.

There are so many things to consider when you’re pregnant. Congratulations if this is what you were hoping for at this time in your life! And if it wasn’t exactly planned, hang in there. There are lots of decisions to make, conversations to be had and stress to be dealt with. Here are some tips on the next steps to consider. First, take a DEEP BREATH and try to relax. Pregnancy is a big deal and there are lots of things to think about, but you don’t have to know what to do right away.

First Steps

  1. Who’s your support person? It’s time to talk with a parent, trusted adult, friend, the father of the baby, or professional about the pregnancy. If this is an unplanned pregnancy, this may seem really hard to do. You might worry the concerned adults in your life will be really disappointed, or the father of the baby will freak out. Chances are, anyone close to you will be a little shocked with this information. But you need to start somewhere. You should not deal with this alone–you need some support.Tip: How to tell someone “the news”: Find a time and place where you can talk privately with your support person. You can bring a friend or other adult along to sit beside you if you think that might make it easier. Start by saying you have something really important to say. Then, just tell him/her. Expect some shock. Take a deep breath. Remember, it took you a while to get used to this, too.
  2. Make healthy choices. As you start to think about what to do next, now is the time to eat healthy foods and avoid chemicals (like tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or prescription medications unless approved by your health care provider). You could start taking a prenatal multivitamin (available at any pharmacy without a prescription- save the receipt because you might get reimbursed). Drink lots of water ~ 8-10 6 oz. glasses a day.Tip: Eat mini-meals throughout the day (especially if you have an upset stomach- it actually makes it feel better). One meal might be wheat crackers with some meat and cheese, another might be yogurt with fruit and then the next may be salad or soup and a roll. Keep a water bottle filled up and with you all day to remind you to DRINK! If you squeeze some lemon in the water it can help reduce nausea.

Next Steps

There are some decisions to make. Not today or tomorrow, but sooner rather than later. You know yourself best. What are your values, beliefs, and life situation? Take time to learn about all the things that need to be considered when you’re pregnant. There are 3 legal options for pregnant women in MN.
Tip: Some things to consider (maybe even write down) as you think about this are:
  • How do you feel about being pregnant now? How do you think you would feel about being pregnant in the future?
  • Before you found out you that you were pregnant, what did you plan on doing next year? The year after that? In five years? Ten?
  • Have you ever had hopes and dreams for yourself? A vision of what you want your future to be? How does your pregnancy fit in with those?
  • What are your future goals and plans? Finish high school? College? Job training? Career? Travel?
  • Have you thought before about whether you want to be a parent or not?
  • What are your hopes and dreams for a child that you may give birth to?
  • How mature do you feel? Enough to be solely responsible for the health and well-being of a child? Do you think you are ready to be a parent or will the arrival of the child force you to be ready?

Talking to the father of the child

If you’re the pregnant woman, seriously consider telling the man who helped create this situation. You know your situation best, so if that’s not a safe thing to do, then don’t. The experience of an unplanned pregnancy can be overwhelming to the man who fathered the baby, too. He may feel shocked by the news. He may even question if he’s really the father.
He may not know how to talk about his feelings and concerns, or even feel like anyone cares about what he thinks. The man involved with the pregnancy should play an active and positive role in supporting you and in helping you to make the best decision for both of you. Be honest about how you feel. You have a lot to consider right now. If he is genuinely concerned about whether or not he is responsible for this pregnancy, he deserves more information.
 
Tip: If you are the father of the pregnancy, try to take some responsibility for the decision making process–get educated, talk to your support people, think about your personal situation, values, and beliefs. Ask yourself some of the questions listed above. Be honest and true to yourself.

Talking to your parents

Whether this was planned or not, your parent(s) would probably really like to know about a pregnancy. Consider telling him/her sooner than later. Just think, do you want your parent to find out from a friend’s parent, the grocery clerk, or yourself? Yeah, the reaction from a parent might feel awful at first, be prepared for that. Remember, it took you a while to get used to this information, too.
 
Tip: You know your family best, if it’s really unsafe for you to talk to a parent about this, either bring another adult or friends with you or discuss what to do next with a professional.
Learn about our Becoming Program for pregnant and parenting teens!
Becoming Program