For many, falling pregnant is a dream come true, the result of planning a family within a loving relationship. Most know what to do next and have the support around them of a partner, friends and family. What if this isn’t the case though? What if you hadn’t planned to be pregnant? What if you are under 18? What if you don’t have support, anyone to guide you through your next steps or even know where to look to get the help you need? What if you are in an unhappy or abusive relationship? What if you are still at school? What if your pregnancy was the result of abuse? What do you do to prevent future pregnancy scares? You may have the answers or know where to find them but many may not and that can be scary.
Teenage pregnancy rates have halved in the last eight years, which is great news. But that means there are still around 20,000 conceptions a year to girls under 18. Girls that may need support as they have nowhere else to turn.
In today’s digital world it has never been so easy to get access to information and guidance. However, there is so much information out there, it can be overwhelming—which advice is the right advice to take?
The good news is that there are many professional organisations and kind people that can help. But who are they and where can you find them?
A good source of information is www.earlybirdswift.co.uk, a website designed by the makers of the Early Bird Swift pregnancy and ovulation tests. They have collected much of the basic information you are likely to need via links to organisations whose primary function is to support and advise on just about any situation. You can even access the site by scanning the QR code located on the front of the pregnancy test box. If you don’t have access to a smartphone, there is also a handy leaflet within the box with phone numbers that you can call to get the same confidential advice.
Does anything mentioned above effect you or someone you know?
If yes, and you are pregnant, what happens next? The first thing you need to do is make an appointment to see your doctor. If you smoke, stop, as this can increase the risks of infant illness, stillbirth, disability and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Stop drinking alcohol as this is classed as a toxin and can damage your baby’s developing cells.
What if you are pregnant but didn’t plan it and don’t want to be?
Firstly, stay calm. You have a number of options and there are many organisations that can help you. Some key contacts are listed at the bottom of this article. Discuss your options with your doctor and consider them carefully—your decision will be life-changing. You could choose to have the baby which can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You may choose to give your baby up for adoption providing him or her with new legal parents. You may choose to end the pregnancy. This will require a referral from your doctor.
What if you had a pregnancy scare?
Think about how you could prevent future scares through using contraception. Your doctor can advise on the best option for you as there are many available: the contraceptive pill, male condoms which will also protect from sexually transmitted infections, contraceptive injections or the coil which is a small plastic device which is inserted inside your womb.
Whatever your situation, there are people who can help you. Getting the right information to suit your personal circumstances is vital and should be a priority, as after all, your wellbeing should come first in order to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your new arrival or to prepare yourself for a happy pregnancy in the future.
Some key contacts for advice and support are listed below. For a full list, visit www.earlybirdswift.co.uk/contacts-for-help/
- Abuse, Violence, contraception and relationships—Brook sexual health and wellbeing for under 25s—www.brook.org.uk/
- Samaritans—24/7 emotional support—freephone 116 123 on any phone
- Stopping smoking—NHS Smokefree—www.nhs.uk/smokefree
- Under 18s advice—Childline—Free and confidential helpline for anyone up to the age of 18. You can talk to them about any problem, big or small, entirely in confidence by calling 0800 1111