Pregnancy: Issues and Answers :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Pregnancy: Issues and Answers

Today, you have been found to be pregnant. This handout will give you some general information about what you may be feeling, what choices you have and what you can expect from prenatal care.

Signs and Symptoms

In early pregnancy, signs and symptoms may include:

  • Missing your menstrual period
  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Tiredness
  • Going to the bathroom to urinate more often

You do not have to have all of these signs to be pregnant.

Next Steps

There are a few choices you can make for your pregnancy:

  1. Continue the pregnancy with plans to parent. If you decide to continue the pregnancy general information on prenatal care is reviewed below. It is important to schedule prenatal care as soon as possible.
  2. Continue the pregnancy with plans for adoption. Discuss this with your doctor. He or she can refer you to the right agency to place your baby.
  3. End the pregnancy. You can choose to end the pregnancy. If you are considering this, it is important to know how far along you are. The cost of ending a pregnancy varies. This procedure is safest if you are less than 12 weeks pregnant.

If you have decided to end the pregnancy or would like more information about this option, you can call Planned Parenthood at (800) 230-7526 for the nearest location or ask your doctor about other local clinics. Note:  If you are less than 18 years old you will need your parent’s permission to get the procedure. If you are unable to get your parent’s permission a judge may allow the procedure without it. Please discuss this with your doctor.

This can be a very difficult time. Feeling unsure of what to do is common. We urge you to discuss your thoughts and feelings with a trusted adult or your doctor.

Prenatal Care

All care during your pregnancy will be handled by an obstetrician (OB). Prenatal care should begin during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy. If you are past 12 weeks, please start your prenatal care as soon as possible. 

  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Adolescent Medicine Clinic offers the Teen and Pregnant Program for Prenatal Care. Please call central scheduling at 614-722-6200 or the Teen and Pregnant Clinic at 614-722-2450 to schedule.
  • The Pregnancy Care Connection can help schedule a prenatal appointment outside of Nationwide Children’s Hospital if you call 614-227-9866.

During your first visit you will be asked questions about your medical history. You will also be asked about the date of your last menstrual period. Also, your doctor will do a physical exam.

During your pregnancy you will have testing to find your blood type, check for infection, diabetes and any genetic conditions. If you have a family history of any medical conditions, it is important to tell your doctor.

Nutrition While Pregnant

  • It is important to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet during your pregnancy to have your baby grow.
  • Many women have nausea early in their pregnancies. It is important to continue to eat. Try eating smaller meals more often.
  • Weight gain in pregnancy is normal. The average gain during pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds. Do not try to diet to lose weight during this time.
  • Start taking a prenatal vitamin as soon as possible and continue taking it throughout your pregnancy.

Other Issues

Safety – Many women are at greater risk for violence or abuse during their pregnancy. If at any time you do not feel safe at home, there are places you can go. Huckleberry House is a safe place for pregnant teens ages 12 to 17. You can go to any Kroger, White Castle or Fire Station and they will connect you with Huckleberry House. Or you can call Huckleberry House at 614-294-5553. You could also call the national domestic violence hotline for help at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or tell your doctor.

Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – It is very important to not use any drug, smoke or drink any alcohol during your pregnancy. If you have a problem with drugs, tobacco or alcohol use, please discuss the issue with your doctor.

Medications – Many medicines are harmful if taken during your pregnancy. If you are taking medicines of any kind, please tell your doctor.

First Time Mother? – The Nurse-Family Partnership is a free program for first-time mothers. If you are eligible, a nurse will visit your home during your pregnancy and after birth until the baby is 2 years old. The nurse will help you with parenting skills, education, job training and more. To find out if you qualify for this program, call 614-722-8222.

Call your OB doctor or go to an adult Emergency Room if you have:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Any bleeding from the vagina
  • Any leakage of fluid from your vagina
  • Swelling of your hands or feet
  • Bad headaches or blurry vision
  • Burning feeling when you pee
  • Fever over 100.4°F
  • Decrease in baby movement
  • Any other questions or concerns related to your pregnancy.

Pregnancy: Issues and Answers (PDF)

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