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How to Help a Pregnant Teenager: Advice for Loved Ones

An unplanned teenage pregnancy isn’t just a situation that affects the woman carrying the child — it affects everyone around her, as well. From the baby’s birth father to her group of friends and family, anyone that she chooses to tell about her unplanned pregnancy becomes involved in a complicated situation.

If you’ve just found out that a loved one is experiencing an unplanned teenage pregnancy, you may not be sure of what to say or what to do. You may wonder how to help a pregnant teenager in the best way possible. Obviously, you don’t want to tell her what to do with her pregnancy, but you want to be there to offer the support she needs at this time in her life.

If a teenager you know is facing an unplanned pregnancy, understanding — not judgement — will go a long ways to helping her do the best thing for her situation. We know that these situations aren’t always easy, which is why we’ve gathered a few tips here for loved ones wondering how to help a pregnant teenager in their lives.

Parents of Teenage Expectant Mothers

If the phrase, “I think my daughter is pregnant,” has crossed your mind as a parent, you’re probably feeling all sorts of emotions: panic, anger, disappointment, and confusion. But, before you say anything you might regret, think about how your daughter is likely feeling the same emotions — and will be looking for support and understanding from you, not a lecture.

Your daughter is already in a vulnerable position. Whether or not she has made up her mind about her unplanned pregnancy options, it is your job as her parent to support her in any way that you can. She has been mature enough to get herself in this situation, and you should help her realize that she is mature enough to handle the consequences of her decision, too.

It’s normal to wonder what to do if your teenage daughter is pregnant. Here are a few tips for parents in this kind of situation:

  • Let her explain her story. While many teenage pregnancies are a result of consensual sex, there is always the possibility that her pregnancy is a result of rape or other unfortunate circumstances. Jumping to conclusion and shaming your daughter for premarital sex will only make the situation worse, whether or not the sex was consensual. Try to reserve judgement and remain calm while she explains her story and her decision, if she has already made it.
  • Don’t force her into one unplanned pregnancy option. It’s natural to want to do what is best for your daughter, and you may think you know what that is, as her parent. However, your daughter is the only one who can make the best decision for herself. Be open and honest about all of her unplanned pregnancy options. You are not responsible for her decision, so make clear ahead of time what kind of support — financial, practical or emotional — she can expect you to give if she chooses parenting, abortion or adoption.
  • Support her in her plan moving forward: If your daughter has decided which unplanned pregnancy option she wishes to pursue, think hard about what kind of support you can realistically give as she moves forward. If she chooses an option you don’t agree with, think about how you will support her in the other options available to her. It’s a good idea to reach out to an unplanned pregnancy counselor together to create this plan for her unwanted pregnancy.

If you’re thinking, “My teenage daughter is pregnant,” try to put the situation in perspective. As shocking as it may be, it’s not the end of the world. Your daughter is still alive and safe, and this can be a circumstance that changes her life forever — sometimes even for the better. For example, if your daughter is considering adoption, she will give the gift of parenthood to people who desperately want a child and can have a relationship with her child as he or she grows up.

If you are looking for more guidance regarding a teenage daughter who is pregnant, you can always reach out to the counselors at American Adoptions today.

Teenage Birth Fathers

Where there is a young pregnant teenager, there is also a birth father. It takes two people to cause a pregnancy, and the father of the child can be instrumental in supporting his child’s mother through this situation.

If you’re thinking, “My teenage girlfriend is pregnant,” you may be tempted to avoid your responsibility and do the “easiest” thing by asking her to get an abortion. However, it is her body, and that is a decision that only she can make. Rather than avoid her after learning of the pregnancy, we encourage you to step up, take responsibility for your actions, and help support her moving forward.

Just as she will, you should consider all of the unplanned pregnancy options ahead of you. A birth father’s support during this decision-making process can be crucial. For example, the best adoption stories have come from those birth parents who pursue the path together — regardless of their current or future relationship.

If your girlfriend has told you she is pregnant, take a deep breath. Then, be brave enough to work with her to find the best solution for both of you.

Friends of Expectant Teenage Mothers

If your friend has told you that she is unexpectedly pregnant at a young age, you may be unsure of how to help her. This can be a scary situation in which you have no experience, and you may have no idea at all of how to help a pregnant teenager like her.

Being scared and worried for your friend is completely normal — but, because she has come to you with her personal news, it’s your job to be as supportive as possible. While you should not try to sway her toward one unplanned pregnancy option or another, you can (and should) be there to support her through whatever option she chooses.

If you’re wondering how to help a pregnant teenager who is your friend, help her research her unplanned pregnancy options. Connect her with an unplanned pregnancy counselor, and offer to be there with her during the counseling sessions. The best thing you can do as a friend is offer support — whether that’s being there during her abortion procedure, helping her choose an adoptive family for her child, or helping her gather used baby items if she decides to parent.

More than anything, the best thing you can do for your pregnant friend is to be there — without judgement, without fear and without disappointment.

To learn more about how adoption can be an option for your loved one who is facing an unplanned teenage pregnancy, please call 1-800-ADOPTION today.

Disclaimer
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

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Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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