Although the under 18 conception rate in 2012 was the lowest since 1969, 27,834 young women aged under 18 became mums and most of these pregnancies were unplanned.
As soon as you know you are pregnant, you will need to see your doctor or midwife. Your midwife will be responsible for all of your ante-natal (pre-birth) care and your care after the baby is born.
Some areas have midwives who specialise in looking after young mums - ask about this. You’ll be expected to go to regular appointments when your blood pressure, baby’s heartbeat and general health are checked and lots of other information and support will be offered. It is important to keep your appointments, because it gives you a chance to discuss any concerns or worries you have.
You will also be offered scans and tests so that you and your midwife can see how your baby is developing.
Steps you can take to make sure you have a healthy baby
Make sure that you eat healthily but be aware that it is not advisable to eat some foods while you are pregnant. Your midwife will be able to advise you on the diet that is best for you and your baby.
This is the best present you could give your unborn baby. Your baby is less likely to be healthy if you smoke, so ask your Midwife about the support available to help you give up.
Think about your drinking
Latest medical advice is that it’s best to give up alcohol altogether while you’re pregnant. Talk to your midwife if this is a problem for you.
If you are a regular drug user, talk to your doctor or midwife about the support available to help you give up. Even occasional use of cannabis in pregnancy can lead to premature birth and slower development for your baby, so avoid drugs during your pregnancy.
Breast-feeding is the best possible start in life for your baby. Breast-feeding offers protection for your baby from infections, it's free and you already have all the equipment you need! It’s worth thinking about if you have a family history of diabetes, allergies, asthma or eczema, because breast-milk has been shown to reduce the risk of developing these conditions. Ask your midwife for more information.
Partners can make a real difference to how a mum copes during pregnancy. Think about encouraging your partner to eat healthily, stop smoking and drinking and avoid drugs- you can help by stopping these yourself.