If your teenage daughter is pregnant, she might be afraid to let you know. That being said, there are a number of symptoms you can watch out for, such as changes in mood and behavior that could indicate pregnancy. If you suspect your daughter has become pregnant, take the time to discuss your concerns with her. Remember, the only way to know for sure that your daughter is expecting a baby is to take a pregnancy test. Therefore, it is essential to make the decision over time to see a doctor or buy a pregnancy test at a pharmacy if you are in doubt. If your daughter is pregnant, support her and help her make good decisions for the future.
Part 1 of 3: watch for symptoms
Step 1. Consider your daughter's background
When you suspect that she is pregnant, take a break and start thinking about her history. If you have reason to believe she is sexually active, then she could be pregnant.
- Has your daughter told you about becoming sexually active in the past? Does she have a boyfriend?
- Has she already had inappropriate behavior in the past? If she has a habit of sneaking out or using drugs, then she might engage in things like unprotected sex.
- However, keep in mind that these are only general guidelines. Any teenage girl can get pregnant if she is sexually active. You can't tell if a girl is expecting a baby just based on her background and character. Always take other signs into account.
- Also be aware that if your daughter is afraid to tell you that she is pregnant, she is less likely to speak openly about her sexual history.
Step 2. Watch for physical symptoms
There are many physical signs that you may notice on your daughter early on that could indicate pregnancy. Watch for sudden changes in her behavior if you suspect she has become pregnant.
- A change in appetite. Pregnancy often causes food cravings and / or nausea, the latter usually being experienced during the first trimester and can lead to vomiting and / or be triggered by certain flavors or smells. You may notice that your daughter eats unusual foods, that she eats more (because she needs nutrients for the fetus) or less (because morning sickness, if she has it, can lead to poor appetite.) than usual or that she rejects foods she usually likes.
However, if she refuses a food that she normally likes and it isn't mealtime, she probably isn't hungry. If she is nervous, it is normal for her to lose her appetite or even feel nauseous. However, if the above symptoms worsen or are accompanied by other more intense symptoms, your daughter could be pregnant. But beware, nausea and loss of appetite sometimes hide illness, although your daughter would normally have other symptoms if she was sick
- Increased fatigue. Fatigue is a common early symptom of pregnancy. Your daughter may frequently complain that she is tired and take naps more often. It can also mean that she is sick. But then again, there would probably be other symptoms (like a fever) if it were. Fatigue can also be caused by a lack of sleep.
- Many women urinate more frequently while expecting a baby. If you suddenly notice that your daughter is using the toilet more and more, it could be a sign that she has become pregnant.
Step 3. Take an interest in her personal hygiene
Check to see if she has used her feminine hygiene products. If you have such products in your home, like tampons and pads, you might suddenly notice that you don't replace them as frequently. This could indicate that your daughter has stopped using them. A missed period is usually the first sign of pregnancy.
Keep in mind that many teenage girls need a few years to establish a regular menstrual cycle. In addition, certain factors such as stress can cause hormonal changes that cause a missed period. Although not using personal hygiene products can be a sign of pregnancy, there are other factors you should consider before jumping to any conclusions
Step 4. Pay attention to his mood
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect mood. Many women become increasingly emotional during pregnancy and may experience mood swings. These effects are usually magnified in adolescent girls because of the social pressures that young girls experience when expecting a baby.
Teenage girls are often prone to mood swings. However, this is due to the hormonal changes that occur during puberty as well as the stress resulting from school and social life. If you notice any changes in mood, watch for other signs of pregnancy before concluding that your daughter is pregnant
Step 5. Take an interest in how it looks
Look for subtle changes in her physique. These kinds of changes usually occur later in pregnancy. However, each body is unique. If your daughter is small, you may notice weight gain in her. She may also suddenly start to wear loose clothing to hide changes in her body.
Step 6. Look for changes in his behavior
If your daughter is pregnant, it can affect her behavior. Her behavioral changes may be the result of emotional stress, mood changes related to pregnancy hormones, or attempts to cover it up. You might notice that she:
- dresses differently than usual (for example, she wears loose or bulky clothes);
- hides in their bedroom more often than usual;
- acts in secret;
- socializes differently (for example, spending time with a new boyfriend or a different group of friends).
Part 2 of 3: chatting with your daughter
Step 1. Prepare for a conversation
If you think your daughter is expecting a baby, you should talk to her face. The only way to find out is to get her to take a pregnancy test and see a doctor. Take the time to prepare before asking your daughter if she is likely to be pregnant. Where and how you hold the conversation can make a huge difference and determine whether your daughter is ready to open up to you.
