Teenage Pregnancy Tests

Although the rates of teenage pregnancy, (also referred to as teen pregnancy or adolescent pregnancy) have been declining in recent years due to an increase in the use of condoms, many teens are still becoming pregnant. Teenage pregnancies can be the result of unplanned sexual intercourse, coerced sex, failure to use condoms, condom mishaps, or the failure of contraceptive devices to work.

Symptoms of Teenage Pregnancy

For teenagers who have not yet taken a pregnancy test or who have not yet been tested by a physician, here are some of the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy to be aware of:

•- breast enlargement and tenderness

•- abdominal distention (thick girth)

•- missed menstrual cycle or unusually short period

•- thicker than normal vaginal discharge

•- fatigue

•- light-headedness or fainting

•- nausea and/or vomiting

•- strong reactions to specific smells

•- food aversions or cravings

Tests for Teenage Pregnancy

•- Pelvic exam (vagina walls and/or cervix may appear bluish or purple; soft and enlarged cervix and uterus)

•- HCG Urine Test: Tests for the presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which is produced during pregnancy.

•- Serum HCG - Qualitative: Tests blood for the presence of HCG. A positive result means the woman is pregnant. Note that while a qualitative blood pregnancy test indicates whether or not the HCG hormone is present, a quantitative test measures the amount of HCG present.

•- Pregnancy ultrasound test to confirm pregnancy timeline and check the development of the baby in the womb.

Adolescent Pregnancy Options

Teenage girls who test positive for pregnancy have several options to carefully consider. They can keep and raise the baby (hopefully with family or community support, and/or the support of their partner), have an abortion, or arrange for adoption.

If an adolescent girl decides to follow through with her pregnancy, finding a program or a health practitioner who specialize in teenage pregnancies is paramount. Proper prenatal care and good health care for the expecting mom - i.e., proper nutrition, intake of important vitamins and minerals, healthy lifestyle, good coping skills - is critical to ensure a healthy baby. Research indicates that adolescents who don't receive early prenatal care are at greater risk for high blood pressure and related complications, as well as premature births and delivering underweight babies.

Pregnant teens should avoid all smoking, alcohol, and drugs, and continue to use a condom during sex to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases that could harm their baby. Pregnant teenagers also need to make important decisions about continuing their education, joining the workforce, finding affordable and accessible child care, and more.