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Pregnancy

If a woman and man have sex, or are sexually intimate with each other, without using contraception, there is a risk of the woman becoming pregnant. Women can also become pregnant if contraception fails, for example if a condom splits. They might become pregnant as a result of violence, such as rape or sexual abuse.

Pregnancy - Getty imagesI think I'm pregnant, what should I do?

Getting pregnant when you have not planned to is very scary. You might be especially afraid of your family or friends finding out and it might seem easier to keep the pregnancy to yourself. However, the sooner that you talk to someone about your pregnancy, the more options you have about what to do.

Your family may not react badly to your pregnancy and could well be supportive and helpful.

The legal age of consent in the UK is 16 years old, but young women can become pregnant if they have sex at any age, once they have started their periods.

What are my options?

You have several options if you are pregnant which include:

  • Have the baby and bring it up
  • Have the baby adopted or fostered
  • Terminate the pregnancy (which is also called abortion).

Only you can decide which is option right for you, however you need to act quickly in order to keep all your options open. The choice that is right for you will depend on your circumstances.

  • I'm too scared to tell the dad, what should I do?

    Facing being a teenage parent can be just as frightening for young men as it can for young women. They may need support as much as young women do to deal with the situation. Talking about it together can help find a solution to the situation and so you can support each other through it. It might seem hard to talk about it, but it can really help.

    If you are a young man or a young woman and are worried about pregnancy you can talk to us about it any time. You don't have to be scared that you will be judged or laughed at, because you won't be.

  • My girlfriend is pregnant and I’m not sure how to feel

    Finding out that your girlfriend is pregnant may leave you with a range of emotions.  If you are in a loving relationship and have already talked about having children at some point, you might be happy about having your own child.However most teenage pregnancies are not expected and can come as a bit of a shock. You may be feeling guilt, disbelief, fear or anger.  Maybe you feel that your future is ruined or that you want to escape.  You may feel that you are too young and not ready to be a dad.  If you are no longer in a relationship with the mother, you might feel trapped. You may be worried about telling your parents or other people about the pregnancy.

    Whatever your situation is, you now have to make some important decisions which will make a difference to the rest of your life. If you have a good relationship with your girlfriend, she is the best person to discuss things with, even though you both have to confront uncomfortable feelings and difficult choices. Find out as much as you can about the choices available to you. Whatever you decide to do, your decision will affect you practically, physically and emotionally.

    Your girlfriend may want to do something different from what you want to do. You might feel scared or angry, or that you are not in control of your own future. It is important that you talk about how you are feeling. You may want to talk to someone else about your thoughts and emotions before you talk to your girlfriend, maybe a trusted friend or possibly your parents.  If you feel that you are unable to talk to friends or family, remember that ChildLine are here to listen confidentially and to offer support any time you need it.

  • I’m scared about being a young parent

    Every person has different experiences of being a parent. Being a young parent will bring its own set of challenges. When you first find out that you are pregnant you may feel worried about lots of different things.

    Hormonal changes during your pregnancy can make you feel tired, sick, emotional and upset, especially during the first three months. You may find that you cry a lot, sometimes for no reason or you lose your temper quicker. It is normal to be anxious about your pregnancy. You may be worried about telling friends and family that you are pregnant, or scared about what may happen when you see the doctor and midwife. Many women are scared about giving birth. You may also have practical worries about things like money, will you still be able to go to school and where you are going to live. Maybe you are wondering how you will cope with being a parent and who will support you. 

    It is normal to feel fed up sometimes during your pregnancy, but if you are feeling unhappy a lot of the time it may be that you are depressed. Being pregnant can sometimes leave women feeling depressed and it is important that you talk to someone about how you are feeling. It is important to see a doctor/midwife whilst you are pregnant to check that there is nothing wrong with both your mental and physical health.

    There is different support available in different areas. Depending on where you live you may be able to get supported housing if you are unable to live at home.  There may also be different support groups in your area to help you with a range of issues such as education, parenting skills and childcare.  To find out what is available and how to access local groups talk to your social care team.  However you feel, ChildLine is always here for you to talk things through with.

  • Will giving birth hurt?

