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For teenagers in the United States, there is a 3% likelihood of pregnancy for those between the ages of 15 and 19, according to rates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although teen pregnancy rates have gone down in the past two decades, the problem still remains for many of the country’s young women.

For many teens, pregnancy can be a frightening concept. However, if you are in this situation for the first time, there are steps that you can take to ensure that you stay healthy and become informed about your options. If you are a pregnant teen, remember the Three T’s:

TAKE a test.
With pregnancy, early signs can include fatigue, tender or swollen breasts, mood swings, and cramping or spotting—many of the same symptoms of PMS. However, once your period is late, you’ll need to take a test to determine whether or not you are pregnant. Many clinics offer free pregnancy tests, so if you are concerned about your parents or friends seeing you buy one, track down a location that offers a pregnancy test for free.

TELL your parents (and your partner).
Once you’ve seen the positive result on a pregnancy test, you’ll have to talk with your parents to let them know what’s going on. Once you tell them, they should be able to schedule your visit with the family doctor or a doctor at your local teen pregnancy centers to ensure that you are healthy. In the first 20 weeks, pregnant women are at risk for a miscarriage; however, the risk drops by 95% after the fetus has a heartbeat (usually around 6 to 8 weeks).

During this time, you will also want to talk to the father about the pregnancy, so the two of you can plan for the future.

TALK to a professional about your options.
In the United States, there are teen pregnancy centers all across the country that can help you in your time of need. These centers provide free pregnancy help, so you know what to expect during all stages of the pregnancy and beyond. Many teen pregnancy centers can also provide you with information on adoption if you request it.

The important thing to remember is that you aren’t alone. As many as half of all women in America will experience an unintended pregnancy before the age of 45. Do you have more questions about your pregnancy? Speak with a trusted adult or counselor. You can also leave us a comment to share your thoughts.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.