Take great care of your own health. Plan. Protect. Prevent!
Your baby deserves a healthy parent. Make sure that you eat healthy, get some exercise and have regular healthcare visits. And remember that all teens, including teen parents, can choose to not have sex in order to prevent another pregnancy and to prevent STDs. As a parent, you need a plan to make sure that you do the best thing for you and your baby!
If you’re having sex, make sure you use the most reliable birth control method available. Prevent another pregnancy (at least for now) because:
- Babies born from a repeat (2nd or more) teen birth are often born too small or too soon, which can lead to more health problems for the baby. Births that are spaced at least two years apart help to support the health of the baby. (View Source).
- Having more than one child as a teen can limit your ability to finish school or get a good job. It’s already hard enough for teen moms. Only 40% of teenaged mothers finish high school and less than 2% of teen moms finish college by age 30. (View Source).
It’s especially important to use the most effective type of birth control method that you can. Even though 9 in 10 (91%) of sexually active teen mothers use some form of birth control, only about 1 in 5 (22%) use the most effective methods. And nearly 1 in 5 births to teen mothers, ages 15 to 19, is a repeat birth (View Source).
Methods such as IUDs and Implants can be good options for teen moms since they don’t require you do anything on a regular basis (such as take a birth control pill.) Hormonal implants and IUDs are two types of birth control that can work for years! Talk to your healthcare provider about the most effective types of birth control options for you.
And if you’re having sex, you should use a birth control method and a condom every single time to prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs. You have enough to do without worrying about getting an STD. Condoms, used correctly every time you have sex, offer really great protection against STDs and pregnancy.
Make your home a happy and safe place. No matter what your living situation is, your child deserves to have a space where they feel loved and safe.
Surround yourself with trusted, supportive and reliable people. Spend time with people who make you and your child feel happy and cared about. Keep yourself and your child safe by avoiding anyone who is smoking, drinking or using drugs illegally.
Learn how to parent. Make sure you learn about what is best for your child’s health and future. And remember, just because your neighbor or an aunt raised a lot of kids and can offer great advice about some things, that doesn’t make them an expert on everything. Your healthcare provider is a great place to start asking questions.
Plan for the future. Stay in school and learn a skill or profession that will allow you to build a successful future. It might be hard, but you and your child are worth it. If you’ve quit school, there are programs that can help you finish and take care of your child at the same time.
Give yourself a break! When you’re feeling stressed, angry or exhausted with the challenges of life as a parent, remember there is help. Call a trusted friend, family member or a Helpline or Hotline if your have questions or get to a breaking point.
Ask for & accept help. Teen parents often need more help than friends or family members can provide. Whether you need help buying diapers, getting transportation or meals, getting back in school, getting out of an abusive relationship, parenting advice or finding a place to live, you’re in luck. Cuyahoga County has many resources for teen parents.