The teenage years can bring on many odd behaviors from a parent's point of view. However, certain symptoms and signs could be suggestive of more serious issues - such as a teenage pregnancy. If you think you are noticing some of these within your daughter, you need to approach the subject delicately while also considering that time is of the essence. This is simply not a subject that can be ignored.
Important Symptoms of a Teenage Pregnancy
You may actually recognize pregnancy symptoms in your daughter before she recognizes them herself. The first trimester of a pregnancy can feel quite similar to a bout with the flu, so your daughter may not realize her condition. Remember that these symptoms do not necessarily mean pregnancy - many of these signs could mean something else. To be able to make the diagnosis, you need to have your daughter take a pregnancy test.
Look for these signs of a pregnancy within your teen daughter:
Very Light or Missing Menstruation
One of the first signs of pregnancy for many women is a missed or light period. If your daughter mentions that her period hasn't started even though it should have, or if she comments that she had a very light period, this may be one of the first signs of pregnancy. A missed period can also be a sign of excessive weight gain or loss, stress, or hormonal changes associated with birth control usage.
After conception, the rapid increase in hormones can cause changes in the breasts like tenderness, darkening of the areola, or breast swelling. Your daughter might complain of swollen or tender breasts and she may mistake these symptoms as proof of an approaching menstrual cycle. Breast changes can also be caused by changing birth control pills or by an upcoming period.
The early stages of pregnancy can be quite tiring due to high levels of progesterone, lower blood sugar levels, and increased blood production, so sheer exhaustion can be a sign of pregnancy. Other causes of fatigue include a cold or flu, other types of illness, stress, or depression.
What may seem like the stomach flu or a bladder infection may actually be pregnancy. The high levels of estrogen may cause the stomach to empty slower, which leads to nausea. The nausea does not have to be only in the morning but may persist all day. Many women also begin urinating more frequently when they get pregnant. This could also be a sign of a urinary tract infection or diabetes as well.
Change in Clothing Styles
Many teens try to hide changes in their bodies by wearing dark colors and baggy clothing. Wearing men's clothing or sweat suits may be her way of disguising her weight gain. A teen who is gaining weight because of overeating or who is having issues with depression may also change her style of dress.
Failing Academic Performance
Falling grades, frequent absences or tardies, or an overall decrease in academic performance may also suggest your teen is pregnant. Because of the increased stress in her life, she may become uninterested in school. Depression or relationship issues can also lead to a lack of interest in classes from your teen.
While many changes in mood are normal in teenagers, a sudden increase in moodiness may also suggest pregnancy. The changes in hormone levels that occur during the first trimester cause most of these mood shifts during pregnancy. However, stress and fear about her situation can also compound the problem.
As a parent, there may be other, more subtle signs that may give you a hint that something is going on with your teen. These could include food cravings, backaches, headaches, and other persistent maladies which have no other obvious cause.
Realize that the symptoms of early pregnancy can be different from one woman to another. Your daughter may exhibit all of these signs, none of these signs, or somewhere in between. If your daughter does not yet know that she is pregnant, she may not understand why her emotions are going haywire and why her body is changing so much.
Once you become suspicious, the first step is a pregnancy test. As many of these symptoms could mean something else, a negative pregnancy test does not mean that your investigation is over.
If you find out your teen is pregnant, it's natural to feel a mixture of emotions. However, you need to talk with your daughter as soon as possible and as calmly as possible. Try your best to approach her in a loving manner and she may be more willing to confide in you and trust your advice.