Pick a time to talk to your daughter when you know you and she won't be too busy or stressed by other concerns and obligations. For example, you can take her aside on a Friday night after dinner, when she isn't worried about doing last-minute homework
Step 2. Write down your feelings
Anytime you're about to have a difficult or emotionally draining conversation, you need to make sure you've planned everything you want to say. You don't have to read a script when talking to your daughter. However, you will need to have some idea of what to say and how to do it beforehand. Take a few minutes to write down your thoughts and feelings before the conversation begins.
Step 3. Start the conversation with compassion
If you use the discussion as an opportunity to make judgments or show disdain for your daughter, she may no longer be willing to open up to you. Therefore, make an effort to put yourself in his shoes. Remember your teenage years. Make an effort to understand where your teenage life was similar to your daughter's, and what are different.
You will certainly remember all the excitement and pressure that comes with being a teenager. Is there anything that differentiates your daughter's experience from yours? Was she under any pressure that would have contributed to her getting pregnant?
Step 4. Start the conversation without having any expectations
Do not talk to your daughter hoping that she is immediately willing to accept your help. However, don't start this discussion expecting an argument either. If you prepare for a certain outcome, you will have a hard time resizing your location if something different happens. You don't know how your daughter will react when you ask her if she is expecting a baby. For this reason, do not try to guess anything. Prepare as best you can and start the conversation without any special expectations.
Step 5. Ask without judging
Remember, you want to show your daughter that you respect her. Even if you are upset about the situation, passing judgment will only drive her away from you. If she is indeed pregnant, you need to get her to see you as someone who can help and guide her through her pregnancy.
- For starters, don't assume anything at all. Start the conversation by telling yourself that your daughter had a good reason for making the decisions she made. Even if the reason does not seem valid to you, your daughter probably thought the opposite at the time of her act. Do not be hasty in judging the situation or the attitude of your teenage daughter. Even if you think that she got pregnant is irresponsible of her, try to put that judgment behind you. It will be of no use to you at this time.
- Never assume you know what is wrong. Even if your daughter is showing signs of pregnancy, you can't be sure without confirmation. Therefore, do not start the conversation by saying, "I know you are pregnant" or "it looks like you are pregnant". Instead, ask questions. Say something like, “I'm concerned about your actions. Do you think it is possible that you are pregnant? "
Step 6. Try to understand
Avoid giving advice. It is true that adolescents are still children, but they are old enough to seek a certain autonomy. Trying to counsel them during a stressful time such as pregnancy might not be welcomed. Therefore, do your best to understand your daughter's feelings, actions, and needs before giving her any guidelines.
Step 7. Listen carefully to what she has to say to you
Try not to be judgmental as she explains how she got pregnant. Ask neutral questions for clarification when needed. Ask her if she has made a decision. Remind her that she is very young and that it is okay for her to take the time to think about what to do with her pregnancy.
- Practicing active listening can be of great help. It is a listening technique that promotes understanding and can be very useful during difficult conversations. Give your daughter non-verbal cues, such as nodding her head occasionally, to show that you are listening. Paraphrase her words succinctly when she finishes speaking to show that you have heard everything she said. If you have questions about anything that has been said, wait until she finishes her sentence before asking them.
- For example, you can say, “It looks like your boyfriend was pressuring you a lot to have sex without a condom. Is it true ? "
- Let her know that you sympathize with how she feels. Say things like, “Seems like this whole situation is really difficult and scary for you. "
Step 8. Support your daughter even if you don't like the situation
You may be frustrated and irritated about the situation, or disappointed with your daughter's behavior. You can communicate these feelings to her, but also let her know that you still love her and support her unconditionally. Don't confuse your feelings about the situation with your feelings about your daughter as a person.
For example, you could say, “I'm really disappointed with your decision to have unprotected sex, but I want you to know that I love you and that I'm here for you no matter what. "
Step 9. Help your daughter think for herself
Remember, it is better to give someone guidance than to give them direct advice. Pregnancy is extremely difficult for a teenage girl to deal with, and you need to make sure that your daughter is making the right decision. However, your priority should be to help her be able to think for herself in this situation. Help her express her own thoughts and feelings rather than telling her what you think she should do.
You could start by asking, "What do you think you will do next?" Or "Have you thought about whether you will keep the baby?" "
Step 10. Chat with your daughter
Consider the potential implications of the different options available to her. Explain to her the financial and other difficulties or show her that she will have a hard time raising a child as a teenager. Review options like abortion and adoption, helping your child assess the pros and cons of each. If you are new to this field yourself, you can research the internet with her to help her go through all the options and make a decision.
