This page was reviewed or revised on Friday, August 5, 2016 11:54 AM
Fact: About 7 of 10 young women become sexually active as teens and some teens will become pregnant.
If you are a teen and pregnant, you have special strengths and needs. You must remember, you are not alone and help is there for you.
Early education, a caring family, and social and medical services are very important, but one of the most vital parts of pregnancy is proper nutrition to make sure the mother and the baby are healthy.
Teen mothers as a rule have no difficulty giving birth. The body is young, strong and recovers quickly. Your chances for a healthy pregnancy are good if you take good care of yourself by eating well, visiting a doctor or midwife early in pregnancy and stay away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Pregnancy is a period of rapid growth just like your teen years. A teenage girl does not stop growing until 4 years after her period begins. So, for proper growth for herself and her baby, the pregnant teen needs extra nutrients. A pregnant teen can easily meet these nutrient needs by following Canada's Food Guide for her age, eating an extra two to three Food Guide servings each day and taking a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement. An example of two extra food guide servings may be a piece of fruit and yogurt for a snack, or an extra slice of whole grain toast at breakfast and an extra glass of milk at supper.
Health Canada recommends that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake to 300 mg of caffeine a day. This equals about two 8 oz (237 mL) cups of coffee a day. Other caffeinated drinks such as cola and tea may contain less caffeine but should still be limited. Energy drinks have extremely high levels of caffeine and should be avoided.
About Kids Health - Nutrition for pregnant teens.
Drugs and Alcohol
Since the mother and baby are one, anything that enters the mother enters the fetus too. Avoid everything from aspirins and laxatives to stronger drugs unless approved by a doctor.
Alcohol enters the baby’s blood through the placenta and can cause serious harm to the baby. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a result of alcohol use during pregnancy and can lead to a lifelong learning problems and physical health issues. There is no known safe intake of alcohol for pregnant women, so teen moms should avoid alcohol during pregnancy.
It is well known that smoking mothers give birth to babies with much lower birth weight. It poses a double risk for teens since teenage mothers stand a good chance of having low, birth weight babies. Sadly, the effects of smoking cannot be offset by eating well.
Pregnant teens, like any pregnant woman, should not smoke and avoid frequent exposure to "second-hand smoke."
Prenatal Classes for Young Parents
Preparing for childbirth and parenting is a positive learning period. The event has been shown to improve the health of the teen mother and her child during pregnancy and childbirth.
Lambton Public Health offers pre-natal classes for young parents. Topics covered include nutrition, lifestyle changes, STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), labour and delivery, well-baby care, breastfeeding, post-partum changes, safety, dating, violence, legal issues, returning to school and birth control.
The information is offered through videos, posters, games and active talks. A delicious meal is prepared weekly, bus tickets and milk vouchers are available and prizes. There is also a chance to link directly with a public health nurse for one-on-one home visits and support.
See more information about these classes or to register.
For more information about the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program please contact:
Lambton Public Health
160 Exmouth Street
Point Edward, Ontario N7T 7Z6
Toll free: 1-800-667-1839
Parent & Baby Drop-in Program - have your baby weighed, and to talk with a public health nurse about any concerns they have about their child's growth and development.