    Women’s bodies are designed to go through pregnancy and labour, which is the process your body goes through to give birth. It might seem unbelievable that your body is able to do this, but it can.  Many women are afraid of giving birth and that it will be very painful and it’s not unusual to be worried about it.  Even if the pregnancy is planned, giving birth can seem very scary.

    There are lots of options available for pain relief during labour if you want it. You can talk to your doctor or midwife about which is right for you. They can help you write something called a ‘birth plan’ where you can say what you want to happen during labour and if you want any pain relief. You can then give this to your midwife or whoever supports you when you give birth.

  • I was raped and now I’m pregnant, what do I do?

    If you are pregnant as a result of being raped you may be experiencing a range of emotions.  You may be feeling depressed and anxious, and you may find yourself becoming afraid of things such as being alone or going outside. You may also be having flashbacks, when you relive what happened to you and feeling, hearing and smelling the same things as when you were raped. Maybe you cry a lot, or you find that you can’t show your emotions anymore. It may be that you find relief from your emotional pain by self harming, such as cutting or burning yourself. Certain sounds or smells might remind you of what happened. It is important to remember that however you feel it’s ok. Your feelings are normal and individual to you. 

    As well as all the feelings around being raped your body will be going through a lot of changes, especially your hormones. You may feel tired and/or sick because of your pregnancy. You may be worried about how you will cope being a mother. Maybe you are confused around your feelings for your baby as you became pregnant as a result of being raped. However you are feeling around your pregnancy it is normal. It is important that you talk to someone about how you are feeling and don’t try to cope alone.

  • Problems in pregnancy - What is a miscarriage or stillbirth?

    Miscarriage
    A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy that happens sometime during the first 23 weeks. A full term pregnancy is 40 weeks. Around three quarters of miscarriages happen during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (the first trimester). The main symptom of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding, like a period, which may be followed by cramping and pain in your lower tummy. If you are pregnant and you are bleeding it is important that you see a GP or midwife straight away.

    It is unusual for a miscarriage to seriously affect a woman’s physical health. Most women who have a miscarriage go on to have a successful pregnancy in the future. If you have a miscarriage you may find that you feel sad, guilty or angry. Perhaps you wonder why this has happened to you or maybe you feel you weren’t ready to become a mum. You may feel confused about your emotions.  It is important to get some support and to talk to somebody you trust about how you are feeling around the loss of your pregnancy

    Stillbirth
    If a baby dies inside the womb after the 24th week of pregnancy this is known as a stillbirth.  For many stillborn babies, the cause of death is unknown. Some possible causes of still birth are:

    • bleeding
    • problems with the placenta which may mean that the baby isn’t getting enough oxygen or food
    • problems with the umbilical cord which attaches the placenta to the baby via the belly button
    • pre-eclampsia – this is a condition that causes pregnant women to have high blood pressure which can cause complications for the baby
    • genetic defects – this is when there is something wrong with the baby’s genes. It is not either of the parents’ fault that this has happened. Genetic defects can sometimes be passed down through families
    • infections – the mother may become infected with an illness that can pass through the placenta and make the baby ill.

    After a stillbirth many parents want to see and hold their baby. This is a personal choice. You will be given some quiet time with your baby if this is what you want.  If you chose to, you can take photographs of your baby and keep mementos such as hand or foot prints, or a lock of hair.  You may want to name your baby.  Not every parent wants to do this and it is your choice about what you want to do.

    You may be confused about how you feel after losing your baby. Your feelings may range from sadness and depression to anger and guilt.  Maybe you are not sure how you feel. Often friends and family don’t know what to say but it is important to talk about how you are feeling.  You may feel pressured into getting back to ‘normal’, when all you want to do is to grieve for your baby. 

    Your girlfriend or boyfriend will also be experiencing a range of emotions. It might help to talk together about what you are thinking and feeling. You might want to talk to someone on your own. There is always somebody at ChildLine that you can talk to in confidence. 

Other sites that can help

Brook

Family Planning Association

Worried about pregnancy?

Or are you a young parent? You can post on the pregnancy message board and get help from the ChildLine community.

Pregnancy/young parents message board

Online chat

Chat to a ChildLine counsellor online in a 1-2-1 session any time you want. Sign up to start talking.

Online chat

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Pregnancy 

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