- Ask her what she is thinking throughout the discussion. For example, you can express yourself in these words: “When your Aunt Rose was in the same situation, she kept the baby. She thought it was the right thing to do. What do you say ? "
- Help your daughter take all the factors into account. Pregnancy can be overwhelming. Calmly explain to her some of the decisions she will need to make later, such as choosing a doctor if she is to keep the baby, telling other friends and family about her pregnancy, etc.
Step 11. Don't force her to accept your opinion
Even if you firmly believe that your daughter should choose a particular option, you still need to give her the opportunity to make her own decision. Forcing her hand can cause tension between the two of you. It is essential that she sees you for support during her pregnancy.
By letting your daughter make her own decisions, you don't necessarily have to compromise your own values. For example, if you really want her to keep the baby, you can offer to help raise her or provide financial support. Even if she doesn't make the decision you were hoping for, you'll still have done your best by supporting her and offering her viable alternatives
Step 12. Avoid criticism
Finding out that your daughter is pregnant could be emotionally devastating. However, you should avoid criticism as much as possible. Even if you think she made a serious mistake, criticizing her could backfire on you. You should keep your daughter from thinking that she can't ask for your help when she comes to making a decision.
- Chances are, your child already knows she made a mistake. Harassing or criticizing her right now won't help. Therefore, it would be best not to tell her what she should have done. Instead, try to be proactive and move forward with the realities present.
- Bring some comfort. Tell your daughter that the two of you will be working towards a solution, even though the situation is difficult. It is very important that she feels safe talking about her pregnancy with you.
Step 13. Keep Calm
Your teenage daughter might get angry during the conversation. Even if you try to be patient and understanding, she might pick on you because of the fear or anger she feels herself. Try not to take this personally. Don't let anger get the better of you. Just stay calm and say, “I'm sorry you feel like this. After which, continue the conversation.
Step 14. Breathe deeply if necessary
Finding out that your daughter is expecting a baby may have many different feelings yourself. This is because the dreams you had for her and the hopes you placed in her change completely. It is quite normal for you to feel sadness, anger and pain when your daughter tells you that she is expecting a baby. However, during your first conversation, try to focus on her feelings rather than yours. From time to time you may feel the need to take a deep breath and count to 10 in order to stay calm. Do this as needed as the discussion progresses.
Part 3 of 3: Moving forward
Step 1. Let your daughter speak if necessary
Getting pregnant scares teens a lot. As you acknowledge her pregnancy, give her a chance to speak up. She should be able to share with you her fears and the frustrations and concerns she has throughout the process leading up to a decision about pregnancy. Listen to what she has to say without being judgmental and allow her to feel what she feels, whether it is good or bad.
Step 2. Make a plan
After talking to her about her pregnancy, you will need to help her make a plan. There are three main options available to your daughter: keep the baby, get it adopted, or have an abortion. Help her weigh the pros and cons of each option so that she can make an informed decision that is right for her.
- If there is an adolescent health center in your area, you may need to drive your daughter there to talk to a counselor or doctor. You may not have all the information you need about abortion, adoption and teenage pregnancies.
- Remember that you must let your child make his own decision. Even if you have your own opinion on the situation, remember that this is your daughter's baby. She has to make a decision that really suits her.
Step 3. Seek pre-birth care
If your daughter decides to keep the baby, it is important that you help her get antenatal care. You will need to have regular prenatal visits with a doctor to monitor the baby's health. You will also need to get plenty of prenatal vitamins and work on establishing a healthy diet and exercise program. Make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible if your daughter decides to keep the baby. In this way, she and her doctor can develop a health plan and a lifestyle for the well-being of the child.
Step 4. Address the tough questions
If your daughter wants to keep the baby, help her tackle the tough questions. There are many factors to consider during early pregnancy. Guide your daughter as she makes various decisions about her baby.
- Think about the father. What role will he play in the child's life? Will he and your daughter continue to be together? What will the baby's last name be?
- Where will your daughter live after the baby is born?
- Think about things like school. Will your daughter finish her studies? Who will take care of the child while she is in class? Can you or someone in the family help babysit while your daughter finishes high school? What about university studies? Is it possible ?
- Also consider your financial situation. Who will take care of the expenses related to the care of the baby? Are you able to help your daughter financially? What about the baby's father and parents? Can they help pay for medical bills and childcare costs?
Step 5. Find a therapist
Since an early pregnancy can be stressful for your family, it would be a good idea to find a family therapist. You can ask your GP to recommend a specialist or ask your insurance company to give you a list of professionals in your network. A knowledgeable family therapist can help you manage the stress of early pregnancy.